It’s a tradition here at BiE. Whenever there’s a major event in basketball, the editor steps up and put the whole site’s neck on the line. It began with Os Davis and it continues with Emmet Ryan. Here are our Fearless Predictions for the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
The normal tone of these pieces is to build you up with a series of less important picks and then get to the big one but that always seems a bit harsh on readers who don’t skip to the end. Big picks first, the rest can follow.
Winners – USA
I am more torn over the gold medal pick than I expected. Part of that is due to the US roster losing Kevin Love, Paul George, and Kevin Durant. As I wrote earlier, Durant is a bigger loss to the tournament than to his own team. Spain’s run through the prep games has been impressive and I am nowhere near as wary of their back-court defence as I was just a couple of months ago. They seem to be clicking but Coach K has a selection here that should be able to live with Spain on the inside and beat them on the outside. One thing I am certain off, if I’m right the party won’t be half as good on Sunday the 14th as if I’m wrong.
Silver – Spain
Their side of the draw looks the tougher but damn they look ready, so very ready. At full strength, I’d probably say France over them, but Noah and Parker are the type of pieces France need to win the clash of Euro superpowers. I expect to see Spain hit the floor in front of their home fans on the final night of the tournament.
Bronze – Croatia
I’m going to be honest, this could be the most fun battle of the tournament and if any pick is a kiss of death it’s who gets bronze. France should be better but Croatia could get the right breaks in terms of the draw to make it all the way to the semi finals. If it goes that way, they’re a solid bet for third.
MVP – Anthony Davis
He just seems ready. If the USA are going to beat Spain, they need to impress on the inside and Davis will have plenty of opportunities to make a dominant impression on the way to the final.
All-Tournament Team – Derrick Rose, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol, Anthony Davis
Davis gets in because he’s my MVP pick, Rose will surely get some love purely on the grounds of being healthy and a good tournament will probably be enough for him, Gasol has one big tournament in him and it keeps the locals happy, Batman is going to have a chance to stand out as a leader for France, and Serge Ibaka is primed for another big couple of weeks.
I’ve just cursed all of these players right? Oh well. Let us know what you think in the comments. See you in Bilbao.