Focus, preparation key as Team USA begins play at 2014 FIBA World Cup

Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas checks in from Spain

Hello again from Spain:

Game day. Finally. Everyone is excited to get started on our quest for Spanish gold.

As we open the 2014 FIBA World Cup against Finland, I think the coaches would like to see more of what we saw during our four-game exhibition schedule. We liked how hard our guys played, how they shared the ball and how they took pride in playing for the USA.

Playing those “friendly games” also helped the players get familiar with the international rules and adjust to the officiating crews. FIBA referees tend to have a different interpretation of a foul or a traveling violation than NBA officials. We saw that in the exhibition games and it will only increase over the next two weeks.

Finally, our players have to be mentally ready to play five games in six days – something they never do during the NBA season. Our depth should help us avoid fatigue, but our focus and preparation are crucial.

Without giving away any secrets, it’s safe to say the game plan each day will emphasize execution at both ends of the floor better; hustling after loose balls; sharing the ball; and playing hard.

If we follow that formula, it gives us a great chance to bring home the gold.

Go USA!

Arturas

A longtime member of the Lithuanian national team, Karnisovas won Olympic bronze medals in 1992 and 1996 and captured silver at the 1995 European Championships. He is entering his second season as the assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets.