FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha 2020: One question for the top teams
DOHA (Qatar) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour is back and the best players and teams in the world are coming to Doha. We take a closer look at each top contender and what questions they need to answer ahead of the Masters.
Can Liman avenge last year’s second-place finish in Doha?
After three 2020 World Tour events, Liman, the number one team is the FIBA 3x3 Team Rankings, dominated their opponents once again, winning the Debrecen and Europe Masters. Stefan Stojacic aka 'Mr. Robot' was playing again like the best player in the world, and with Novi Sad not participating in this tournament, Liman are the clear favorites. Not to be outdone, Stefan Kojic, the Europe Masters MVP, comes into the tournament as the highest-ranked individual player in the field. Following last year’s final loss in Doha, will Liman roll through the field on their way to a rematch with Lasmanis and Riga?
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Can they repeat in Doha?
Since winning at the Doha Masters in 2019, Karlis Lasmanis, Nauris Miezis, and their Riga teammates have been one of the best teams on the World Tour. The offensive juggernaut is second in PPG (19.9), boasting three of four most prolific World Tour scorers so far, earning enough confidence to take on anyone. With Liman in their view, Lasmanis, aka ‘Batman’, is laser-focused on helping the team take over as the number one team on the World Tour 2020. Can they defend their Doha title and jump Novi Sad in the standings?
Can they win without Brutus and King?
NY Harlem come with a never-seen before roster to Doha. Missing: their top shooter (Kidani Brutus, Achilles injury) and their best offensive weapon in Debrecen (Joey King, unavailable). Both were key players in Lausanne last year when the New Yorkers won their one and only Masters title. 'Super Dave' David Seagers and World Tour rookie Egzon Gjonbalaj will have to step up their game for NY Harlem to be a contender in Qatar. But don't sleep on the 4th team in the standings just yet, still featuring one of the best defenders in the game Marcel Esonwune and last year's World Tour regular season MVP, 'Disco Domo' Jones.
Can they shake off the rust?
It’s been over a calendar year since Princeton has played in a competitive 3x3 game, which begs the question, are they ready? Kareem Maddox, the 3rd ranked American, recently mentioned that the team is going to have to try and get their groove back on the fly. While everyone has been working out individually, there is no game quite as intense as 3x3. The American team was on fire to end the 2019 World Tour season, winning their first Masters in Los Angeles, and then finishing second at the Utsunomiya Final. Will we see a return to form or will it take a while to shake off the rust, especially without their top player Robbie Hummel?
Is there any team more intriguing than Utena Uniclub?
Utena Uniclub (LTU) comes into the Doha Masters as the 12th ranked team, yet they feel like one of the favorites. After winning the Hoptrans 3x3 Final, they proved that they belong amongst the best 3x3 teams in Lithuania. When they finished second at the Debrecen Masters, they showed they can compete with the best in the world. After playing in just one 3x3 World Tour event, Utena ranks as the number 9 team in the 2020 World Tour standings, and Ignas Vaitkus was named a member of the Team of the World Tour. We look forward to seeing if Utena’s World Tour success is a fluke or the beginnings of something special.
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