Dillon Brooks, RJ Barrett reflect on Spain's star players, FIBA experience

2023-09-02 10:14

Before Canada takes on Spain, Dillon Brooks and RJ Barrett talked about some of La Roja's players and assets that they will need to neutralize in order to bring down the reigning world champs.

Credit: FIBA

Canada will have to overcome Spain's obstacle to make the World Cup quarter-finals following their loss to Brazil. It's a do-or-die game that will decide the team's fate in the tournament.

For two of the squad's star players, Dillon Brooks and RJ Barrett, there are certain challenges that Canada will have to deal with when facing the reigning world champs. 

"We have our back against the wall. We got a lot of guys who've been through playoffs and played this kind of games," Brooks observed talking to reporters on the eve of the game.

The Rockets swingman thinks that the loss to Brazil has put Canada in a position to win or go home early, before the tournament heads to Manila for its final stage. 

"We're all disappointed," he admitted. "We got to get the hard way, which is fine with us."

RJ Barrett pointed out that one setback can't take the squad's self-confidence away. Still, Canada will have to stay consistent throughout the game's duration to stand a chance against Spain. In most cases, they would go off on the wrong foot and gear up after the 15-minute mark. 

"We're very confident," Barrett said. "We have another chance to get the job done and move on to Manila. We've shown that we can play with anybody and beat anybody. We got to play the full 40 minutes of basketball. We haven't really done that in a lot of these games," the third pick in the 2019 NBA Draft said.

Brooks wants to see Canada get some stops and run the court against an opponent, which he called "a great defensive team."

"They play physical and force you to make extra passes. Spain are unselfish, they share the ball and have been playing with each other for a long time. They're also a pretty big team, so we have to go to the defensive rebound," he analyzed.

RJ Barrett believes Spain are "a good team in general," so Canada needs to be able to guard their opponents for 40 minutes. However, the Knicks star thinks that La Roja's biggest asset is their experience.

"EuroLeague champs, whatever," he said. "It's going to be a big game. They have experience and guys that have been playing in FIBA basketball basically their whole lives. So, we're going up against that."

On the other hand, Brooks went into more detail about the players requiring special attention from Team Canada. Having faced the Hernangomez brothers in the NBA, he knows what they're capable of. Willy was the 2022 EuroBasket MVP, while Juancho was the final game's MVP. 

"Juancho is a really good player," Brooks argued. "Willy is a very good player also. Both of those guys are good at offensive rebounds and create a lot of mismatches for opposing teams. We have to match their physicality and play harder than them."


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