Blogtable: The World Cup carryover

Anthony Davis has become the defensive backbone of Team USA. (Jesse D Garrabrant/NBAE)

Anthony Davis has become the defensive backbone of Team USA. (Jesse D Garrabrant/NBAE)

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Cavs the new Heat? | Whither the Warriors? | Using the FIBA springboard


> Which NBA player in the FIBA Basketball World Cup stands to gain the most, in terms of improving his play and carrying it over to the NBA?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comAnthony Davis opened eyes, dropped jaws and sent a shiver through New Orleans’ 2014-15 opponents even before the medal round began. If the league had an official preseason all-NBA team, the New Orleans big man would be on it. I get the same vibe watching him now that I got up-close 17 years or so ago as Kevin Garnett grew into his body and his skills. Of his Team USA mates, Kyrie Irving should benefit greatly from this experience, both on the court and mentally handling new expectations and responsibilities. But people will remember this 2014 FIBA World Cup for Davis’ emergence as a monster in full.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Getting the playing time and on-court experience in game situations that really mean something could be just what the doctor and the rehab therapist and the Bulls coaching staff and front office ordered for Derrick Rose. Physical and mental hurdles should be in his rearview mirror by the time he hits training camp.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: This might be unanimous: DeMarcus Cousins. However, with him, it’s not so much carrying over improved play, it’s carrying over an eye-opening experience of how professionals work, play, interact and lead.

Kenneth Faried (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

Kenneth Faried (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves/Spain. Rubio has made improving his shooting a focus of the offseason, with good reason, and the World Cup will be the first progress report. The tournament isn’t a full schedule of NBA-level competition, but the games will matter and therefore a better test than the exhibition slate with the Wolves. A good showing from the perimeter in his native Spain will be a confidence boost and build momentum heading back to Minnesota.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Derrick Rose, of course. Playing 20 minutes a game for the USA is a great way for Rose to knock off the rust, regain his feel for the game, and get his body used to playing full speed basketball again. Somebody said the following in the last week and I’d love to credit them, but I forget who it was: The best way to prepare for basketball is to play basketball. The next three weeks could be huge for Rose, the Bulls, and how successful their 2014-15 season will be. Beyond Rose, the World Cup could help some incoming rookiesBojan Bogdanovic, Dante Exum and Kostas Papanikolaou to name a few — hit the ground running when training camp opens.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Great question. I don’t think there is any doubt that Anthony Davis is the player poised for the quantum leap from where he was at the start of the 2014-15 season to where he is now. Davis has a chance to make the transition from All-Star to game-changing superstar with the right kind of results in Spain.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Kenneth Faried. He finished his rookie year with a flourish, making first-team All-Rookie. But since then, as the Nuggets have rebuilt, Faried’s star has lost a little of its shine, and last year his name started to bubble up in trade talks. But as a member of USA Basketball, Faried seems to have gotten a little of his swagger back. He went from being a bubble invite to the USA camp to earning a starting spot on the squad. When I asked him on Friday night if he felt like he belonged, he quickly shot back, “Ain’t no ‘feel like.’ I know I belong.”

Simon Legg, NBA Australia: It might be obvious to mention Derrick Rose, given what he’s coming back from, or maybe Klay Thompson, who will be having contract negotiations in the not too distant future but I’ve decided to go out of left field a little bit here. I’m also going specific to my region in selecting Aron Baynes. He has been one of the best-performing Boomers in their nine warm-up matches across Europe heading into the FIBA World Cup. He’s been a double-double machine and is a guaranteed starter for the Aussies. The reason I believe he has a lot to gain is because this is his opportunity to show the world what he can do. He’s a role player on the best team in the NBA and he hasn’t established himself as a rotation NBA player yet. His contract situation is an interesting one because he is a restricted free agent and the Spurs have early Bird rights on him and have tendered a qualifying offer worth $1.1 million. Will he take that and come back for an uncertain extra year or could another team swoop and offer a more lucrative deal? Maybe a good showing at the FIBA World Cup could entice someone.

Aldo Aviñante, NBA Philippines: Andray Blatche of the Philippines. I might get some flak for choosing him but you have to hear me out. Team USA will be covered as a whole, although Derrick Rose will garner more attention because of his long layoff. The various NBA players littered among the other countries are already well established. Meanwhile in the Philippines, if Blatche plays well and somehow leads Gilas Pilipians to the second round, he will develop a cult-like following. Still unsigned, if he exemplifies his leadership and shows his adjustment to playing with a new team in a different system he will be an attractive free agent player after the World Cup.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: Kostas Papanikolaou, who else? He is a rookie for the Houston fans and an unfamiliar face for international basketball. Over the past years he has grown a lot and few 24 years-old players have added in their resume two Euroleague titles. During the back-to-back European titles of Olympiakos he played a significant role as starting small forward, with his streaky shooting, his explosiveness to the rim and his defensive mindset. Last year he grew up as a more versatile offensive player in Barcelona and now in his last few days before the NBA chapter of his career comes along, he demonstrated solid leadership during Greece’s friendly games. He was the top scorer playing at the “3” alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and managed to check the “constistency” box next to his scouting report.

Karan Madhok, NBA India: Although all eyes will be on Anthony Davis — who is sure to be the best player for the USA — and Derrick Rose, who’ll be making a long-awaited return, I think that the real surprise gem of the FIBA World Cup will be … Kenneth Faried! Through all of Team USA’s practice warm-up games so far, Faried has been the x-factor, and the international style of play seems to suit his game perfectly. Without Durant on the USA side, Faried also seems to have secured a starting spot in the American frontcourt. Despite his talent, Faried has hardly had any experience at higher level competitions so far in his young career. Playing alongside some of the best players and for top coaches like Coach K and Thibodeau will sure give Faried the confidence and experience he needs to become a leader for the Nuggets when he returns.

21 Comments

  1. This is a hard one, but let me try:

    1. Anthony Davis -becoming the leader of this team will translate to the Pelicons playoff birth and his affirmation as a top 10 player in the league.

    2. James Harden – getting back to defense (he was a “defensive stopper” on OKC) and maximizing his offensive talent for the betterment of his team.

    3. Kyrie Irving – getting back to defense (ala his Duke days) in preparation for a Championship run next season next to Lebron and Love in Cleveland.

    4. Demarcus Cousins – Learning leadership, teamwork, professionalism, team sacrifice, defense. Also, playing with Rudy Gay will build that chemistry between them next year in Sacramento.

    My choice is D. Cousins. A lot of these guys a re getting back to what they had done before. Cousins is adding the intangibles that he has always lacked. If he can dominate Marc Gasol in a matchup he can finally add legitimacy to his “Best Center in the League” talent he has always had.

  2. WallyLoco says:

    A lot of this comments are increidibles! Some people really didn´t watch the pregames
    I´m agree with Anthony Davis (he is playing really well), maybe Faried or perhaps Irwing or Rose (in the leaders paper). But Cousins? He´s is playing walking and very slowly (he is out fit).
    I would like remark one player that noone say: Marc Gasol, his contract finish this year, he has a diet or similar, I watch the pregames and he never was so fast and in better fit.

  3. Ballin All Day! says:

    Lets just hope these boys don’t shame us since none of the men are playing this time around… Harden’s famous “euro” step does not seem to be as effective against “euro” players as it is in the nba… I have a lot of faith in Anthony Davis and Stephen Curry’s pure stroke but this squad does not compare to previous USA squads… Maybe I would be a little more comfortable if Durant, Lebron, Melo, Westbrook and co. would be on board… ( Who by the way had their own problems with Spain as well) I wish the guys much success but the notion that they will easily outplay Spain is still a big question mark… Betting on a young run n’ gun squad opposed to a loaded veteran team is like betting against the Spurs…. I will be watching and I hope they can pull it off… Good Luck USA

  4. GNemmie says:

    Sekou… I believe in terms of Anthony Davis you meant to say from the start of 2013-14 season to where he is now. Yes, I agree Anthony Davis will emerge as the next great F/C that people compare with the best to ever play the position. The fact that he has such a love for defense, but can still be counted on to score makes him a nightmare for the opposition. He has such a great attitude and disposition…it’s going to fun to watch!
    @ Sekou… I think I deserve an NBA.com t-shirt for the edit…what do you think?

