VITORIA (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - If one remembers how well Poland played at EuroBasket 2011 without Marcin Gortat and Maciej Lampe, imagine how dangerous this team can be next year with both big men in the squad.
Poland had a rough start this past summer in the Qualification Round for EuroBasket 2013 and that was the case even with Phoenix Suns center Gortat in the squad.
The Poles lost to Belgium and Finland in two of their first three games, yet they went unbeaten in their remaining five games to seal a place at the EuroBasket in Slovenia.
"I wasn't there for the games, but in Germany getting my ankle right," Lampe said to FIBA.com.
"I'm happy they did better and advanced."
Lampe monitored Poland's progress.
"I was watching all the games but just couldn't be there, had to work on my ankle recovery," he said.
"I was going to join the team, but there was only one game left when I would have been able to practice and play so they decided not to bring me back."
Poland have shown enough good play the past couple of summers that all of their opponents in Slovenia have cause for concern.
They will go up against Spain, Croatia, Georgia, the Czech Republic and hosts Slovenia in Group C.
In 2011 in Lithuania, though the Poles did not advance from the first round, they caused a stir by beating Portugal and then Turkey.
Ales Pipan’s team went into their last first round game against Great Britain needing a win, but lost 88-81.
Eventual champions Spain had beaten Pipan's team, 83-78, in the opener.
A Polish frontline that has both Gortat and Lampe should be formidable.
Both appear to have improved since teaming up at EuroBasket 2009.
Gortat has gone from a back-up to Dwight Howard in Orlando to starter in Phoenix.
He is averaging 11.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in his sixth NBA season.
For Poland last summer, Gortat averaged 21.1 points and 11.6 rebounds.
The 2.10m Lampe, a former NBA player himself, is averaging 11 points and five boards with Caja Laboral in Spain's Liga Endesa.
Though injuries have bothered him the past couple of seasons, he is getting back to full fitness.
"The ankle is quite alright," he said.
"I have a little problem with my back.
"It's irritating a nerve in my leg a little bit, so I'm struggling with that but it's going to be okay."
Will he be in Slovenia?
"I think so," he said.
Lampe says that Poland can be a dangerous team in Slovenia.
"If our chemistry clicks, we can surprise a lot of people, I think," he said.
Lampe is cautious, however, when the subject of qualifying for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup comes up.
"I think we shouldn't think about that," he said.
"We haven't done anything.
"We advanced to the EuroBasket and should take it game by game and play hard and hopefully develop some younger players in the process and go from there."