FIBA World Championship 2006 - Unofficial Blog

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nowitzki believes US is the favorite

He agrees with the rest of the world. German basketball player Dirk Nowitzki thinks the United States is "the team to beat" in the forthcoming FIBA World Championship in Japan.

The fantastic Dallas Mavericks forward feels the Americans' depth is their best asset, and backs them to cope even with the absence of Kobe Bryant from their team.

"For sure the Americans are the favorites," Nowitzki expressed following Germany's 95-75 win over Canada in a warmup game on Sunday. "They are really stacked. The only guy they don't have is Kobe. But they still have Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and plenty of other guys.

"Of course, after them everything is open. Spain and Pau Gasol will be really strong. But the field is very open and everybody can defeat everybody. But I think the Americans are the team to beat."

We must remember that Nowitzki praised Team USA's coaches for bringing in role players to go with their superstars.

"They've found a really good mix," he said.

However, he believes Bryant, who is sidelined with a knee injury, will be a big loss to the tournament.

"It would have been a great show for basketball if Kobe could have come along," he said. "But [the Americans] still have a lot of great and talented players for the world to watch."

Germany will face Spain, New Zealand, Angola, Panama and hosts Japan in Group B in Hiroshima.

Team USA will take on Italy, Slovenia, Senegal, China and Puerto Rico in Group D of the championship, which begins on Aug. 19.


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