With one spin move and monstrous jam — or a fake pass that led to a dunk — the FIBA World Cup’s first round came to a close.
Paolo Banchero put the exclamation point on an 110-62 win over Jordan for the United States to complete a 3-0 run through the first round of the FIBA World Cup. It was an exclamation point for a very impressive run for this young American squad.
They were the favorites, as they always are, but they continued to establish themselves as a different kind of American team. Still thrown together at the last second, but figuring things out fast.
Banchero has been at the center of it — literally — as one of the leaders on a bench unit that has decimated teams to this point.
The U.S. is not alone as contenders in this World Cup or with Orlando Magic players making an impact.
The Orlando Magic’s players all made an impact as they all advanced to the second round of the FIBA World Cup.
Moe Wagner has provided a similar role off the bench as a force around the basket for Germany as the team has had to rally together after Franz Wagner’s ankle injury in the tournament’s first game. Goga Bitadze too has come off the bench and anchored Georgia’s surprisingly deep team as they fought their way out of the first round in their first World Cup appearance.
Joe Ingles has continued to provide a solid veteran presence for Australia in their quest to medal at this tournament.
The teams in group play were pretty spread out. Outside of France’s surprise loss to Latvia that knocked them out, all the contenders for the World Cup are still alive. Now comes the second round when the field will get winnowed down to eight after the second round of group play on Friday and Sunday.
The competition is only getting set to ramp up.
The past week of games has been a good introduction to the teams and the tournament as a whole. We are preparing to enter a more intense phase very soon.
Still, this is a good time to take a step back and reflect on what we have learned so far about these teams and the Magic’s players.