Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas checks in as Team USA prepares for World Cup knockout round
Greetings from beautiful Spain:
After a great week in Bilbao, we’re ready to get back to work in Barcelona. We didn’t have much time to exhale after going 5-0 in Group C at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. We flew to Barcelona after our final game against Ukraine and went right to work preparing for our first game of the knockout round against Mexico.
Although Mexico finished fourth in Group D, they were very close in the three games they lost to Lithuania, Slovenia and Australia. They have some quick guards who shoot 3s and can create shots for others. On the inside, they have last year’s FIBA Americas MVP Gustavo Ayon. Overall, Mexico is a very solid opponent.
I think we’re pretty well-rested considering we played three games in three days. Our top guys average about 20 minutes per game, so that helped us avoid fatigue. We’re also in a good place mentally. I think the players are only focused on our game against Mexico. They know that one slip-up could mean a trip home without a medal.
Even though we won all our games by double figures, there is plenty of room for improvement. We haven’t shot the well but are still scoring 102 points per game, so that’s encouraging. The elimination round will have a playoff feel to it. Every possession, free throw, rebound and shot counts. Every little detail will help us achieve our gold-medal goal."
Historically, Barcelona has been a great place for me personally. I won a bronze medal with the Lithuanian national team here in 1992, and I was part of three Spanish League championship teams here in 1996, 1997 and 2001. So many good memories here in a city that has a lot to offer.
Hoping for the best. Go USA!
A longtime member of the Lithuanian national team, Arturas Karnisovas won Olympic bronze medals in 1992 and 1996 and captured silver at the 1995 European Championships. He joined USA Basketball as the international player personnel scout in 2013 and is entering his second season as the assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets.