Training camps are over, exhibition games have begun, and the excitement is palpable as we build towards the 2014-2015 season with players who should have breakout or standout seasons. Here are five players in the Eastern Conference – one at each position, no rookies – who will take the next step towards greatness this upcoming season. Tomorrow, the West.
Team USA hasn’t lost a game in eight years and is widening the gap between itself and the rest of the world. We now know, after its singularly dominant tear through the 2014 FIBA World Cup, that there is simply no team on the horizon that can compete with this rebooted juggernaut of a U.S. basketball program. In reality, Team France (if Tony Parker and Joakim Noah returned to the team) could pose the stiffest competition in coming years. But even
Will LeBron James return to Team USA for the 2016 Olympics? Here’s a better question: Will Team USA even need him? Team USA’s global dominance is recalling the days of the original Dream Teams of the 1990s. The Americans steamrolled Serbia, 129-92, in the gold medal game of the 2014 World Cup in Madrid on Sunday, capping a tournament that became a coming-out party for a handful of new international stars. There were questions about the quality of Team USA’s roster following the withdrawal
MADRID — Team USA’s bus was parked in the narrow street outside the Palacio de los Deportes, and a crowd dozens of people deep — folks from Espana, Serbia and America, too — broke into a chant of “M-V-P” for Kyrie Irving as he exited the arena and made his way on board. He heard them, and he let them know that he had heard them. Kenneth Faried got a lot of love, too, and gave some back with that whiter-than-white
MADRID — The Red Foxes dance team held their practice right after Team USA held its practice, and many of the American players stayed around to watch. And why wouldn’t they? The Foxes, from Ukraine, are an extraordinary confluence of genetic brilliance with a ballerina meets pole dancer sexiness. Not one of them is shorter than 6 feet tall. The should call themselves the unicorns. They are a pleasure to watch, and a number of the American players did just that before posing
MADRID – “Until they show us for 40 minutes that they are the better team, I am not going to say they are the better team.” Consider the gauntlet thrown down. The thrower was Serbia coach Sasha Djordjevic. You may never have heard of Djordjevic, but he was a pretty good point guard back in the day. And way back in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, he played on a Yugoslavia team that was the first squad to play a competitive game
As the New Orleans Pelicans enter a pivotal season in their potential progression to a playoff team, swingman Tyreke Evans appears to project as a reserve. The good news is that if Evans comes off the bench for your team, your roster is pretty talented. The bad news is that Evans has shown that he is a much better player as a starter. Evans’ first season in New Orleans was filled with adjusting to a new team and adapting to a new role off
During one of Team USA’s exhibition games prior to the World Cup, international basketball aficionado Fran Fraschilla had a simplistic but telling observation. Fraschilla said that no team at the World Cup will have as many NBA players than Team USA. That is a big advantage. Another big advantage Team USA has it that it can afford to let down for brief stretches of games. Other teams cannot. Lithuania coach Jonas Kaslauskas had firsthand experience with that dynamic in Thursday’s semifinal. After playing