FIBA Asia 2013: Highlighting Top Players to Watch in Final Round of Tournament

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi (15) warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

While it's not the NBA Finals, the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship has provided some entertaining basketball and has allowed talented players to make names for themselves.

Given the overall quality of the teams involved, as a fan, you're mostly happy if you can recognize just a handful of the players taking part. You've got a few who have played in the NBA or currently still do. You also have some American players who had successful college careers and became naturalized citizens of other countries.

Half the fun of tournaments like these is broadening your horizons and seeing foreign players for the first time. You get to see the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, etc. almost every night during the NBA season, not to mention the best college basketball players as well. This is one of the few times you can see some of the most talented players Asia has to offer.

With only a few more games to go, this is your last chance to catch the Asia Championship. Here are four players to watch as the tournament winds down.

Hamed Haddadi, Iran

Quite a bit was expected of Hamed Haddadi in this tournament, considering the big man is a five-year veteran of the NBA. He was one of the few players some basketball fans would recognize.

Luckily for Iran, he's come just as advertised.

No player has been better in this tournament than Haddadi. He has been head and shoulders better than his competition up to this point.

On the defensive end, the 28-year-old big man is a threatening presence for any opponent who wants to get inside. At 7'2", Haddadi is good to pick up at least a couple of blocks in the final.

He hasn't slouched on the offensive end, either. In Iran's 79-60 win over Chinese Taipei, Haddadi had 17 points and 14 rebounds. If he has a similar performance in the championship, Iran will be taking home the title.

Mahdi Kamrany, Iran

No team is complete without a floor general. Luckily for Iran, they have Mehdi Kamrany. All tournament long, it's been Kamrany who's led the Iranian offense. While not quite as talented, he's arguably much more integral to Iran's success in this tournament than Haddadi.

Although Kamrany's distribution has been superb, he's not a one-dimensional point guard. The 31-year-old has been able to slash to the basket or spot up if given enough space by his defender.

He's only averaged 9.8 points throughout the Asia Championship. The 19 he scored against Chinese Taipei is Kamrany's high for the tournament. Shooting 55.9 percent from the floor, the veteran point guard knows when to take his chances, though, so he's capable of having another huge game in the final.

Quincy Davis III, Chinese Taipei

You can't blame Quincy Davis III for Chinese Taipei's loss. He had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Iran did manage to have a field day in the paint, though, getting 38 more points in the paint than their opponent.

Davis went through a bit of a rough patch earlier in the tournament. In wins over Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, he only had a combined 23 points. Then against Qatar, which was a three-point loss for Chinese Taipei, the big man matched his output in the previous three games, scoring 23 points, while adding eight rebounds. He followed that up with 26 points and 10 boards against China.

At the time of writing, it's uncertain whom Chinese Taipei's opponent will be in the third-place game. Whichever team that is will have to work out a strategy to take Davis out of the game.

Jarvis Hayes, Qatar

Yes, it's that Jarvis Hayes. The same one who played for Georgia and was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.

While Hayes hasn't played in the league since 2010, he seems to have carved out a nice place for himself overseas.

Efficient hasn't exactly been the word to describe Hayes' tournament so far. He's only shooting 46.3 percent from the field. When he's on, the former Bulldogs star can win a game almost single-handedly for Qatar. However, if he's having an off night, it's the kind of performance that makes you want to throw something at the television, even if you aren't a Qatar fan.

It's that unpredictability that makes Hayes so entertaining, though.

He's scored in double figures for every game of the tournament, so for all of his inconsistency from the floor, the 31-year-old is guaranteed to get his buckets.


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