Very much deserving of a mention for his excellent play is Argentinean point guard Cristian Cortes, the clear-cut leader of the South American team at this Adidas Nations camp. Cortes has been overshadowed somewhat at the national team level by another 1990-born Argentinean point guard, Temples Juan Fernandez, but he stood out in a major way here in Dallas.
Cortes is as pure a point guard as youll find, playing the game at an outstanding pace. He sees the entire floor at all times and shows great court vision and creativity getting his teammates involved, often in the form of nifty lobs and bounce passes. His physical attributes are not ideal, as he has average size and underwhelming athleticism, possessing a poor first step and very little explosiveness.
He makes up for it though with great toughness and an extremely high basketball IQ. Cortes is your prototypical feisty Argentinean, a real fighter who is has no problem whatsoever being a little bit dirty if it means helping out his team. He takes charges, grabs at his opponents jersey when the referee isnt looking, and will flop immediately upon contact if he has a chance to take a charge. He managed to annoy the opposition to no avail with the intensity he brought to the table, particularly Marquis Teague, who was completely rattled by him.
As a scorer, Cortes is somewhat limited. He has some ability to change speeds and get to the basket, but his average first step makes things difficult on him, and he struggles to finish around the rim. Cortes knocked down some shots from time to time here, but he appears to be a fairly streaky shooter, although his nice mechanics leave room for optimism in this regard. Defensively, Cortes doesnt have much lateral quickness, but he is an absolute pest on the ball, showing a very high intensity level, and good timing trying to stay in front of his man.
Cortes currently plays for Obras Sanitarias in Buenos Aires, where he has been a pro for a number of years now. Hes probably a name well hear more of in the coming years, particularly on the international level.