Don't underestimate Kemba, Middleton and Team USA's 'C-team', warns Demond Greene

By Sports Desk August 29, 2019

Team USA still pose a threat at the FIBA World Cup even if Kemba Walker rather than LeBron James is their star man, says former Germany star Demond Greene.

Defending champions the United States, who have five titles to their name, have seen several world superstars such as James pull out of contention for the tournament that starts on Saturday.

But Greene, who played at two World Cups, famously blocking Dwyane Wade in 2006, acknowledges players such as Walker and Khris Middleton could still have a huge impact on the finals.

"It's not their 'A-team'. I would not even say it's their 'B-team'," Greene told Omnisport. "It's a mix between 'B' and 'C-team'. Despite this, they are still dangerous."

Greene added: "You must never underestimate them. [The players] are still playing in the NBA.

"They've got players who average 20 points per game like Kemba Walker. They are All-Stars and leaders in their teams which proves that they are high quality players.

"The problem is that we are spoiled from the previous years, when players like James Harden, Kevin Durant or LeBron James played.

"Now you have players like Khris Middleton, who many won't even know. You have to be a basketball expert to know Khris Middleton, maybe even Kemba Walker.

"That's the problem, that many look at who's not in the team, rather than who is."

Greece are another potential contender due to the presence of Middleton's Milwaukee Bucks team-mate and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Greene believes they can be successful but says the team's big European stars must get used to playing second fiddle to Antetokounmpo, who will dominate the narrative.

"The important thing is that all players understand their role," Greene said. "The years in which Giannis didn't play, all the players had another role.

"He is the top star on and off the court. When there are press conferences, there are going to be 50 cameras around him and the other players will get what is left. You have to handle this.

"They have to understand that even if they play a totally different role in Europe and are top stars here, like Nick Calathes at Panathinaikos. He is a team leader there and also still for Greece. He may even be the heart of the team.

"They all have to cope with that. If this works out, then they can get very, very far with Giannis as their power machine.

"But it all has to work out internally and they will have to let him walk in front and let him be the leader with Calathes at his side.

"Then they can be a very dangerous side, especially in defense. Offensively, they are not that strong, but in terms of defense, they can really hurt other teams."

Related items

  • I'm not impressed with his free throws! - Hawks coach Pierce wants more from Young I'm not impressed with his free throws! - Hawks coach Pierce wants more from Young

    Trae Young made history in the Atlanta Hawks' 125-121 victory over the Denver Nuggets, but coach Lloyd Pierce was quick to remind him he can improve.

    The Hawks guard became the youngest player to register at least 30 points and 10 assists in three straight games with a sensational display at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

    Young poured in a season-high 42 points on 13-of-21 shooting – the highlight being a successful jump shot after sending the ball through Will Barton's legs – and supplied 11 assists as Atlanta ended a three-game losing streak.

    However, Pierce made sure to highlight one of Young's shortcomings in his post-game news conference.

    "I'm not impressed with his free throws," said Pierce. "He went 8-for-11, he's got to go 11-for-11.

    "He missed two the other night, he missed three tonight. There's always something. Everyone else can praise him but I've got to stay on him.

    "But, no, he was great. The three-ball was rolling. We had 30 assists on 44 made baskets which is an impressive number for us, that's been one of the areas we haven't capitalised on this year.

    "Obviously, the three-ball went down tonight and we needed that. [Young is] great in the pick and roll. You have to scheme and we found something that we were able to attack."

    The Hawks fought back from 12-0 down in the first quarter and Young was proud to have played a key role in the victory.

    "I'm having a lot of fun. My shots are going in right now and hopefully that continues to happen. I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to help our team win and put us in the best position to win," Young told FOX Sports.

    "We gutted one out. We actually finished the game. It's tough seeing Kev [Kevin Huerter] go out early – he had a hot start. It's a great team win, especially against a good team on the road.

    "We're a resilient team, no matter how far we're down or how far we're up, we're going to keep fighting. I'm happy with the way we played and the way we finished it off."

  • LeBron holds up Davis as an example for Lakers to follow LeBron holds up Davis as an example for Lakers to follow

    LeBron James held up the "grit" Anthony Davis is showing by playing through injuries as an example for every member of the Los Angeles Lakers to follow.

    Davis had strapping on his right shoulder prior to the start of a 123-115 win over the Phoenix Suns and had tape on his ribs by the end of the match at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday.

    The six-time NBA All-Star played on after a blow to the ribs in the first quarter, before heading to the locker room to get taped up ahead of the final period.

    X-rays taken after the game came back negative and Davis will be evaluated again ahead of Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

    "He wants to play. He wants to play, and we just have to pick it up," James said of Davis, who has been playing through a shoulder issue.

    "For him, when he's showing that grit when he's playing with injuries, there's no reason for any of us not to be out there as well. He's been showing everything."

    Davis returned to the game with eight minutes, 41 seconds remaining and finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers bounced back from a 113-104 defeat to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

    "I took a shot – not sure on what play or when it was – and I just wanted to get it taped up, wrapped up," said Davis.

    "It was kinda bothering me a little bit so I just got it taped up, wrapped up to keep it secure or whatever. I just decided to get back on the floor as soon as possible.

    "I just want to play. Like I said, it's tough for me to lead from the sideline.

    "The more I can be on the floor to help this team win, that's what I try to do. I know what our goal is, I know what we're trying to do. So the more I can try to stay on the floor, the more steps we move toward our goal."

    Asked if he will be able to play against the Warriors, Davis added: "We'll see how the shoulder and the ribs feel tomorrow when I get up and we'll go from there."

  • Lakers bounce back, Young stars for Hawks Lakers bounce back, Young stars for Hawks

    The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back to winning ways in the NBA, while Trae Young led the Atlanta Hawks to victory on Tuesday.

    Coming off a loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Lakers responded by beating the Phoenix Suns 123-115.

    Anthony Davis (24 points and 12 rebounds) and LeBron James (19 points and 11 assists) had double-doubles for the Lakers (8-2).

    The Lakers are top of the Western Conference ahead of two teams on four-game winning streaks – the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.

    Young, 21, starred to help the Hawks past the Denver Nuggets 125-121.

    The guard had 42 points – going eight-of-13 from three-point range – and 11 assists to continue his brilliant start to the season.

    Embiid lifts 76ers as Butler shines

    Joel Embiid had a double-double of 27 points and 16 rebounds in the Philadelphia 76ers' 98-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The Miami Heat were too strong for the Detroit Pistons 117-108 as Jimmy Butler contributed 20 points and 13 assists.

    The Jazz continued their winning run, getting past the Brooklyn Nets 119-114 thanks to 30 points from Donovan Mitchell.

     

    Terrible Thunder

    The Oklahoma City Thunder were thrashed by the Indiana Pacers 111-85.

     

    Wonderful White

    Coby White set a Chicago Bulls record for most threes in a quarter by hitting seven in the fourth in a 120-102 win over the New York Knicks.

    Tuesday's results

    Indiana Pacers 111-85 Oklahoma City Thunder
    Philadelphia 76ers 98-97 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Miami Heat 117-108 Detroit Pistons
    Chicago Bulls 120-102 New York Knicks
    Atlanta Hawks 125-121 Denver Nuggets
    Los Angeles Lakers 123-115 Phoenix Suns
    Utah Jazz 119-114 Brooklyn Nets
    Sacramento Kings 107-99 Portland Trail Blazers

     

    Clippers at Rockets

    All eyes will be on the Toyota Center as two contenders, the Houston Rockets (7-3) and Los Angeles Clippers (7-3), meet.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.