What we’ve learned from one week of FIBA play
Goga Bitadze and Georgia
Unlike the United States and Germany, Georgia is not expected to compete for a medal at the FIBA World Cup. This is their first trip to the major tournament.
That does not mean Georgia is short on talent — Goga Bitadze, Tornike Shengalia and Sandro Mamukelashvili. They appear to run a lot of their offense through Shengalia and Mamukelashvili on the perimeter with Bitadze setting screens and rolling to the basket.
But Georgia has not exactly performed well to this point — Bitadze sat out at least two of their first three games.
This weekend changed all of that. Georgia scored an impressive victory with an 84-79 win over Nikola Vucevic and Montenegro on Sunday. Bitadze scored 21 points and made all nine of his shots to go with six rebound sin 20 minutes. That followed a 13-point effort in Saturday’s win over Jordan.
Sleep on Bitadze at your own risk, it would appear.
Magic fans got introduced to him late last season and saw a player who was a tough defender and paint protector, a good rebounder and scorer around the basket. Bitadze has brought all of that to his national team.
Bitadze made the most of his minutes with the Magic last year by doing simple things. And that is what he is doing again for Georgia as they get ready for the World Cup.
We will get to see Joe Ingles suit up with Australia starting in games Monday morning. But we will have another round of games for many of these teams this week and especially this weekend as teams make their final preparations for the World Cup.