Monday, September 13, 2010

USA Takes Gold in FIBA Worlds

Since all Winks seems to be doing lately is writing columns in list form, let's steal a page out of his book and go with the top three things we learned from the United States basketball team this summer. The squad's run in the 2010 FIBA World Championship was a bit overshadowed here in the states because most of the games were hard to find on television in the middle of the day, and then when they were in the Finals the coverage was up against the opening weekend of the NFL. If you didn't catch much of this tournament you definitely missed a solid performance by the Americans, including their 81-64 victory over Turkey on Sunday. Here's what we learned:

1. Kevin Durant is Awesome

No question, he came to play. He carried USA during this Championship, and also never really took crazy shots. They had a few games where they may have tried to rely on Durant a little too much, but for the most part he just did what he needed to do. He scored 38 points in the semifinal game against Lithuania, which is a record for team USA. He also made seven three pointers in the championship game. Russell Westbrook also played well for team USA, which makes me think that the Thunder could be a real good team this year. Durant just moved up the list in my Fantasy charts, and might have earned himself the top spot with how he played in this Championship. Look out Western Conference, you have a new challenger for the top spot.

2. Derrick Rose Doesn't Scare Me

He had all kinds of talent around him in this Championship, and I still feel he was the weakest starter on this team. It seemed to me that every game stayed close till Westbrook subbed in for Rose. That is when team USA looked their best. Rose is a good player, but for some reason just doesn't seem to be a guy that can lead a team to the title. Everyone is talking about how the Bulls will be a force this year in the East, but I for some reason feel that Rose could hurt those chances. Also bringing in Boozer, a guy who seems to put up huge numbers but never really wins any big games doesn't seem to be a good combo for me. Will the Bucks beat the Bulls for the Central I don't know, but I do know that Milwaukee will put up a good fight. Maybe a better fight than people think.

3. Coach K is Golden

I love UNC and all, but you have to give credit were credit is due. Coach K took two solid NBA veterans mixed with eleven budding superstars and lead them to the championship. He did the same thing in the Olympics, but the coach doesn't get a medal. Sunday Coach K did get a medal, and he deserved it the most. The man just knows how to coach the game of basketball, and I really hope he never moves to the NBA. He proved that he can coach any group of men, but he is just such a great college coach I wouldn't want him to come to the NBA for some shit team and fail. That happens a lot with sports, and it just seems to take away from what they did in college. But I think Coach K will stick with Duke till the day he feels it is right to walk away. Just like what my boy Dean Smith did with UNC.

Overall the FIBA Championship was cool, but again it just sucked that he games were on during the day. Also having the Championship on opening Sunday of NFL was not a bright idea. I was able to check out the games a bit during my lunch throughout the last month, and you could see that this tournament featured good hard basketball. It seemed that almost every team had a NBA player or two, but it was also cool seeing some of the players that were trying to make a name for themselves. If the games could have been a little later this may have been talked about more. I'm always a fan of international competitions, and will have to wait till Ryder Cup time for another one.

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