The World Championships has drawn greater viewership this year than in the past. This maybe due to the star studded roster of Team USA, but even they are wary of the threat posed by the international teams. A sentiment echoed by Jerry Colangelo, head of USA Basketball. ”We invented the game , we sent our players and our coaches out to teach the world and now they’re closing the gap,” Colangelo said. ”They got better and better, we didn’t take care of business and they knocked us off our perch.”. Team USA had finished 3rd in the 2004 Olympics, a disgrace considering that USA had Vince Carter, Allen Iverson and a swarm of other 20million $ per year athletes. Now they are back with a vengeance. They have been practising hard and are committed to winning the crown this year.
Unlike the past, teams like Argentina (2004 Olympic Champions with Manu Ginobili) and Spain ( Pau Gasol and a stinging defense) have very strong squads and team USA has to be on top of their game to beat them. I would still put my money on the Americans to win it all this year with Argentina or Spain finshing second. These teams have strong fundamentals and play defense with passion. Explosive Offense can win a game but it takes strong defense to win a championship. These International teams have shown their talent in shooting the ball as well as in playing defense. The Americans have a physical advantage amongst all teams, something related to genetics I guess, but International teams are smart and have excellent coordination.
China has failed to amaze anyone so far into the competition, despite Yao Ming being the top scorer of the championship. Angola has shown a lot of promise. They have the heart but unfortunately not the talent to compete with the big guns.
USA – Germany quarterfinals looks imminent and it would be a great match. To date Dirk Nowitzki has been a matchup problem to all teams, look for the zone defense against the Germans. France was shaping to be a strong contender until Tony Parker was injured in an exhibition game and had to be pulled out of the roster.
Look out for the finals and throw your predictions in here. At last basketball is having a world championship with competition.
My Picks: 1.USA 2.Argentina 3. Spain 4. Greece
(Good friend and a star basketball player!)