The Summer Olympics are here, which thank goodness because I was not ready to watch anymore innings of baseball or politics coverage. Basketball is back! Sorta!
Somehow, the Mavericks have three players competing in the games this month and none of them are named Dirk Nowitzki. Since Team USA is expected to steamroll the competition, here's what to watch for each of the three national teams that sport Mavs players.
Mavs player: Nicolas Brussino, who may or may not be just a training camp body.
Why to watch other than Mavs ties: Because you're a HARDCORE fan of NBA players that peaked by or around the start of the decade (Manu Ginóbili, Luis Scola, Andrés Nocioni, Carlos Delfino).
Lowdown: I don't know much about Brussino, other than he's a supposed poor-man's Chandler Parsons. He's got good size at about 6'8', has good drive and kick skills and is seemingly a heady passer. He's got a quirky release from deep but he's shot it decently in international play. The big thing to look for is if he can be a nice playmaker among the aging Argentina stars to give them the youthful boost they need to make a run at a medal.
Here's some "highlights" of Brussino against Nigeria in late July, which starts off with him bricking a point-bank layup off the backboard. THE FUTURE.
Mavs player: Andrew Bogut, the spiritual successor to Tyson Chandler not just in ability, but medical history.
Why to watch other than Mavs ties: They're one of the few national teams to sport a nickname and it's BOOMERS. They're the god damn Boomers. I'm watching just to hear the announcers say it hopefully 20 times a game. Also, they have some other NBA players you've heard of.
Lowdown: People weren't even sure Bogut was going to play after injuring his knee in the NBA Finals. He came back for a nine-minute stint in one of the BOOMERS final exhibition games before the Olympics so he's somewhat good to go. Considering how brutal that injury was, don't expect Bogut to rack up a ton of minutes. Bogut is also a crazy person, so maybe he'll play 20 minutes a night and jam on some dudes heads for a bit. If he does play, expect to see a more unchained Bogut, one that isn't tied down as a background player like he was at Golden State. Bogut can pass, be a good roll man and is a fearsome defender. If he gets to play, he'll show that off and make Mavs fans giddy for a real center to man the starting spot again (RIP Zaza).
Mavs player: Harrison Barnes, either the literal Christian hell devil or a solid wing player with room to grow. A little column A, little column B.
Why to watch other than Mavs ties: Oh I'm sorry, I thought this was America? You like America right? You're god damn right you do (PLEASE IGNORE OUR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION).
Lowdown: The jury is still out on whether Barnes can realize his potential and talent in a bigger role or he's a giant pile of burning dumpster garbage sewer trash. He's shown some nice glimpses in the USA exhibition games, knocking down threes and making a conscious effort to try and create some offense off the dribble. He hasn't always been successful and being the last guy on the roster means minutes are hard to come by, but in the small bursts he's showed off pretty well all things considered. Whether he deserves a spot on the roster or not, this can be nothing but good for him, as he makes connections with potential free agents down the road and soaks up knowledge bunking with some of the greatest players in the game.
Or he'll miss every shot he takes in the Olympics and basketball twitter will open a portal into a fiery hellscape dimension where he'll be swallowed up and never heard from again.
On that note, here are some highlights from his exhibition play: