My American friends aren’t going to like me for this one but my pick to win the 2014 FIBA World Cup is Spain.
It’s not just because they are the home nation. It’s not just because as great as Coach K.’s Team U.S.A. look they’re still missing a LeBron, Kevin (Durant and now/or Love), Carmelo and Kobe. It’s not just because heartbroken former FIFA World Cup soccer winners Spain lost out eaaarly this year in Brazil. It’s not just that as skilled as the other nations are, from Brazil to Puerto Rico, from South America and beyond it’s only Spain who are just that close or even an edge ahead of the dream of U.S.A.
It might have something to do with the fact that right now the Spanish national side and America are neck and neck in a 4-zip sweep. it might have something to do with the fact that this team make for an elite, Lakers/Celtics like match-up on an international scale every-time they duke it out from the World Championships to the Olympics. It might just be because when it comes to roundball’s having FIBA instead of Spading stitched on them, Spain reigns supreme as the matador to U.S.A’s bull. It might just be because World Cup’s are more sought after in Europe, no matter how much Tim Howard tried to save it.
It’s probably more like this team is stacked…and we do mean stacked. Not bite,-size, economy Pringles stacked, but oh wait I forgot they had one of last years NBA difference makers Serge Ibaka stacked. Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez big-name stacked. With the defence beating speed of Jose Calderon and the buzzer beating shot of Juan Carlos Navarro. Then of course there’s the big-three. There’s former NBA-next/Minnesota Timberwolves future Ricky Rubio given the keys and he’s finally old enough license to run wild and display the skillful game that got him all this attention straight out of Europe in the first place. Then there’s the brothers in arms, strong-holding the paint with a flair of skill. Marc and Pau Gasol. The kind of family-bond, teammate true partnership the Lakers wish they never lost when they traded Marc’s draft right for Pau. the kind of brotherhood the Memphis Grizzlies wish they always had with their two defining big-men of the last two separate decades.
The new Spanish Bull, by way of Chicago having the second storm of his career in the Windy City in Pau Gasol. One of Europe’s all-time greatest big men who people keep sleeping on. It’s time to wake up to all those championship credentials foreign and domestic. It’s not just this guy however. This team is actually a team and feels like something on a club level and this unity, this court connection is while Gasol will this time face off with another U.S. teammate in Derrick Rose and truly bloom. Basketball is still an American sport, but when it comes to Europe it goes through Spain figuratively and literally. Maybe that’s why they’ll lift the cup.
Or it may just be that European three-point line…