Renaldo Balkman: Puerto Rico’s Hope for World Basketball Supremacy?
Yes that Renaldo Balkman who was drafted by Isiah Thomas in the 1st round of 2006 draft by Knicks with 21st pick. Fact, Rajon Rondo was drafted with the next pick. Now you know.
Back to Renaldo, he’s currently playing with Nuggets in NBA and as of this year, he is playing for Puerto Rico’s National Basketball team. No typo there. When you think of a Puerto Rican, Balkman’s image wouldn’t come to mind. Then again, I wouldn’t fit in that mode either. I’m half Black and half Puerto Rican and no one would ever guess that. So you just never know. I digress. Since Balkman’s grandmother was born in Puerto Rico he is eligible to play for National Team. In case your asking, paper work needs to be submitted and it has been deemed legit and proved true. As for what he can bring to the team, head Coach Cintron has his thoughts:
“Renaldo is a versatile player who can defend the positions of one to four,”
“He has defensive and tactical value but offensively, I have not seen much. We know that he is an athletic player who could help us in some areas.”
I have a feeling something was lost in translation some how but I think its an alright assessment. In any case, Puerto Rico who also showcases NBA players Carlos Arroyo(MIA) and Jose Juan Barea(DAL) have had some team success. In CentroBasket and Central American Games, a few of the pre-tournaments before FIBA world championships, Puerto Rico won gold medals in both events. Here is Balkman holding trophy with a purse errrr satchel( The Hangover reference). Pic found here…
So how has Puerto Rico performed in Fiba World Championship with Renaldo Balkman on the squad? They are currently in second to last place in group(C) with a 0-2 record losing by 9 and 3 points respectively. Ouch…No Bueno. How did Balkman take losses? He was not too happy. In the last lost to Greece he only got 4 mins of playing time(See his FIBA Player profile for stats and apparent mugshot).
After the game, in disdain for being used sparingly, he abandonded the lockeroom without speaking to teammates or coach. The head coach is not amused by this. Article by El Nuevo Dia has details. Its in Spanish, i’ll paraphrase. Coach Cintron says:
“Balkman hasn’t been playing becuase his skill set is not suited for this type of competition(international game). Moreover, he hasn’t shown any skills in practice. His attitude is horrible and it can’t be like this.”
In refrence to his availability to play in Puerto Rico’s next game versus China he says:
“I will only give playing time to players who are totally committed to team. Puerto Rico has 11 other players who are totally committed and practice and play hard.”
Doesn’t sound too good for Renaldo Balkman’s chances to continue on team. It makes you wonder why Puerto Rico took him to Turkey to begin with. So yea, we’ll see where his status with team stands soon enough..
As for Puerto Rico’s performance, its surprising. They are no slouches, per fiba.com they are ranked #10 in FIBA World Ranking. You would also think having three NBA players they would have better record especially considering only Russia has another NBA player in the person of rookie Timofey Mozgof(Knicks). Then again, they did lose to #4 Ranked Greece and #17 Ranked Russia so teams weren’t horrible. We will see where Puerto Rico goes from here, they have 3 more games to show what they got. They just have to make top four of group C to move on. Lets go for Puerto Rico!!!!
As for Mr.Balkman, I highly doubt he will be Puerto Rico’s savior. Now bigger question, if he can’t get burn on Puerto Rico’s National team, how does he expect to get burn on the Nuggets? Just a thought…….. On the bright side, his trip to Turkey hasn’t been a complete waste. He made a full court shot* Not during game but nevertheless impressive. Kinda like those infamous Lebron full court shot commercials. Hat-tip to Probasketballtalk for finding vid..
PS, notice how everyone is talking in Spanish but him, just saying…
Main pic found via Fiba World’s Flickr account.
Article written by Jovan, his twitter is here. Follow or else…