The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup gives fans of international basketball the opportunity to watch their favorite nations in action outside of Olympic play.
Hosted by Spain, the 2014 FIBA tournament is going to be filled with excitement. The Spanish team is loaded with talent, evidenced by its silver medal in the 2012 Olympics. Its main competition is the United States, a team that won gold in the Olympics and also won 2010's installment of this tournament against host nation Turkey.
The two teams have plenty of history, and they'll enter the tournament as likely favorites to take home the top spot. Before group play gets underway, we'll have to get through the preliminary rounds. The entire preliminary schedule can be found below.
Preliminary Round Schedule
Preliminary schedule is courtesy of NBA.com.
|Date||Team 1||Team 2||Time (ET)|
|Saturday, Aug. 30||United States||Finland||3:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, Aug. 30||Spain||Iran||4 p.m.|
|Sunday, Aug. 31||United States||Turkey||3:30 p.m.|
|Sunday, Aug. 31||Spain||Egypt||4 p.m.|
|Monday, Sept. 1||Spain||Brazil||4 p.m.|
|Tuesday, Sept. 2||United States||New Zealand||11:30 a.m.|
|Wednesday, Sept. 3||United States||Dominican Republic||3:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday, Sept. 3||Spain||France||4 p.m.|
|Thursday, Sept. 4||United States||Ukraine||11:30 a.m.|
|Thursday, Sept. 4||Spain||Serbia||4 p.m.|
Kevin Durant has pulled out of the FIBA tournament, and Paul George will miss out on the tournament because of a terrible injury he suffered in a scrimmage. Regardless, this team is poised to dominate in Spain.
Of course, it won't be easy. Team USA's schedule is a grueling one, and that even includes its pre-tournament tuneups. Nick Gallo of NBA.com broke down the team's itinerary:
The United States’ training in Las Vegas ends on August 1st with the USA Basketball Showcase at 8:00 p.m. CDT. The team will then travel to Chicago, Ill. For two more days of training and an exhibition game against Brazil on August 16th at 8:00 p.m. CT. From August 18th-22nd, the United States squad will be training in New York City, squaring off against the Dominican Republic on August 20th and Puerto Rico on August 22nd in two more exhibition games before departing for Spain. Training camp concludes for the Untied States in Gran Canaria, Spain with two days of practice and a final exhibition tune-up against Slovenia on August 26th.
That's a lot of basketball, but the tuneups will be necessary for success in this tournament. Basketball is a game of consistency, and it's hard to find consistency if you aren't playing consistently. Makes sense.
Team USA's exhibition against Brazil is Saturday evening, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski has already named four of his five starters for the game, tweets NBC's Kurt Helin:
Report: Rose, Curry, Harden, Davis four of five Team USA starters vs. Brazil http://t.co/0DN5SF5Mz9— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) August 15, 2014
The other spot won't be occupied by DeMarcus Cousins, as SportsCenter tweeted that he won't play in the contest:
THIS JUST IN: DeMarcus Cousins will not play vs. Brazil after leaving USA Basketball practice with apparent right leg injury.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 14, 2014
Even without Durant, George and now Cousins (for at least one game), the United States have the weapons to make noise. Just look at the four listed in the starting lineup. Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Anthony Davis are a scary quartet on the floor.
This lineup might be fluid during exhibition games as Coach K works out the kinks with his roster, but there are multiple candidates to start games on this stacked roster.
The Spanish team is loaded with talent.
Veterans like Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and Juan-Carlos Navarro are also set to play well. They've proved themselves in international competition in the past, making them candidates to help keep the offense flowing efficiently.
Where will Spain place in this tournament?
Ricky Rubio is the X-factor for the Spanish. Everyone is aware of his incredible passing ability. It's that ability that's going to help Spain confuse opposing defenses and get easy baskets, so in that regard, Rubio is a plus.
But then there's Rubio's ineffective jump shot.
Rubio isn't a good shooter. The whole world knows it. Sometimes he himself doesn't, however. Rubio tends to lean on that jumper a bit too much, and if he does that in this tournament, Spain will lose a good amount of their dominance.
Playing in front of their home fans gives Spain an edge, but there is certainly something playing against them. If Rubio realizes that he needs to dish before shooting, Spain can challenge the United States.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR