MBO Roundtable – FIBA World Cup Edition Part 1
Believe it or not, we are only 1 month away from NBA training camps beginning. Thankfully, the FIBA World Cup will occupy half of that time beginning August 30th. We already have released the thorough France preview that focuses on Orlando Magic summer acquisition Evan Fournier. The ‘MBO’ staff also got together for a roundtable discussion to chat more about this tournament. It was so good we broke it down into two parts. Contributing are Adam Papageorgiou, Brian Serra, Andrew Melnick, and Spenser Strode.
What are your statistical predictions for Evan Fournier and how far does France advance?
Adam Papageorgiou: If the friendlies mean anything – which often times they don’t since coaching staffs are hiding everything they really plan to do – then Fournier isn’t going to see much crunch time with guys like Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Mickael Gelabale, Florent Pietrus, and Antoine Diot taking up wing minutes. I’ll say Fournier averages 15 minutes and 6 points per game. Evan is going to have to prove his 3-point supremacy and force Coach Vincent Collet to give the 21-year-old more court time. Fournier along with Rudy Gobert are the youngest players on the squad.
As for the French team, they should finish second or third in Group A which means they’ll meet the third or second seed coming out of Group B in the Round of 16. That could be any of Greece, Puerto Rico, Argentina, or Croatia. I’ll say France crashes out in the Quarterfinal match. No Tony Parker and Joakim Noah is going to be too much to overcome and this team has size problems.
Brian Serra: If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I shouldn’t over-hype my expectations for NBA players in international competition. I’ve been burned too many times before and I’m tired of getting caught with the “WHY ISN’T XXXXX PLAYING?!” spewing from my brain. He was a bottom of the roster addition to the team, so that’s where his expectations should be. Any good run he can get, will be welcomed back here stateside. With France likely to finish 3rd or 4th in their group, I foresee an early knockout for the undersized French.
Andrew Melnick: Although I believe the acquisition of Fournier by the Magic was underrated, I don’t see him getting enough time to put up big numbers. Even without Tony Parker, the team is full of talented veterans so it’s tough to see Fournier playing any more than 17-18 minutes a game, meaning he’ll probably put up 5-7 points per game. As for the team, France’s group features Brazil, Serbia and Spain, so it is extremely tough. I’ll say France finishes second or third in their group and bows out in the round of 16.
Spenser Strode: Look, he ain’t that great. The France team ain’t that great. I would be surprised if Fournier tallies more than 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists per tournament game. Based on the draw, I think France advances from Group A as the 3rd seed. I see France getting to the final 8, in a squeaker, and then bowing out.
Below is the rest of the Part 1 World Cup discussion.
How would you have tweaked Team USA’s 12-man roster from what it is now?
Adam Papageorgiou: I probably would have kept Damian Lillard and left Derrick Rose home. I don’t think Rose can play every game in this tourney. You’re looking at 9 games in 15 days. USA could have also used a few more perimeter SF specialists like Parsons, Hayward, and/or Korver, but none are really defensive or offensive transition upgrades over Rudy Gay. Jerry Colangelo seems to be determined to have enough big men to match Spain and that’s not a bad strategy. Don’t surprised though if there comes a game where Team USA can’t get out in transition and they get stuck clanking jumpers in uninspired halfcourt scenarios.
Brian Serra: PlumdogBro should not be on the team. I get it… he hustles, is scrappy, DUKE. I don’t see how his addition addresses any of the team’s pending weaknesses. I like that Boogie made it, solely because I hope it helps him develop – but think he was an iffy addition in itself. DeMarcus Cousins seems best fit for the 2002 team. Overall though, it’s just nitpicking. This team is heads over any other team, including Spain. If Spain is the only compeition, then why not load up with big men? Should John Wall or Lillard been kept for Rose-insurance? Probably. But it wont make much difference. BONUS THOUGHT: Why no college player or rookie for the 12th spot? Marcus Smart, Jabari Parker or Jahlil Okafor would have been a lot more fun to see as 12th man than Mason Plumlee.
Andrew Melnick: I’m a little surprised Damian Lillard didn’t make the team. He can beat opponents off of the dribble, knock down shots (we all watched the Rockets series) and at the very least provide insurance for Derrick Rose. Plus, Team USA could probably play Lillard alongside Rose or Kyrie Irving at times. If anything, they probably have one too many big men. I love that Andre Drummond and Boogie Cousins are on the squad but I really don’t see the need for Mason Plumlee as well. I’d have kept Lillard over him.
Spenser Strode: Team USA is not lacking anything on the roster that is needed to win the gold. My only potential gripe is the exclusion of Damian Lillard (and even John Wall) on the basis of Derrick Rose’s perceived health—and because I like Lillard and think he will be a prominent member of the 2016 Olympic team moving forward.
Scour the FIBA World Cup rosters and pick out the most difficult player’s name for you to spell and pronounce.
Adam Papageorgiou: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. He just became a 17-year-old just over a month ago too, yet Mike Fratello still has him on the 12-man Ukraine roster. There are some tough Ukrainian and Egyptian names for sure.
Brian Serra: Nick Calathes. HOW IS THE ENTIRE GREEK TEAM MADE UP OF KOSTA’S AND GIANNIS’?!?! I have to go with Giannis Antetokounmpo. If I didn’t have Mr. Papageorgiou coaching me for the last year on how to say his name properly, and still not feeling comfortable with it, I’d have no chance.
Andrew Melnick: I’m going to go with the entire roster of Greece simply because Adam is Greek and follows all of the players year round (meaning the folks here at MBO actually can pronounce their names).
Adam Papageorgiou: I like how I just knew I’d see those responses.
Spenser Strode: Maksym Pustozvonov. The 27-year old who most recently played for BC Donetsk. His name sounds made up to me, he’s certainly not as much of a Ukrainian as Steve Burtt Jr.
Be on the lookout for Part 2.