6 Things That Have to Happen for Team USA to Win 2014 FIBA World Cup

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6 Things That Have to Happen for Team USA to Win 2014 FIBA World Cup
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

For the first time in a long time, the focus surrounding Team USA has finally returned to the basketball court.

The discussions surrounding All-Star withdrawals, Paul George's gruesome injury (and its possible ramifications) and multiple rounds of roster cuts have largely quieted. Now, this team has a tournament to go win.

Eyes and ears have shifted back inside the lines, where the U.S. will start its FIBA World Cup journey with Saturday's opener against Finland (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). That will be the first of a five-game run through the group stage, which this squad should survive with relative ease.

From there, though, the road ahead could become much more treacherous. Even for a star-laden roster deserving of its status as tournament favorites, potential pitfalls exist along the path to the championship podium.

This team doesn't need to play a perfect tourney, but several things have to happen for USA Basketball to once again prove its dominance on the international stage. These are six of the biggest hurdles this group must clear over the coming weeks to emerge as world champs.

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