Confidence is high among some of the media covering the 2014 World Cup in Spain starting on August 30 that Spain is built to defeat the heavily favored Team USA.
World Cup – Spain has the edge over USA to win World Cup: http://t.co/KcNCYvNfmt
— Eurobasket (@EurobasketNews) August 1, 2014
Eurobasket.com’s Mohamed Ramadan sees the match-up between the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and teammate Serge Ibaka as pivotal to Spain’s success.
“Ibaka is the only player in the Spanish roster capable of defending NBA’s most valuable player Kevin Durant. Both are Oklahoma City players training most of the time together, and having same length 6’10 each. Durant is for sure faster but Ibaka’s combination of athleticism and knowledge of his teammates game could lead him to succeed in this heavy task.”
Ramadan criticized Spain’s coach for not using Ibaka more on Durant at the London Olympics allowing Durant to score 30 points in the gold medal game. Team USA will not understimate the host team from Spain who likely represent their toughest challenge at the World Cup. The home court advantage will be significant and Spain has a roster of proven international and NBA talent that has been playing together for years. There will be no getting used to one another or adapting to new roles, everyone on Spain knows what is expected from them and has done it before.
— Nikeblog.com (@nikeblog) July 25, 2014
Spain features 6 NBA players: Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Victor Claver, Ibaka, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. However, they also carry 4 teammates from Real Madrid: Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Felipe Reyes. Plus teammates Juan Carlos Navarro and Alejandro Abrines from FCB Regal. Both home court and team chemistry will be with the Spanish side.
A lot of the discussion surrounding who will ultimately play for Team USA revolves around making sure they can deal with the size and experience of Spain. Team USA will be a favorite heading into the World Cup, however, this tournament could prove to be their toughest challenge is quite some time.