The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 is almost at a close, and we would love to share a few highlights of this year’s basketball world cup, in light of its most famous teams and expat players.
Much like FIFA, FIBA is a melting pot of global expats gathered together to represent their respective national teams. Like most athletes, Basketball players travel all around the world to chase the best opportunities and take their careers to the next level. This year, we see an effective strategy by premiere expat basketball star Andray Blatche, who chose to move to the Philippines, the 2nd most popular basketball nation in the world, so that he may be able to stand out than stay in the NBA where there’s an abundance of Basketball talent. This career risk has definitely paid off. Blatche stole the spotlight from most players in FIBA, including the most popular NBA stars in the competition. Blatche ranked 2nd in the FIBA player statistics board with and average of 21.2 points per game. Like most of the talented basketball players in FIBA 2014, he took the expat path into super stardom.
Read more about what you need to know about expats in the world of basketball and the highlights of this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.
FIBA Basketball Worldcup 2014 is held in Spain, mainly in the cities of Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, Barakaldo and Granada. The top 4 teams have emerged for the semi-finals and it’s not surprising that majority of the members in these teams are expats. The strongest team so far—Team U.S.A.. With an average of 102.3 points per game, Team U.S.A. started off pretty weak but still managed to emerge as the most powerful team in the competition. They will be playing against Lithuania with an average of 76 points per game today, 11th of September, which will determine who will advance to the finals. France with an average of 72.9 points per game will be playing against Serbia with an average of 80.1 points per game tomorrow, 12th of September. The finals will be held in Madrid on the 14th of September.
Team U.S.A. have always had a very NBA talent-heavy roster. This year, there has been a bit of controversy when many NBA players who were invited, declined to join the team. Nevertheless, the team still has a total of 9 NBA talents in the roster. There is only 1 expat in the team, their point guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving was born in Melbourne Australia and has a dual citizenship in the U.S. and Australia.
The team’s centre and current point leader is Anthony Davis who plays for one of the newest NBA teams, the New Orleans Pelicans. Other famous players on the team are Houston Rockets’ James Harden, Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, and Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried.
75% of the players in Serbia’s roster are expats including their star player, Miroslav Raduljica, who used to play for the NBA team, Milwaukee Bucks. Other notable players of the team are Nemanja Bjelica who plays for Fenerbahçe Ülker in the Turkish Basketball League, and Miloš Teodosić who plays for CSKA Moscow in the VTB League.
Serbia is pegged to be one of the finalists along with team USA. Even though their team statistics trail behind the U.S., Team Serbia seems to have enough spirit to fight the big boys of America.
France’s national team faced a bit of controversy when their national team expat star player Tony Parker decided to stay in the U.S. and train with the new NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs. Even with the loss of Parker, France stayed strong and has recently defeated the crowd favourite and host country; Spain.
Team France consists of 67% expat players and 4 of these expat players play for the NBA, just like Parker. Boris Diaw, who also plays for San Antonio Spurs, Rudy Gobert who plays for Utah Jazz, Nicolas Batum who plays for Portland Trail Blazer, and Evan Fournier who plays for Orlando Magic. The team’s top performer is also an expat player; Joffrey Lauvergne, who plays for Khimki in the VTB United League. Lauvergne has an average efficiency of 10.7 per game.
80% of Team Lithuania’s players are expats. Their players are in almost all the major leagues in the world—from the NBA, to Liga ACB, the Turkish Basketball League and the Polish TauronBaketLiga. Nonetheless, all these players came together to support their country for this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Though team Lithuania is ranked #12 on statistic average, they are preparing very well to go against the strongest team for the semi-finals. They are determined to stop team U.S.A. in its tracks and take the place in the finals today.
The most controversial moment about the FIBA Basketball Worldcup is Australia’s alleged strategy to put off playing against team U.S.A. for as long as possible, sitting off most of their key players during the Angola match ultimately losing 91-83. FIBA is now currently investigating the matter, but most of the fans who have watched the game have already set a negative opinion against the team and has dubbed Australia as a national team of point shavers.
Photo: Philippine Inquirer
Upon the start of this year’s FIBA Basketball world cup, Spain and U.S.A. immediately became the favourites. Despite having less NBA start power, team U.S.A. seemed less vulnerable than most people expected. Spain, the controversial host of the 2014 FIBA World Cup boasts the talent of the Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka. Though Spain and the U.S. were pegged to be the finalists of the cup, there are also other teams that sparked a few excitements; The Philippines has qualified for the first time since 1954 headed by the former Brooklyn Nets player, Andray Blatche who became a naturalized Filipino citizen this year as well. Greece, the team that stood against Team USA in 2006 also gave a surprising performance, but still fell short.
Photo: Sports Grid
Team U.S.A.’s break out star, Anthony Davis has been the star of the cup despite having a slow start in the tournament. France gained an unexpected win against the favourite, team Spain yesterday. The Gasol brothers took to twitter about the terrible team performance that ultimately cost them the championship game against the U.S. Now, awaiting the last 3 matches of the cup, the world eagerly anticipates if the weakened U.S.A. team will still remain supreme in the world of basketball.
FIBA Basketball WorldCup 2014, FIBA, Basketball, NBA, Team USA, Team France, Team Serbia, Team Lithuania, Anthony Davis, Andray Blatche