The FIBA World Championship is set to start in Turkey at the end of August, and the USA men’s basketball team is motivated to take back what is ours, the Naismith Trophy. The last time the US won a world championship in men’s basketball was way back in ’94, and the defending champions is Spain, the team USA beat in the Olympic gold medal game in Beijing. This tournament is just as important as the Olympics in the fact that the winning country will have bragging rights for having the team in the world for the next two years until the 2012 Olympics in London.
This USA team is not the same team that played in the ’08 Olympics. This team will not have the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Instead, this team is filled with a bunch of youngsters that are the future for the NBA. Players like Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Stephen Curry are on this year’s team and they should do just fine. There is just a feeling of uncertainty surrounding the players on the team because not very many of them have much international experience. The world has caught up to the United States in basketball, and while the United States reigns as the defending Olympic champion, the question this summer will be if the so-called B Team can be the best in the world.
Chauncey Billups joined 104.3 the Fan in Denver to talk about whether any of the younger players on Team USA have surprised him so far, whether he believes that he has a good chance to make Team USA and travel with them to Turkey for the Basketball World Championships, and whether he believes that Carmelo Anthony is going to re-sign with the Nuggets.
Whether any of the younger players on Team USA have surprised him so far:
“We have only had practice for one day but just yesterday I was like impressed with…I thought Rondo was pretty good man. You get to see him without Kevin, and Paul and Ray. You get to see him out here playing with some new guys and he is good man. He is really good. Derrick Rose was pretty good. Of course, Kevin Durant was pretty good. There are a lot of guys that you look at and I see way it is why it is, you know?”
Whether he believes that he has a good chance to make Team USA and travel with them to Turkey for the Basketball World Championships:
“Absolutely, absolutely. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t be giving up my summers if I wasn’t going to be on that team. Do you know what I am saying? At this point in my career I would just be with my family chilling, kind of hanging out. I didn’t get to play in the last one due to a family situation and I have had some conversations with Coach K and Jerry and they want to be on the team so that is why I am committing to this until it is over with.”
How the decision is made to not have any returning players from the Olympics:
“I don’t really know to be honest with you. I think they would have rather had some of those guys play but none of those guys opted to play but that is the decision that they can make. They won it last time, all of those guys have a lot of stuff going on and you can’t expect them to play for 8, 10 years with the national team and quite frankly the league is in a better position with these younger guys. So why not try them and give them a chance?”
Why it means so much for him to compete on the USA Team and whether he has always felt that way about it:
“No, it has always been that way for me. Just to be able to have those three letters on your chest knowing that you are representing your whole country. You are not just representing the Denver region or the Detroit region or whatever team you might be on, the Lakers. You are representing the whole country. You know what I am saying? I think that is an honor man, an unbelievable honor to be able to travel abroad and be able to represent your country. That is something that you love so much.”
Whether he believes that Carmelo Anthony is going to re-sign with the Nuggets:
“I am just hopeful. I am just hopeful that he will. I know that he loves Denver and I know that it is like home for him. Denver is the city that kind of raised him for the last couple of years. He came to Denver as a kid and now he is a grown, married man with a kid so I mean part of that is being comfortable. I believe that he is definitely that but I also believe that he wants to win so he wants see the organization show the same commitment to winning. So I think everything will work out just fine.”