  5. FIlipino Idio says:

    That Aldo guy from the Philippines is a biased idiot. What cult-like following is he talking about on Blatche? I think he did not understand the question too. The guy is still unsigned on an NBA team so naming him on this Blogtable session is not valid.

    And don’t get me wrong, I am from the Philippines too so I know how idiotic people here are.

  6. Laker for life 24 says:

    There are to many players that will learn from this experience. Anthony Davis will add muscle and is having to take on the responsibility of playing center. Kenneth Faried is going up against bigger guys and is learning to be a more tenacious rebounder and scorer. Derrick Rose is just getting back in shape and Kyrie Irving is learning to be more of a leader.

  7. hilljr says:

    Unquestionably James Harden. He’s been rather bold in alot of his proclaimations this summer. This year from now until next May/June is the ultimate put-up or shut-up year for him. Even without what they lost, they have a team fully capable of going deep into the playoffs. He is also arguably the best player on this team USA. So if he has a bad tournament, it could do Dwight Howard level damage to his reputation.

  8. TTKIN says:

    Idk why but ive never liked Anthony Davis. But he has been wow’ing me during these games. He is a straight up beast dude. Im gonna hate him sooooo much once he hits his prime hahahah.

  9. Pablo says:

    Look up Jonas Valenciunas and refer toi this comment 9 months from now

  10. Deron Bowry says:

    I think James Harden has a lot to prove after self proclaiming himself “The best all around player in the NBA”. He has to be not only the player on his team but, in the FIBA World Cup. Right now, I wouldn’t give second best on a USA team; with a roster where more were not selected as all-stars last season. To make matters worst, he doesn’t seem that leadership responsibilities. Undoubtedly he’s a fantastic player, top 3 scorer but best all around? He has to show me something this World Cup.

  11. kobeballhog says:

    Lmao another what the H comment from a writer in the philippines. First having the only writer on nba.com regarding lakers reaching the playoffs now this??? Come on nba get some real writers who knows a lot about basketball in there and not fanboys rooting for their own teams. The article is about carry over improving his play you seriously think andray blatche deserves a spot here out of tons of other players who are in the nba who could help their teams? Just because he is playing for your country lol.

  12. KC says:

    Everybody seems to leave DeRozan out of the talks, maybe because he’ll ride the bench a little more or because there’s so much more talent ahead of him with the likes of Davis, Rose and the Splash Bros. Though I think this will help Demar immensely, he was a first time All-Star last year and getting this opportunity will do wonders for his confidence and leadership. He already has a stellar work ethic and getting the chance to utilize it with Thibs, Coach K, Boenheim, and the rest of his teammates will help him and the Raptors immensely this season. It may not be to the degree that others see but getting this opportunity will do wonders for him and his game this up coming season. Davis is going into year 3 which is considered by most to be the jump year for many players to superstar status, though we already knew davis would blossom after a first time All-Star appearance last year. Faried will definitely turn into much more of a leader, and if Cousins doesn’t learn how to lead from here he never will.

  13. darryl dawkins says:

    Anthony Davis. This guy is going places. Like MVP. Very soon.

  14. Dave says:

    No mention of DeMar DeRozan?

  15. hisairness says:

    AD = AJ XI
    Nice Shoes

  16. sports fan says:

    Of all the articles of this nature this one showed the most variation in responses from the nba writers. Not one player was picked more than twice. It’s great to see a wide variety of perspectives.

  17. mike jordan says:

    Anthony Davis will have a great leap in his career..being the top big man of USA

  18. mike jordan says:

    faried..he will be the leader of the nuggets…and of course DRose..He will be the best this season

  19. Faried and Davis are going to be much improved. and the 2 duos of Steph and Klay, and Gay and Cousins are going to come back improved, with better chemistry, and more leadership to their teams next season, which should show in the standings.