Team USA and Spain are two of the best teams as evident in their demolition of the opposition through the first round of the the FIBA World Cup Group competition. Regardless of the rants of SI writer Matt Dolling regarding why the USA should stop sending pro players like Derrick Rose, James Harden and Stephen Curry to the FIBA World Cup. I can almost guarantee you that Doling will be singing to a different tune if the USA Team falls short anything short of winning the FIBA 2014 championship. So don’t patronize the reader with pessimistic b.s. — we need the best and brightest stars we have to offer competing in international sports.
Sports fans purchase tickets to see NBA Stars compete; not role players, no-names, and has-beens. Moving on — lets discuss USA and Spain, the two teams I expect to meet on a head-to-head collision in the FIBA World Cup 2014 Championship round.
SPAIN – FIBA WORLD RANK #2
The Spaniards are the second best team in FIBA, they rolled through the first round competition with a perfect 5-0 record and defeated their opponents with an average margin of victory — 25.2 points per game. Spains’ closest contest was decided by 16 points versus a Serbian team that went 2-3 in Group A competition resulting in a 4th place finish. Pau Gasol has been the story for Spain offensively (22.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 61.9 FG%) with brother Marc Gasol also performing the brink of the dirty work (11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 66.7 FG%) and Juan Carlos Navarro rounding off the major contributors for Spain (11.2 points, 3 assists, 51.4 FG%). Spain should breeze by Senegal in the Round of 16 Saturday 6 September 2014 enroute to the Quarter finals with their toughest match being against a very efficient and physical Greece team (5-0 in Group C competition).
USA – FIBA WORLD RANK #1
The overall best team in FIBA in my opinion and the statics certainly solidify their stance with a perfect 5-0 record in Group C competition and a staggering overall margin of victory — 39.2 points per game. The only team that came close to giving team USA a run is Turkey — a run that only lasted the first two quarters of play. Headlining the offensive and defensive attack is Anthony Davis (15.8 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, and 62.7 FG%), “The Manimal” Kenneth Faried (13.8, 7.8, and an astounding 79.1 FG%), and James Harden (12.6 points and team high 4.6 assist). Team USA may be young but they have the most talented roster and bench in the league with Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins highly capable of putting up double-digit numbers in the scoring column. As it stands, there isnt a single team other than Spain that could rattle the cages of this team. Lithuania is a stretch, but even they don’t have enough offense capable of keeping up with a team with the ability to rotate 10+ bonafied scorers in the mix at any given time. The round of 16 looks to be a joke in my opinion, however anything can happen.
FIBA 2014 Championship Prediction:
The FIBA Championship game will boil down to a scoring match and I expect the game to be closely officiated. Don’t be surprised if there are some horrible calls by the refs resulting in a slow start from both teams. In the end, Team USA still has the advantage. James Harden and Kenneth Faried will contribute their usual numbers, however, this will be the game where Derrick Rose shines his brightest. His dribble penetration will slice the Spain defense like a Ginsu Knife. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is a coaching mastermind and I”m sure he has some tricks up his sleeve.
In the end, USA will prove too much for a Spain Team that lacks an elite player who has the ability to take over the game. Every team has at least one special player, Spain lacks that one crucial element.
Team USA will defeat Spain in a close contest, final score 89-79