In the head of Sergio Scariolo these days accumulate concerns, caught for the first time between his responsibility as Spanish coach and assistant Raptors in the NBA. The Italian, happy for the classification of the Canadian franchise for the final of the conference East, tries to somatize in the best way the most probable low of Pau Gasol for the World Cup. An absence that is not one more, because the Catalan was called to be the leader of the wardrobe after the retirement of Navarro. Giant hole to which Scariolo is already looking for a solution.
Although Pau's injury is not serious, the truth is that the recovery periods in a disease of that type are long and would barely leave him time for the set-up before traveling to China with the selection. Therefore, everything indicates that he will not be part of the national team that plays the World Cup. This is what common sense dictates, but in the Federation (FEB) they refuse to accept an absence as important as that of the Catalan center. «We will give you your time and, when the time comes, we will see if it is available or not. We can not dismiss him so soon, "they explain to ABC sources close to the board.
Mirotic or Ibaka
The moderate optimism of the offices of the FEB contrasts with the pragmatism of the national coach, who in his most intimate circles already works with the more than certain possibility that Pau Gasol will not play the World Cup in China in September. The main debate that reopens the absence of Catalan is the choice between Ibaka and Mirotic, the two nationalized of the selection, since by regulation Scariolo can only count on one of them. The good news for the coach is that his game is very different and that opens a range of tactical possibilities that mitigate, in part, the loss of Pau Gasol.
Apriori, Mirotic was the most likely. His presence in the last calls and his greater integration in the group placed him one step ahead. In addition, his good season as sixth man in the Pelicans and then in the Bucks was his best endorsement, since in the national team he was going to play a similar role. Pau's injury has changed the landscape and it seems that Ibaka could have won the whole by his defensive side. Without Gasol, a hole is opened in the area and there the Congolese can play a leading role. His closeness to Scariolo, with whom he has shared a season in the Raptors, places him closer than ever to the return to the national team.
The FIBA windows have been a good showcase for many players, but most of those who have claimed responsibility have done so in outer positions. Inside, few have drawn the attention of the coach, who can not find a replacement for Pau in that team that qualified for the World Cup.
For that reason, the figure of Víctor Claver takes on new relevance, since his versatility could help cover the gap left by the Barcelona center. The versatility of the azulgrana, which is curdling a good season, is key, since it can act as pivot and also as a high forward, position in which Spain does not have great specialists either. An essential piece in the new puzzle that Scariolo wants to put together.
Three issues in the air
An almost certain absence:
-Pau Gasol, recently operated, it seems very difficult that he can arrive in time to play the World Cup. Its low opens a hole in the paint
Four fixed centers for China 2019:
-Marc Gasol: He will be the leader. A player capable of propelling the team from inside and outside the court
-Willy Hernangómez: Marc's squire. He must take a step forward in the national team after a difficult year in Charlotte
-Juancho Hernangómez: He will fight to be a starter with Marc Gasol and leave behind his irregularity
-Pierre Oriola: A replacement of guarantees. The azulgrana contributes a lot in defense and offensive rebound
Two nationalized to choose one:
-Serge Ibaka: His role is more defensive, although he has greatly improved the outer throw
-Nikola Mirotic: He has more than fulfilled as sixth man in the NBA. It has great technical quality. (TagsToTranslate) scariolo (t) absence