World Basketball – Americans dethroned?


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            <p>SHENZHEN, China - The World Basketball Championship begins Saturday in China in the absence of the biggest US stars of the NBA, a disappointment that opens the possibilities for Serbia, Australia, Spain, France and Greece, especially.

The International Federation (Fiba) dreamed of attracting all that basketball celebrities in China. It missed. Not very motivated by international medals, the best have preferred to preserve for the next season of the NBA, encouraged by their franchises who still fear to see their investments, paid up to tens of millions of dollars a year for the most expensive , wear prematurely or even get hurt in these tournaments foreign to their culture.

No LeBron James or Steph Curry nor Kawhi Leonard, but neither James Harden, Anthony Davies nor Damian Lillard, who were in the preselection of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the only Real star of the team, but later withdrew, like twenty of their teammates!

Hemorrhage is not just about the United States. Australia will be easier to beat without his young star winger Ben Simmons; Spain recorded withdrawals of Sergio Rodriguez and Nikola Mirotic; as for Canada, which was scary with its 17 players in the NBA, he will have only one in the final selection.

To the packages of these physically valid players was added, inevitably, a series of injuries. Serbia will not have its leader Milos Teodosic nor Russia's best player Alexei Shved. France lost in preparation its leader Thomas Heurtel and his interior Adrien Moerman.

If we add the absence of the champion of Europe, Slovenia and his young star Luka Doncic, the main victim of the new "windows" of qualification contested without the players of the NBA or those of Euroleague, that is a lot for a test that wanted to become the basketball equivalent of the World Soccer.

Vulnerable Americans

Of course there will be some good people anyway, starting with the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, player par excellence of the NBA season and therefore best player in the world in 2019, but also the great Serbian pivot Nikola Jokic, the French Rudy Gobert , best defender of the great American league for two seasons, the young Japanese Rui Hachimura, etc.

Above all, the defections have put on the carpet an exciting question: will the United States be dethroned again, as in 2002 and 2006, after their triumphs of 2010 and 2014?

It's a very different team from the potential "Dream Team", with only two stars, Kemba Walker (transferred this summer to Boston from Charlotte) and Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), who will try to answer it. His vulnerability, heightened by his lack of common experience, was laid bare during preparation for a defeat in Australia. The first since 2006 with a workforce from the NBA!

With the Boomers, the teams that seem the most able to take advantage of the situation are Serbia, vice Olympic, world and European champion, Greece and Spain, the last European nation to have won the title in 2006, and why not France.

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