We've been remiss here at WTLC to ignore the excellent accomplishments of our very own Serge Ibaka this august. Our favorite rim protector has been busy in Spain, playing 7 matches in front of Spanish fans and one in Turkey. Spain's opponents haven't exactly been cream of the crop thus far, but Spain has still convincingly beaten every single one.
Meanwhile, everything's gone really smoothly on Ibaka's end. He's managed to carve himself a clear spot in the rotation behind the Gasol brothers, and has been the driving force behind a couple of critical Spanish runs. Furthermore, he hasn't really posted a bad performance, and he's shown a willingness to expand his game. But before we get to the highlights, let's check our WTLC exclusive stats....
Serge Ibaka's 2014 World Cup Preliminary Match Gamelog + Averages (Click image to enlarge)
Those numbers are absolutely gorgeous. Ibaka's only real flaw is his low three point shooting numbers, but considering that it's a tad beyond his range, the percentages there are forgivable. Meanwhile, he's posting darn near 12 points every 20 minutes and shooting 63.5% from the floor. Ibaka has also managed to record just about a block a night, as well as secure a plethora of offensive boards. Enough talk, though. Let's get to Serge Ibaka's highlight packages from 6 of the warmup games, courtesy of YouTube.
#6: Double Solid Slams vs. Turkey
A couple of really good looking slams early in the game. That's about it.
#5: Double-Double vs. Croatia
This vid shows Serge leading the charge during a third quarter run without having to ever create his own shot. Ibaka's ability to space the floor and come off the pick and roll is sometimes enough to get Spain's offense going. There was also that three at the beginning, which is promising.
#4: Swishing clutch threes vs. Ukraine
"Para Serge Ibaka, de treeeeeeeees! Triple de Serge Ibaka!"
Yes, Serge has yet again nailed two threes in one game. This time, the game was closer, and they actually kinda mattered. The second three may have been counted as a two, according to the box score. Beyond that, he did a great job of timing his dives to the rim. The Ukrainian Defense was too fixated on living out the zone sometimes, allowing Ibaka to sneak in when Slava Kravtsov wasn't looking.
#3: Nailing two tough threes vs. Canada
This one's impressive because Ibaka hit two threes in one game, a feat he achieved only twice last season. Not only that, both threes were contested, and one came after a jab-step. He's still not at the NBA line, but he's close. Also, the dribble-drive he showcases is pretty cool, just because it's so rare to see Ibaka put the ball on the floor while driving to the basket.
#2: Blocking threes against Senegal
Yes, you heard and saw that correctly. Serge Ibaka managed to block a three, run to the other end of the floor, and nail a unnecessarily ridiculous slam. That....was impressive. You also get to see Serge work on establishing position and getting that short post hook going, which would be killer for him to use in the NBA. It probably won't happen, but we can hope. Meanwhile, the rest of the video is just Serge's athleticism straight clownin' on some inferior opponents.
#1: The Complete Package vs. Angola
There's just so much to love in this highlight reel. The posterizing dunk on Edson Ndoniema is easily Serge's biggest moment so far this fall. All of the other plays show just how diverse Ibaka's bag of tricks can be. He busts out the hook, the turnaround jumper, a putback dunk, and a fadeaway jumper. Not to mention completing the And 1 after straight up terrorizing Mr. Nodoniema. By the way, here's a link to the dunk on its' own. Send it to your friends!
What are you expecting Serge Ibaka to bring to the table during this year's tournament? Drop a comment and let us know!
Serge Ibaka first steps into action against Iran today at 4PM CDT. You can find the match on ESPN 3 in the United States and LiveBasketball.tv internationally.
For a full schedule of Spain's games, click here.