Group play has ended at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and most of the easy games are in the rearview mirror. If an NBA player didn’t pad his stats during this stage of the contest, it is only going to get harder from here on out.
Five games is a decent enough sample size to see who’s got it on the international stage and the studs and duds of these championships are becoming obvious. No one should be arguing about what Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried and Pau Gasol have accomplished so far.
Stud – Bulls newest star Pau Gasol has been dominate on demand averaging 21.2 points on 61.9 percent shooting to go with 5.6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Dud – Almost invisible, Knicks new point guard Jose Calderon is shooting 30 percent from the field to average 3.6 points and dish less than an assist per game.
Stud – Pelicans Anthony Davis leads the US with 15.8 points on a tournament second best 62.7 percent shooting and has 6.4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.8 blocks.
Stud – Nuggets Kenneth Faried leads the tournament with 79.1 percent shooting from the field to average 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds
Dud – It seems like everyone on Team USA is trying to get the Bulls point guard Derrick Rose going offensively by feeding him open shots and easy routes to the basket, but it isn’t working. On a team averaging 54 percent from the field, Rose is shooting 25 percent and has missed 90 percent of his three-point attempts.
Stud – Suns point guard Goran Dragic does it all for Slovenia. He has shot 60.7 percent from the field and is averaging 17.4 points and 4 assists.
This team shares the wealth, however.
Dud – Wizards Nene has disappointed with 6.8 points on 44 percent from the field and 4.2 rebounds in 18.4 minutes. Brazil needs a lot more from Nene in the elimination rounds.
Stud – The long time FIBA star and reliable Pacers veteran Luis Scola has averaged a tournament second best 21.6 points, 52 percent shooting and 8.8 rebounds.
Stud – Spurs free agent Aron Baynes has averaged 17.2 points and 7 boards. What’s holding the Spurs back from re-signing this kid?
Duds – Jazz rookie Dante Exum has 3.2 points in 13 minutes on 35.7 percent shooting and Cavaliers Matthew Dellavedova has 6.4 points in 21.2 minutes on 35.7 percent shooting and that’s not helping the cause.
Stud – Nets Bojan Bogdanovic has averaged 20 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Dominican Republic 2-3
Stud – Rockets veteran Francisco Garcia has put up 20.2 points on 61.2 percent shooting from the field.
Stud – Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng has three double-doubles in five games and has put up an impressive 18 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.8 blocks.
Stud – Suns 7’2 free agent center Hamed Haddadi has averaged 18.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks and has three double-doubles. Someone in the NBA must need a big backup center?
Stud – Nets free agent forward Andray Blatche had five double-doubles in five games averaging a tournament third best 21.2 points, a tournament best 13.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals. His field goal percentage was reduced to 44.2 because he took 4.4 three-point shots per game but made only 1.2 of them. Blatche was auditioning for a contract. Who wants him?
Puerto Rico 1-4
Stud – Proving you just can’t keep a good little man down, the Timberwolves J.J. Barea leads the tournament in scoring with 22 points per game.
This isn’t an easy tournament to put up impressive numbers in. Through the group stage teams play five games in six days and even the main guys on each team usually only average a little more than 20 minutes per game. It can be especially tough on NBA players that haven’t played internationally before. The rules are different and they often don’t know anything about the player opposite them. No excuses though, these games are played for National pride and everyone participating is expected to bring their “A” game.
The Win or Go home portion of the tournament starts on Saturday.
Check out all of the leading scorers at the FIBA World Cup here.
Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.