Sunday, September 9, 2007

Let's do some catch-up

One of the top stories coming out of these Euro games so far is the play of the Lithuanian team. Sure they were 2003 but as we have seen so far this year in both the Euros and Americas, having NBA players on the team does help. And the NBA players have been dominating so far this year. But I don't count Sarunas Jasikevicius and Darius Songaila is the top tier NBA players and they are the only NBA ballers on Lithuania. Yet Lithuania beat Andrea Bargnani's Italian team and remain undefeated now in the Euro championship with a 4-0 record. And while Italy has not been the toughest of challenges so far, Lithuania did also beat a tough Dirk Nowitski lead German team. So they have been a suprise, but until we still have a ways to go for Lithuania to make major waves. Props to Sarunas Jasikevicius for playing well so far, the guy was picked as being a player for both the Pacers and Warriors but has yet to come close to living up to the potential on both places, maybe a good showing here will help him take that next step. As for our main man Andrea Bargnani, 15 points and 7 boards is nice. And more importantly is the one turnover. I am hoping that Italy will get a bunch more games in to help Bargnani prepare for the Raptors season, but the way things are looking, I don't think Italy will be around much longer in these Euros.

Another hot topic from the Euros, the play of Andrei Kirilenko. Leading Russia to a 4-0 record so far (beating Portugal in the first game of the qualifying round). Kirilenko is showing the all round game he was showing two years ago as the main option in Utah. As we know, with the injury free season of Carlos Boozer and with Deron Williams taking a step up last season, Kirilenko became lost in the shuffle and frustrated. If one thing we are seeing from the numbers, like 16 points, 4 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals, is that he still has his game, it is purly a mental thing that blocked him last year. That being said, I write this has Russia plays Spain, so I might be singing a different tune in a matter of hours.

Speaking of Spain, they have that lose in the first round, but rebounded with a 76-58 win over Greece. Todays game against Russia will be more telling of what status Spain is in, but so far so good. Gasol is leading the way for Spain and showing that when healthy, he is a franchise type of player. Seeing the damage he is doing overseas, leads me to believe he might just help Memphis this year do some damage. As for the Raps, a little disappointing if you as me. Based on the numbers, so far Jose Calderon has been getting the minutes every game but has not put up any decent numbers. If anything, at least get some assists. Again, watching the style of play Spain uses would help understand what the deal is, but thanks Raptor TV for not making this possible. Jorge Garbajosa is doing similar to Calderon, getting minutes but nothing stat wise. I don't mind as much, just as long as Jorge gets some games in before the season and stays injury free. Again though, as the games get tougher, let's see if our boys step up.

Speaking of stepping up, Rasho Nesterovic is leading the undefeated Slovenia team with some solid numbers. 13 and 6 with 2 steals and a block against Turkey yesterday, and it's not like Slovenia has only played weak teams. France and Italy both lost to Slovenia (one point lose in each of the two games). Tomorrow is the next test as Slovenia gets Disco Dirk and Germany.

And Disco Dirk scored more then Tony Parker, 28 points to 23 points, but the supporting case of France proved to be much stronger then Germany as France won 78-66. France does have to be considered one of the top in this thing.

Today the main match-up is Russia and Spain and I will give a quick update later on that game. Tomorrow is a solid day with Lithuania vs France and Germany vs Slovenia. I am going with Lithuania and Slovenia in those two games.

1 comment:

Tunez said...

I'll admit, i've been dissapointed with the play of our guys competing in the euros. I feel that the majority of impact players on other NBA teams (Dirk, Tony Parker, Jasikevicius, Kirilenko etc..) have done a great job of leading their teams and put up decent numbers. On the Raptors side, I have yet to see a great game out of Jose and Garbo (Garbo gets a pass with the injury) and Bargnani's turnover problems and lack of rebounding have been terrible. A friend of mind who follows Euro-Ball says that Bargnani's game is stalled while playing for Italy because they play a slowed down half-court offense. Thanks to Raps-TV I will never be able to testify for myself but hopefully that is the case. The one player who is playing great might not even see minute on our team next year, but good for Rasho nevertheless.