I decided to wait about a week after the USA won the gold at the FIBA World Cup to post a few thoughts, so here we go…..
Overall, I thought that this was really an impressive performance for the USA. Obviously, they won every game and won the gold, but the reality is that they completely dominated the competition. They won every game by more than 20 points and they won by an average of 33 points per game.
While some may mention that the USA didn’t have to play Spain, who was widely considered to be their top competition, the reality is that Spain lost before they even reached the semi-finals. We may look at France and realize that they were without Tony Parker, which is really big (USA didn’t face France, but with Parker it’s quite possible that they would have made the Championship game). But here’s also the reality: The United States completely dominated this 2014 FIBA World Cup by 33 points per game, with no team coming within 20 points. Here’s another piece of reality: The United States did it without LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love and several others that were considered likely to make the team.
To me, the credit goes to those in the arena - those players and coaches who made the sacrifice to be a part of USA Basketball. Starting with Jerry Colangelo and Coach Mike Krzyzewski, every coach and every player made a sacrifice to be a part of this team, and to represent our country. THEY deserve the credit, as they are the ones who put in the time and effort.
The players on the court were all good NBA players, many of them among the very elite in the league. They worked hard, and for the most part, they represented our country very well.
While many players played well at certain times, I must say that I was particularly impressed with Klay Thompson and Kenneth Faried. I somewhat expected Anthony Davis to be good, and he fulfilled that thought (he’s just really good, and continuing to get better and better). I don’t think that it would be a stretch to think that Anthony Davis will be a top 5-8 player in the NBA in 3-5 years (he’s not far off now). With this said, Klay Thompson has really good size for two-guard, and I knew that he could shoot it……but he really showed that he could put it on the floor and get to the basket and he really showed that he can defend. Faried just played with such energy…..he was just fun to watch as he worked so hard on the glass, on loose balls and to keep plays alive.
A couple of things that I’ve heard/read this past week that bothered me:
1) The Yahoo article that spoke about how USA Basketball was just used by Coach K for his personal benefit, and for the benefit of his Duke program. Whether you like or don’t like Coach K and/or Duke, you just must acknowledge that the man has sacrificed a tremendous amount of time - and brought back a high degree of respect - for USA Basketball around the world, and in this country. Overall, Coach K has been absolutely great for our game and for our country, so I see no reason for a reporter to take a shot at him after he comes back with great international respect - and a gold medal.
The other comment that bothered me was that nobody cared about the FIBA World Cup. First, for those of us that love basketball, we cared. We care A LOT!
Congratulations to all of the players and coaches that earned the gold medal. I watched and I cared.