Sunday, September 03, 2006

See You Next Year

So the FIBA World Championships are over. The Americans went home with the bronze, beating Argentina in a matchup that most thought would play out in the gold medal game. It was good to see Team USA rebound after their disappointing loss to Greece to beat a terrific Argentinian team.

The gold medal game continued to show the difference between the NBA game and the international game. Spain came into the game against Greece after losing their leading scorer & rebounder, and NBA All-Star, Pau Gasol to a foot injury sustained in Spain's semifinal victory over Argentina. Without Gasol, the Spain-Greece matchup featured two rosters with a combined 64 games NBA experience - all by Spain's Jose Calderon, the backup point guard for the Toronto Raptors last season. (Argentina's team, by comparison, featured 4 current NBA players, one signed to begin his NBA career next year, and a combined 684 games of NBA experience between 6 players.)

Team USA now has to qualify for the '08 Olympics at next year's Tournament of the Americas. The team may face a slight final roster shakeup among the 24 players originally invited to participate in tryouts this year, and will continue to work out the bugs of international competition with the ultimate goal of reclaiming gold in '08.

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