Canada 0-4 at Tuto Marchand Cup Entering FIBA Americas…Time to Panic?

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Jay Triano & Team Canada in the huddle | Courtesy: Canada Basketball

Jay Triano & Team Canada in the huddle | Courtesy: Canada Basketball

If you’re a Canadian basketball fan, is it time to panic?

At the Tuto Mach Cup in Puerto Rico, Canada ended with a 0-4 record, with losses to Puerto Rico (78-71), Argentina (83-74) Dominican Republic (74-68) and Brazil (77-70). In these defeats, Canada was playing catch up and never really had strong control of any games.

This exhibition tournament is positioned as a warm up, prior to the FIBA Americas in Venezuela tipping off today, where the team will attempt to qualify for the World championships next summer. For Canada, the team selection process was still in progress, up until their final game at Tuto Marchand.

With all this being said, there is enough talent among the crop to have picked up at least a couple victories in Puerto Rico.

So What’s the problem?

Chemistry.

Chemistry

Canada has looked lost on both ends of the floor throughout the tournament. Defensively, we have struggled to man the three-point line, and teams with bigs that can shoot from behind the arch make it more challenging, as it draws our post to the perimeter. (Luis Scola 25 points, 5/6 3p)

Offensively, we have settled for three-point shots without ball rotation and making the defence work. We must show discipline on both ends if we are to compete internationally, as there is little room for error against teams that execute with precision.

Our best weapon has been Andrew Nicholson, inside and out. Without strong chemistry, Canada will need to lean on talent, and Nicholson who has been leading the attack thus far (team-high 15 PPG), will need to be maximized with more touches throughout the game, as he is also shooting with great efficiency.

Tristan Thompson possesses the confidence, and has shown glimpses of his growth on the offensive end by finishing on interior, making some jump shots, and of course outworking the opposition. Thompson has been second leading scorer at 13 PPG and is a viable second option.

 

Missing Fire Power

Lets face it, this is not the true version of Team Canada with missing pieces including Andrew Wiggins. Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk, Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis to name a few. However, this cannot be used an excuse as opposing teams have also been without all their best (NBA) talent.

 

Preparation

The coaching staff has been put in a tough position to select 12 players, implement a system and build continuity with less than a month of preparation. The result is growing pains that we are seeing now, as mentioned previously with lack of chemistry.

Teams around the world (with maybe exception of US) prepare all year round witn….???

At this point, Canada will continue to learn on the fly, with hopes of having strong contributions across the board to lift them over the hump.

 

FIBA America, World Qualifier

Entering August, I did not expect Canada to struggle the way they have. The team has lost four straight, and although exhibition games, it will certainly effect the confidence of the team. Jay Triano and co. are now faced with the challenge of having Canada prepared both mentally and strategically.

Some are of the mindset that the coaching staff has been mixing and matching line ups, more concerned with finding the right combination of players for FIBA’s, as opposed to picking up exhibition victories.

Fair enough.

But if this is the case, then it should work hand in hand, with the correct mixture of talent leading to wins. That has not yet happened, and as a result, leading me to believe we are not truly ready for the competition that lies ahead.

The first game matches up the Canucks against Jamaica to open the FIBA Americas—a team that Canada has beaten twice already this summer, both on home turf. Don’t underestimate…this will be a hungry Jamaica team out for blood.

At the end of this tournament, the top four teams will move forward to qualify for the FIBA World Championships next summer in Spain.

If Canada does not qualify, it would be a disappointment when you take into consideration the amount of talent on this team—despite missing some of our ‘top dogs.’

There are many question marks with Canada, which leaves us with an open door of expectation for this tournament.

If you’re a Canadian basketball fan, is it time to panic?

Not just yet.

However, one thing is for sure…questions will be answered within the next 10 days.

Let the games begin.

 

FIBA Americas Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET) Result
Friday, August 30 Jamaica 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, August 31 Puerto Rico 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 1 Brazil 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, September 3 Uruguay 2:00 p.m.

 

 

 

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