Most of the Suns are picking the U.S., but not all of them…
(Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

With the semifinals of the 2010 FIBA World Championships looming Saturday, predictions and thoughts on who the champion will be are being bandied about the US Airways Center.

Will the US be able to continue what the “Redeem Team” started in 2008 Olympics and confirm their spot as the undisputed basketball champ of the world? Or will Lithuania, Serbia or host-country Turkey, powered by Suns forward Hedo Turkoglu, win it all?

With many of the Suns players possessing intimate knowledge of many of the international players left in the tournament, we thought it would be interesting to get their take on which country they thought would take home the title…

Grant Hill: Obvious bias to Coach K aside, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist believes that the U.S. is going to win it all. Although, he seemed to believe that Serbia was going to be a really tough out. But that might have just been because our resident Serbian and Suns assistant coach Igor Kokoskov was standing right there.

Which leads us to…

Igor Kokoskov: Not only is Kokoskov a Suns assistant coach, but he also happens to be the head coach of the Georgian National Team. And no, Georgia didn’t recently secede from the union, it also happens to be a small country that borders Russia and Turkey. Well-versed in international basketball, Kokoskov is very familiar with all of the players in the tournament. The native Serbian said that the winner of Serbia vs. Spain would win the world championship, which Serbia certainly won. But what remains unclear is whether he’s picking based on his head or his heart.

Josh Childress: There’s no one that knows the players left in the world championships better than this American-European import. Fresh off of playing two seasons in Greece and falling in the finals of the Euroleague championship, Childress is sticking with the U.S. It’s no knock against his former Serbian teammates or his current teammate Hedo Turkoglu, but he believes the U.S. will narrowly escape with a win over Turkey in the championship.

Gani Lawal: In the next few years, one may see Lawal on the international basketball scene. Eligible to play for Nigeria, Lawal likes USA Basketball’s chances, as well. Although he said he’s pulling for his newest teammate, Hedo Turkoglu.

Dwayne Jones: The center that the Suns signed for the playoffs has played for a brief time in Europe. During his stint there, he even happened to play with two players that are on Turkey’s National Team. His experience tells him that it’s going to be a tough final, but that the U.S. will ultimately edge host-country Turkey.

Nenad Trajkovic: Trajkovic, who is the newest member of the basketball operations staff, was hired to put players through workouts and help the young guys develop. Playing it unbelievably close to the vest, the Serbian clinician would only go on the record to say, “In my heart, I hope that Serbia wins.” Thanks for going out on a limb there Nenad…

Noel Gillespie: The Suns assistant coach and advance scout is a little nervous about how bothersome Turkey’s zone and length could be to the United States, but believes that the U.S.’s Kevin Durant is just too good for everybody. Gillespie does say that if Durant has a poor shooting night, the U.S. could be in trouble.

Amin Elhassan: The Suns Assistant Director of Basketball Operations was ambivalent about his selection. Elhassan first thought that the U.S. would eke out a victory over Turkey in the championship. But as he reasoned aloud, he talked himself out of his original choice and into taking Turkey.

This weekend we’ll see who has the gift of foresight…

  • Big Kitchen

    BUT, you let Lou Amundson go. It will be hard to replace his fire. He and Jared Dudley lit a fire under the team more than a few times when they got LAZY!!! This was a horrible mistake on the part of the Suns to let him go. I am curious as to the factors involved in not making him a deal that would have kept him in Phoenix.