MINNEAPOLIS -- The prospect of sitting half a world away and watching their centerpiece point guard play 11 games in 18 days, all while his teammates prepare for training camp, has to draw a cringe from some NBA general managers.
Not Flip Saunders.
"I like players to play," the Timberwolves president of basketball operations said. "That's how you get better."
Sounds simple enough.
Eurobasket sure isn't the Olympics. It's not even the FIBA World Championships, recently renamed the Basketball World Cup.
But the 24-team, two-and-a-half week European national team tournament is still an outlet for hardwood nationalism, enough that guys like Ricky Rubio and Tony Parker will spend most of September overseas competing for their countries.
"No one has said that we are not going to Slovenia for the gold medal," Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio told eurobasket2013.com. "The national team we have is of a great level."
And when past scouting emphases have created a Minnesota roster dotted...