Updated: August 30, 2010, 4:53 PM ET

Sizing Up Brazil

By Alfredo Berrios

Coach: Ruben Magnano

Key players: Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejao

Analysis: If there's one team that could be seen as a solid favorite in this tournament, it's Brazil.

The team earned a gold medal in the FIBA Americas championship of 2009 and returns intact; Nene Hilario, one of the most powerful centers in the NBA and in the hemisphere, was added to the team but will miss the event because of an injury suffered during a friendly game in Spain.

Even with the talent displayed by Marcelinho Huertas, Leandro Barbosa and Splitter, Varejao is still the key to this team, no matter which way we look at it. In his participation in a recent friendly tournament in Logroño, Spain, Varejao's defense was the factor that kept Brazil in the game after the absence of Nene and Splitter.

In the highly physical international play, there may be no one better than the Cleveland Cavaliers power forward to keep a team together and provide scoring opportunities for Splitter and Barbosa.

Click here to read previews on all 24 teams.

Team USA Runs Past Slovenia

What To Watch For At Worlds

By Henry Abbott

Meet Timofey Mozgov, Omer Asik, Semih Erden and Tiago Splitter

As Jay Aych points out on The Painted Area, those first three are the "international big men of mystery" and they'll all be coming to the NBA this upcoming this season. Mozgov is on the Russian team for the next moth or so, then he'll be a Knick. Asik and Erden play for the host Turks. Asik will be a Bull and Erden will be in Celtic green.

Splitter, meanwhile, is better known, and is due to play alongside Tim Duncan in San Antonio. Aych writes that Splitter will be Brazil's featured interior player: " Tiago's deft footwork gets him quality looks around the bucket. Has an effective righty hook and Tiago can finish with his left hand as well. Expect a few sweet up/under step-thru moves as well. Tiago's touch can be dodgy but it seems to be more hit than miss these days. Sometimes his post-up attempts look fluid, other times his scoring attempts look ragged. His shooting stroke is still not easy on the eyes and his touch remains his main flaw. His shot comes off flat which is a factor in below-average free throw shooting. We have mentioned Splitter's strong passing skills before but we feel it's necessary to reiterate what a terrific passer he has become. Not to mention, Tiago can make passes off the move and delivers the ball quickly when he sees an open teammate. His lateral movement on the defensive end is as good as any big in the NBA. Not to mention, he runs the floor hard."

Will they be impact players in the NBA? This tournament is as good a chance as any to make up your mind.

Check out Abbott's nine other things to look out for in Turkey.


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