In a bit of a blow to the entertainment value of the FIBA World Championships taking place in Turkey this summer, Manu Ginobili announced through La Nacion that he will not be competing with Argentina’s national team in the Championships this year. According to Cronica Online (bring along your old pal Google Translate if you click the link), Ginobili’s reasoning involves both his newly christened extension with the Spurs and the expected birth of his twin daughters. Manu also noted that he’s sitting out this summer in anticipation of the 2011 Olympic qualifier and 2012 games (Links via Project Spurs).
Ginobili’s exclusion should trim the number of NBA players on the Argentine national team to four, as Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, and Fabricio Oberto are likely to play, along with a terrific group of non-NBA players, including the talented, pure point guard, Pablo Prigioni. Argentina is one of the most entertaining national teams to watch when they’re healthy, but losing Manu is going to hurt them big this summer.
In theory, guys like Scola and Delfino will move up the team hierarchy as they have in years past, and be relied on more heavily as scorers. That’s fine, as both of those players are well-suited for their roles on this team. The problem with Argentina — and the same can be said of a lot of national teams — is that they lack depth, and the player stepping into Delfino’s former role (and that player’s former role, and so on down the line) that’s likely to cost them against a talented team like Spain or America. Argentina should still be considered the favorite to win their preliminary group (which consists of Germany, Serbia, Australia, Angola, and Jordan), but this news definitely bumps the Argentine team out of the top tier.