Some athletes are widely acknowledged as legendary, especially those NBA Players who shined at FIBA. They are so excellent that even their first names are sufficient to identify them. Michael, then LeBron. Kobe. The supernatural. This is Larry.
Then there are legends of cults. Players who have consistently competed at a high level in basketball under a particular circumstance. You recognize these athletes because, in a given situation, they appear to switch on a dime. Players such as Game 6 Klay, Masked Kobe, Headband LeBron, and Playoff Rondo are regarded as the greatest when they display their special skills on specific occasions.
FIBA tournaments fall under these particular circumstances. Several NBA athletes are just “okay” at their positions. However, once they don their country’s colors, they begin to perform irrationally.
Following the conclusion of the FIBA World Cup 2023, three players have attained cult-legend status for their performance in the tournament.
Schroder served the Los Angeles Lakers well last year as a backup point guard. He was a steady hand who could step in when necessary. However, for the past two weeks, Schroder has arguably been the best point guard in the entire globe.
Germany relied heavily on Schroder for the second World Cup in a row. In 2019, he only managed to get them to the 18th and final round of the tournament. The German team he captained this time around was much more talented, and he guided them to victory. Schroder scored 19.1 points a game and dished out 6.1 dimes on average.
Throughout the competition, he barely faced any opposition. He was effortlessly dribbling and passing the ball around the court. When he finally decided to make an attack, that’s when things began to change. Schroder’s savvy flips, floaters, and bankers helped him beat the defense once he got into the paint. The defense would have to pay attention when he went near the basket because of his scoring prowess. The rest of his squad would benefit significantly from that.
Schroder made a fantastic save from his poor performance against Latvia. He scored 30 points against Australia, had a 21-point, 10-rebound performance that helped Germany beat Luka Doncic and Slovenia, and averaged 28 points and 53 percent shooting for the tournament. After his performance in the championship game, he was the tournament’s most valuable player.
Serbia’s ability to reach the event finals despite the absence of their star player, Nikola Jokic, is a credit to their basketball program. But make no mistake: Bogdanovic was important in Serbia’s World Cup win.
Bogdanovic is the Atlanta Hawks‘ major off-the-bench weapon because he can score, shoot, and create. He can play any wing position and blend in with any group. He’s a smooth operator who never loses his cool and almost always makes the correct decisions.
The World Cup put their adaptability and effectiveness on show. He finished in the top three on his squad in points, rebounds, and assists. He led the team in scoring with 19.1 points on 52 percent shooting, averaging 3.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Everything he does for the Hawks, he also does for his national team.
Watching Bogdanovic, who is normally composed and composed, play with more fire and ferocity. He approached the basket more aggressively and had a sprightlier stride out on the perimeter. When he made a big basket, he let out a big yell to celebrate.
That fury he displayed throughout the tournament motivated a squad without a crucial player in Jokic. They rallied around Bogdanovic, and he guided them to within two shots of winning the World Championship.
After playing a handful of games for Team USA, it became evident that the Los Angeles Lakers were grossly compensating Reaves.
The glimpses of potential he displayed throughout the previous season, most notably in the postseason, are no longer only glimpses. Compared to his teammates, he lacked the athleticism, but his shiftiness and bag of tricks more than made up for it. He could establish space between himself and his opponent by employing momentum, angles, and off-timing to throw his defender off balance. When he got to his place, he could finish through contact or, at the very least, go to the line.
When Reaves was initially selected to represent the United States, he played like an American version of Manu Ginobili. Even though Reaves’s team was loaded with max players, he frequently gave the impression of being the most talented player. He was second in scoring only to Anthony Edwards, averaging 13.8 points per game while shooting an extremely efficient 56 percent from the field.
His strongest play came in the competition’s final stages when he attempted to lead Team USA to significant comebacks but ultimately was unsuccessful. In the semifinals, he scored 21 points on 70 percent shooting against Germany, who went on to win the tournament, and in the bronze game, he scored 23, which was his highest total of the match.
There have been rumors that LeBron James plans to put together a super team to compete in the 2024 Olympics. If this turns out to be true, the King should save a position for the newest superstar on Team USA.