By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on August 8, 2014
The FIBA 2014 World Cup and basketball on an international level has come under a lot of criticism after the horrific and devastating injury to Paul George. Even with that, though, it’s hard to deny the excitement of cheering on your country in a sporting event, which is the opportunity presented starting at the end of August. Given that, what are 10 things to watch in the FIBA 2014 World Cup for USA Basketball?
In case you’ve never seen basketball before, Stephen Curry knows how to shoot a basketball. It’s going to be exciting watching a guy with that range play with a shorter three-point line and on a huge stage.
Cousins has long been a polarizing figure, but this instance is even more polarizing. We know Boogie is immensely talented, but his experiences in Vegas with Team USA in the past haven’t exactly been positive and there’s talk of him not even making this year’s team. If he does, though, everyone will want to see how he reacts and performs.
Coach K has already said that he will likely have and eight-man rotation and four guys won’t see much playing time. Given the lack of mega-stars on this team, seeing which eight players get the nod is going to be a curious sub-plot for USA Basketball.
With Kevin Durant dropping out, Paul George being injured, and guys like LeBron James not playing, there aren’t the traditional mega-stars on this roster. That certainly levels the playing field in the competition and it’ll be a good time seeing how this team answers the call.
Continuing the theme of this team not having any superstars on this squad, there’s a distinct lack of an alpha-dog for Team USA. As they travel to Spain, someone is going to need to take charge and we’ll have to wait and see who the player that’s going to do that is.
Now that LeBron and reportedly Kevin Love are going to be in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving is going to have to take a step forward. What he shows in Spain for the USA could be the first impression of how far he’s progressed from last season.
In his two NBA seasons, Damian Lillard has more than proven he has the chops overall and in the big moment. On a big international stage, having excitement about seeing Lillard perform and what he’s capable of is more than warranted.
There have been reports coming out in recent days of the USA coaching staff praising the defense of Harden. Considering the defense he’s known for playing at the NBA level, seeing if he has that defensive effort within him will be a definite point of interest.
At the World Championships not long ago, Kevin Durant was the go-to guy and it was more or less his coming out party. Knowing what we already know about Anthony Davis, this tournament could very well be that type of party before he enters his third year in the league.
There’s no question that seeing Derrick Rose back in action is what every NBA fan is looking for from Team USA. We haven’t seen a fully healthy Rose in action for quite some time now and it’s right to be missing that. Now that he seems to have everything back to normal, this tournament could remind us just how good the former MVP is.
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