The FIBA World Cup, which is basketball’s version of the FIFA World Cup, starts August 30. The United States and Spain are the top two teams going into this event and while I’m sure most fans of the Memphis Grizzlies will be rooting for the United States to bring home the World Cup title, I actually think that Grizzlies fans should probably be rooting for Marc Gasol and Spain to win it all instead.
This has nothing to do with Grizzlies fans showing loyalty to Marc Gasol, but instead has to do with the potential positive impact that a World Cup title would have on Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies heading into the 2014-15 NBA season. With the Grizzlies as a dark horse to win the 2014-15 NBA championship, they need all the help and positive boosts they can get. A FIBA World Cup championship for Spain would certainly give Marc Gasol a positive boost as he heads into the upcoming NBA season which logically implies that it would also give the Grizzlies a positive boost as well.
Whether or not Spain winning a World Cup title directly translates into a Grizzlies NBA championship is neither here nor there. What matters is whether or not it will help the Grizzlies accomplish the task of winning an NBA championship and I think it’s hard to say that it won’t since it will certainly help Marc Gasol. There are three key ways in which it will help Marc Gasol. It will give him confidence to compete against the league’s best players, it will make him happy, and it will give him the feeling of winning a championship.
Marc Gasol is undoubtedly one of the best big men in the NBA and he doesn’t need a FIBA World Cup title to tell him that. But there are questions about whether or not the Grizzlies can win a championship with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph as its core with other teams having Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James. If Gasol can be on a team that beats some of those guys, it will give him confidence that come playoff time, he can beat them once again.
As for Gasol being happy, this sounds kind of silly , but the reality is that if he’s happier he’ll play better which means more wins for the Grizzlies. Gasol has tremendous pride in his country and I don’t doubt for one second that he would love to win this championship for his country especially with the tournament being played in Spain. Waiving the Spanish flag, lifting the trophy, and hearing the Spanish national anthem being played in his home country will give him all sorts of good vibrations that will make him a very happy man and a much more happy and confident basketball player. Just think of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and imagine Marc Gasol dancing to it. What Grizzlies fan wouldn’t want to see that?
Finally, the feeling of winning a championship could do wonders for Marc Gasol going into the playoffs next season. While it is no NBA championship, a FIBA World Cup championship is still a championship. JA Adande once said on ESPN’s Around The Horn “In order to win tournaments you have to win tournaments” and likewise with basketball in order to win championships, you have to win championships. If Gasol wants to win an NBA championship, he has to win a championship, and what better place for him to win a championship than his home country of Spain?
The bottom line is that I see a lot of good things potentially happening for Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies if Spain wins the FIBA World Cup. I really think the Grizzlies are a lot closer to winning a championship than people think, and I personally think that if Marc Gasol is 5% better as a result of winning a World Cup title, that could be enough of a difference to get the Grizzlies their first NBA championship.