Australia’s men’s basketball head coach Brett Brown has weighed in on the Boomers’ selection in Group A for the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Australia was drawn in Group A alongside Athens Gold Medallists Argentina and re-emerging European powerhouse Serbia as well as Germany, Angola and Jordan.
Brown told Basketball Australia today that he regarded each of the pools as equal in talent and that last night’s draw in Istanbul was the starting point for a new period of preparation for the Boomers’ coaching staff.
“I don’t know if happy is the word,” Brown said. “Each of the pools has different positives and negatives and overall the draw just gives you more clarity on how to prepare.”
Brown went on to assess Australia’s World Championship opposition as follows:
“A lot of their players I know just from my experience here in the NBA. You know their team is stacked with NBA talent and it reeks of a very veteran and mature team that has gone through a lot of experiences on the international stage together for some time now. I know Spain has recently emerged as the team outside the United States to be at the forefront, but you can never underestimate a team with Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni in it. You’re not going to get a more formidable starting five than the experience they have in that team that they can roll out. I know a lot about Argentina and it all amounts to a tremendous amount of respect,” Brown said.
“We know a fair bit about Serbia because their coach [Dusan Ivkovic] is a very good friend of [San Antonio Spurs Head Coach] Coach Popovich’s and he has visited us in San Antonio for the past few years on a repetitive basis to spend time with our staff. Coach Ivkovic is a European coaching legend and that country, when it started to be on the decline from the level that they had been used to, reached out to him and really sought his advice on how to fix it. A year and a half ago they opted to go with youth and with people that truly wanted to be there, they were not influenced by NBA resumes, and they streamlined their approach with a youthful team that really had a passion for being part of the world stage again. They have rebuilt their program and their result over in Europe recently [2nd in European Championship] confirms that their decision was an accurate one and an intelligent one. He’s a hell of a coach that has put together that program they’re on the up and up. To have achieved that success in Europe with a very, very young group in the infant stages of a new philosophy is extremely impressive, so you have to expect that team to continue to get better,” Brown said.
“Any team that has an NBA MVP on the floor is dangerous and Dirk Nowitzki is as difficult a player to guard as we face here in the NBA. I put him in the same category as a Kobe Bryant or a LeBron James; he’s a very unusual defensive assignment because of his seven foot frame and his skill package that goes along with it, highlighted by his shooting ability which really is remarkable for a man of his size. And when you have somebody who is that good it tends to do a few things; it’s a weapon for an up and coming country obviously but it produces a confidence level amongst the other players when that type of a teammate is on the floor, so they are extremely dangerous because they are good in their own right and then you add Dirk. It really changes the landscape when somebody of that talent can come into the group,” Brown said.
“They are always dangerous, always somebody that you can’t take your eye off, always somebody that’s extremely athletic, that can score in the blink of an eye. History says you can’t overlook them; they had a massive win against Australia years ago and that type of situation is one that at all costs you want to try to avoid,” Brown said.
“I don’t really know much about them at this stage. During my experience with the Boomers in Atlanta and Sydney or even at the World Championship in Greece in 1998 I have never come across that team and we’re going to start to do our homework on them now. Obviously the fact that they are in the tournament suggests that they can’t be taken for granted and we’re going to have to do our homework and study them to see what their style of play is,” Brown said.
Images courtesy of Kangaroo Photos and FIBA.com