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Greek Hoop Star, Florida's Calathes, Says U.S. Could Lose World Title

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Greece's Nick Calathes (Photo by Stefanos Rapanis/ EUROKINISSI)

Nick Calathes, a star point guard for Greece's national basketball team – by way of the University of Florida – won't have the limelight with NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo taking it – and said that the U.S. team could lose in the quarterfinals at the world tourney coming up in China.

Calathes, whose $2.5 million salary makes him the third-best player in Europe, and who played with the Memphis Grizzlies, said the U.S. should be favored despite sending back benchers instead of stars staying home.

Once you get to the knockout round, one loss and you're out. “It’s not like the NBA where it’s best-of-seven,” Calathes told TheLines.com in a phone call from Athens.

“One team that is having a good day can get you that day, any day…For this version of Team USA, a lot of guys have not played international ball, and it’s just a totally different style of play,” Calathes said. “The spacing is different, a lot of offense takes place in the paint, and it’s definitely more physical. Stuff that’s usually a foul in the NBA will be legal in China.”