Here is Team Finland for FIBA World Cup 2014:
- Petteri Koponen (PG) is the star of the Finnish team. He plays professionally for Khimki Moscow. Koponen is a 6'4 pg with great shooting skills and ability to attack the rim. Absolutely should be in the NBA.
- Sasu Salin (SG) is a shooting guard who has range, quickness and is a terrific man-to-man defender. Can attack the rim. A bit undersized. Plays for Ljubljana in Slovenia. Great energy player.
- Shawn Huff (SF) is a athletic small forward who can also shoot it from long range. Plays professionally in Germany. Sometimes tends to disappear a bit.
- Gerald Lee Jr. (PF) might be the best low post player in the Finnish team. He has showed a wide array of different low post moves and has nice touch close to the basket. Plays pro ball in Romania.
- Erik Murphy (C) just joined the team this summer and has been a welcome addition. He also can shoot it from outside and has decent post game. Currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Tuukka Kotti (PF) is another big in the Finnish team. He has some limitations to his offensive game but still can surprise many with his athletism.
- Teemu Rannikko (PG) and Mikko Koivisto (SG) are both lethal three point shooters. Teemu Rannikko is an experienced point guard with great passing skills, but he is lacking athletism. Koivisto is an undersized SG that is basically just a three point shooter - but a great one.
- Hanno Möttölä (PF) is the grand old man of the team. Played two seasons for the Hawks a long time ago. At 37 years of age, he doesn't have some much left but still can give you a few good minutes on the court. Can shoot the three.
- Kimmo Muurinen (PF) is your typical hustle player, a skinnier Finnish version of Faried. Can hit the jump shot and goes after every rebound. Energy player.
- Antero Lehto (PG) was voted player of the year in Finnish league last season. Probably won't play much but usually when he is on the court, he tends to deliver. He is a scoring point guard.
- Matti Nuutinen (SF) won't be playing much. Average SF.
Team is coached by Henrik Dettmann, a Finnish native who coached Germany to bronze in World Championships in 2001. Finnish team won't overpower any other team with size or skilled big men, so they shoot a lot of threes - a lot. When they don't make their outside shots, the team is in trouble. When they do, they can surprise anyone. They did just that in Eurobasket last year, as they beat three of the top7 ranked teams in the world (Russia, Turkey and Greece). Defensively, Finland is known to be very aggressive.
As for the preparation games this year, to be fair, all those games have been more or less close (without one blowout loss to Australia). Finland lead the final preparation game vs France in Strasbourg by double digits with just couple of minutes remaining, before collapsing completely and France took the final minutes 17-2 and won the game. Keep in mind that France is a defending European champion, even though they are missing some key players this year. Even though Finland lost a lot of preparation games this summer, you have to remember they played against very tough competition: Lithuania, Australia and France - all among the better teams in the World Cup. Even if they lost some games, still Finland has proved in Eurobasket 2013 and Eurobasket 2015 that on a good day they can potentially beat any team in the world - apart from maybe USA and Spain - just ask Turkey, Greece, Russia or Slovenia. There are about 8000-10000 loud Finnish fans making the trip to Spain so all Finnish games will be almost like home games for the team. Maybe all these fans will help them shock even more basketball powerhouses, even Team USA next Saturday? OK realistically maybe not but one can dream right?