25 August, 2023
10 September
77 Luka Doncic (SLO)
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Top Performers September 9: Doncic, Spissu, Kurucs, Kurucs and Smits

MANILA (Philippines) - On our second to last Top Performers list in this World Cup we marvel at another performance by one of the greats, as well as congratulate two brothers.

Seems like we might have to wait until 2027 to see the first historic triple-double in a FIBA World Cup game, but that doesn't take anything away from Luka Doncic leading Slovenia to one last 89-85 win against Italy. It would be hard to list all of the things he clinched in his last performance in this year's tournament, so let's just leave it at the fact that the floor general recorded 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. You can start learning the rest by reading this.

Marco Spissu had been on fire from deep all World Cup long, but added an even more superior last effort in what turned out to be a close loss for Italy. The guard knocked down 6-of-11 shots from three-point range to close out the World Cup on 47.9% shooting from downtown (23/48). It allowed him to score 22 points and dish out 4 assists, with that amount of points being a repeat career-high for him when playing for Italy. Gigi, three-point shooting for the Azzurri is in safe hands.

Was it Spissu who inspired Arturs Kurucs? Doesn't matter. He was remarkable either way, with Latvia showing no mercy for their brothers Lithuanians in a 98-63 blowout victory. The younger Kurucs brother lead the charge from a scoring and shooting perspective. Kurucs lead the team with 20 points, aided by 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range, and also contributed with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. A couple of his makes also propped up a new FIBA World Cup record by his friend and peer Arturs Zagars.

Moreover, he had his older brother Rodions Kurucs to rely on for a couple of assists as well. The versatile wing revealed his best Swiss army knife qualities as he did everything for Latvia in an 11-point, 6-rebound and 4-assist performance. Yet what made his play especially efficient was 5-of-6 shooting from the field. We also might throw in some extra style points for doing all of that in only 15 minutes of action. Ironically, it was the least Rodions had played in this World Cup.

The two Kurucs brothers don't mind scooting over to let a third Latvian in on the fun. Rolands Smits closed out the competition with yet another exquisite shooting performance of his en route to 17 points and 6 rebounds, as well as a +29 point differential whenever he was on the court. The power forward made 6-of-7 shots (85.7%) from the field, surpassing his previous best single-game mark of 80.0% against France.

We will be asking this only one more time this fall. Who do you choose as your MVP?