Wizards fan favorite Tomas Satoransky has had an absolutely unbelievable run with the Czech Republic men’s national basketball team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
If anyone told you just two weeks ago that Ronen Ginzburg (the first in-depth piece on Ginzburg anywhere appeared here on Bullets Forever) and the Czech team would finish ahead of Gregg Popovich and Team USA you would probably dismiss them as crazy. Well, the Czech team will finish ahead of the USA team after an impressive win 94-84 over Poland yesterday coupled with the USA’s embarassing loss to Serbia 89-94 (after trailing 7-32 (!!) after 10 minutes of play).
Satoransky has led a star-less team missing some of its key players (Jan Vesely and Blake Schilb) all the way to the quarterfinals and on multiple occasions was on the verge of a triple-double - a feat that has never been done in modern era in the FIBA WC. For instance, in the quarter-final against Australia Sato had a stat line of 13-13-9 only one rebound short, and in the previous game against Greece a similar 13-13-8 line. Against Poland he had 22-12-4.
Overall Sato’s been shooting lights out from downtown at about 45 percent and a fantastic 89 percent from the line for about 16 points/game. He is also the tournament leader in assists with 62 assists with no one even close (Campazzo from Argentina has 48).
Satoransky has been absolutely impressive and one can see he has developed a few more plays this off-season, including some shots off the dribble and even a sort of a step-back jumper.
He is currently close in the running for the 2019 FIBA World Cup MVP along with Bogdan Bogdanovich of the Sacramento Kings. However, Bogdanovich’s great play hasn’t quite translated to his own team success as Serbia was considered a favorite for a medal and has now ended in the 5-6 spot.
On the other hand, the Czech team was projected to finish in the 17-24 range and has over-performed in a Cinderella story that has not been seen in years in the World Cup. In fact, on Saturday the two front-runners will face each other in a match for the fifth spot.
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