Denver Nuggets assistant GM provides insights from Spain

Arturas Karnisovas is part of USA Basketball staff at FIBA World Cup

As a longtime member of the Lithuanian national team, Denver Nuggets assistant general manager Arturas Karnisovas owns two Olympic bronze medals (1992 and 1996) and a silver medal from the 1995 European Championships.

Karnisovas, entering his second season in Denver’s front office, is providing his knowledge and experience as the international player personnel scout for USA Basketball.

Team USA, which also features Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, opens play at the 2014 FIBA World Cup on Saturday against Finland in Balbao, Spain.

Karnisovas has kindly agreed to share his insight and observations during the tournament.

Hola, amigos:

It’s wonderful to be back in Spain. There are so many good memories for me here. The biggest one, of course, is the emotional victory over the Unified Team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. We captured the bronze medal and made our country proud shortly after re-gaining independence from the former Soviet Union.

I later had some success playing professionally for FC Barcelona, so I always enjoy coming back. The people are as warm as the weather, and food and wine are excellent.

Even though I remain a proud Lithuanian, it’s an honor to be part of USA Basketball. I joined the organization in 2013, and it is truly a privilege to be around so many great players, coaches and scouts.

We arrived in Spain early Sunday morning and went right to work Monday. The travel can be tough, but the time we’ve spent together on buses and airplanes and in team meetings has helped build familiarity and closeness within our group.

The fans here have been unbelievable. The biggest surprise for me was hearing that our final exhibition game in Gran Canaria against Slovenia sold out in one hour! The fans have treated us very well.

We should probably enjoy the hospitality. It might change if we run into Spain later in the tournament.

Adios for now.