FIBA laurels do not necessarily translate into NBA success

One of the players who excelled at the recent FIBA Men’s World Championships was Linas Kleiza [SF, 6-8, 245]. 

While leading Lithuania to the Bronze Medal, he was selected to the all-tournament team; and, after playing in the Euroleague last year – for Olympiakos – is scheduled to play for the Toronto Raptors during the upcoming NBA season.

Q1. Is the way Mr. Kleiza played in these World Championships how Raptors fans should expect to see him perform … with game averages of 19 pts, 7.1 rebs and 1.4 ast … once he dons his uniform for the dinos?

Hmmm …

A1. Probably not.

The list of individual players with the task of matching-up against Mr. Kleiza during the World Championships looks something like this:

GAME

OPPONENT

PRIMARY MATCH-UPS

1

New Zealand

Mika Vukona

Craig Bradshaw

2

Canada

Aaron Doornekamp

Levon Kendall

3

Spain

Rudy Fernandez

Jorge Garbajosa

4

France

Nicolas Batum

Boris Diaw

5

Lebanon

Fadi El-Khatib

Jackson Vrohman

6

China

Sun Yue

Yi Jianlian

7

Argentina

Hernan Jasen

Luis Scola

8

USA

Andre Iguodala

Kevin Durant

9

Serbia

Novica Velickovic

Marko Keselj

LEGEND:

 

- Poor positional skill-set

 

- Potentially threatening positional skill-set

 

- Solid positional skill-set

 

- Damaging positional skill-set

and indicates that the level of competition which he faced on a game-to-game basis was far below what he should expect see when he returns to the NBA this season, e.g. in terms of size, strength and explosive quickness, in conjunction with the ability to slash to the basket, shoot the ball from distance, play on the block, rebound and defend, at the Forward positions:

OPPONENT

PRIMARY INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS

MIAMI

James

Haslem

BOSTON

Pierce

Garnett

ORLANDO

Pietrus

Lewis

ATLANTA

Williams

Smith

MILWAUKEE

Salmons

LRMAM

CHARLOTTE

Wallace

Diaw

CHICAGO

Deng

Boozer

CLEVELAND

Moon

Jamison

TORONTO

INDIANA

Granger

Hansbrough

NEW YORK

Gallinari

Turiaf

DETROIT

Prince

Jerebko

PHILADELPHIA

Nocioni

Young

NEW JERSEY

Outlaw

Murphy

WASHINGTON

Thornton

McGee

LA LAKERS

Artest

Gasol

DALLAS

Marion

Nowitzki

PHOENIX

Hill

Turkoglu

DENVER

Anthony

Martin

UTAH

Miles

Kirilenko

PORTLAND

Batum

Aldridge

SAN ANTONIO

Jefferson

McDyess

OKLAHOMA CITY

Durant

Green

HOUSTON

Battier

Scola

MEMPHIS

Gay

Randolph

NEW ORLEANS

Ariza

West

LA CLIPPERS

Aminu

Griffin

GOLDEN STATE

Wright, D

Lee

SACRAMENTO

Casspi

Thompson

MINNESOTA

Brewer

Love

LEGEND:

 

- Poor positional skill-set

 

- Potentially threatening positional skill-set

 

- Solid positional skill-set

 

- Damaging positional skill-set

——-

At its fundamental core, NBA hoops is a game of individual match-ups and mis-matches, operating within the Team Concept, and the “games” of various specific players do not necessarily translate well – i.e. in terms of overall Offense, Defense and Rebounding – when shifting over from the environment which exists in FIBA competition.

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3 Responses to “FIBA laurels do not necessarily translate into NBA success”

  1. Brain Colangelo Says:

    Welcome back.

    Have you read Bill Simmons’ book on basketball?

    Your friend,
    -Brain

  2. khandor Says:

    Brain,

    Thanks. :-)

    No, I haven’t read Bill Simmons’ book yet.

  3. Statophile, Volume 5 | Slam Dunking Says:

    [...] get over the “but he had such a great FIFA tournament” comments. My view was similar to this – when you score against weak competition, it doesn’t mean much. Play against very weak [...]

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