Part II FIBA World Championships, taking a look at the players and odds for some of the teams in Groups C & B.
GREECE KEY PLAYERS:
Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Antonis Fotsis
Greece has a number of players that could play in the NBA but choose to stay overseas. They are a strong interior team and Sofoklis Shortscanitis is often called the International Shaq, mostly due to his body size, not his actual play. 15/1 odds aren’t bad, but I don’t think this is a bet I would make. Greece lacks the kind of defenders that can actually cover Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose at the point, and will be continually beaten off the dribble.
Ersan llyasova, Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur (injured)
Not having Mehmet Okur basically seals Turkey’s fate. We’ll get a good look at a promising young player in Ilyasova, who has stepped in for Milwaukee and done a great job of helping the revamped Bucks team. Turkoglu is declining, but has a game well suited for international play. If anything, this will be a good team to watch, but I don’t particularly like the 25/1 odds.
Carlos Arroyo, Renaldo Balkman, Ricky Sanchez, Jose Juan Barea, Peter John Ramos
Having 3 NBA players and one former NBA Draft pick (Ramos) would seemingly set Puerto Rico up pretty well. Ramos has proven to be a stud in international play. Jose Juan Barea’s tear drop jumper is pretty close to unstoppable. With 100/1 odds, it is almost a case of a “sure, why not drop a few dollars” bet, literally a few dollars, just because anything can happen and this team has a group of players that play very hard.
Kelly McCarty, Sergey Bykov, Andrei Kirilenko and Victor Khryapa sitting
This team could have been a threat with Kirilenko and Khryapa anchoring the defense. Instead, they will rely on McCarty and Bykov to do most of their scoring and have little if any chance of actually winning this tournament.
Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo
Really, this USA team is one of the weaker to be fielded for International Play. I don’t particularly like the odds. Most of the best NBA players (Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Dwight Howard) are not playing and it is up to Durant to carry the load offensively. Gay has been a bright spot so far, too. I don’t particularly think this is a good bet, given the 4/11 odds.
Primoz Brezec, Bostjan Nachbar, Jaka Lakovic
Slovenia, like many of the Russian block teams, brings a lot of toughness, but it takes more than grit and muscle to win a FIBA tournament, unfortunately.
Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter, Leandro Barbosa, Nene is sitting out.
Not having Nene hurts a lot, but Barbosa/Splitter/Varejao are a deadly trio and at 25/1 odds, this is a bet that might be worth dropping a few dollars on. Again, they are a bit of a long shot without Nene, but 25/1 odds are pretty good for a team that has 3 solid NBA pros and good team chemistry.
Zoran Planinic, Roko Ukic, Ante Tomic
Like the US, Croatia is failing to field the best possible lineup given the talent in their country. In year’s past, they were a possible threat, but not this year.