The FIBA Basketball World Cup is an often overlooked and forgotten basketball competition. For the past decade, the United States has been dominating this competition, winning the trophy in 2010 and 2014. Thus, due to the lack of true competition, many expect the United States to be default winners. Recently, this negative reputation about the World Cup has been exacerbated by the lack of players who want to participate in the competition.
A common appearance in memes, the USA team is constantly made fun of as NBA stars like James Harden and Anthony Davis have been withdrawing from the team. However, this time around, the USA team should not be as confident as there are more teams that can prove tough competitions for our national team.
Honorable Mention: Australia
Led by Utah Jazz star Joe Ingles, Australia has a very competitive team that will be tough to defeat and will not be put down without a fight. As a starter for the Jazz, Ingles averaged 12.1 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists a game. He was an integral player during their playoff run. To pair with Ingles, Australia also has a feisty point guard in Patty Mills. Playing for the Spurs, Mills has a strong acumen about the game and will be quite impactful for this team down the stretch. He will be a great scorer for the team and good duo along with Ingles.
Besides these two players, Australia is hampered without any more elite talent. Despite having players like Matthew Dellavadova and Andrew Bogut, it won’t cut the mustard. Dellavadova is a backup point guard who has had an illustrious NBA career and has even won a ring. This is very similar to Andrew Bogut who spent years in the NBA. Both are too old to contribute massively to Australia’s efforts to be the best team.
With NBA superstar Ben Simmons deciding to focus on the NBA season rather than play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Australia immediately became disadvantaged. Simmons has an immense amount of talent and without his contribution, Australia is not as strong. Despite having several stars from the NBL on their team, it will still be tough for Australian National Team to come out on top against the USA without top-end talent. However, they will still be a tough fight for the United States National Team.
The Spain National Basketball team is another formidable opponent for the United States National Basketball team. Spain’s star players Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio. Gasol is a three-time All-Star who is fresh from playing a key part in helping the Toronto Raptors win an NBA title.
Gasol, who is already 34 years old, still has several years left in the tank and can definitely play a key role in helping Spain dethrone the USA. In addition, Spain is also home to NBA star point guard Ricky Rubio who is a very dominant guard right now. A pass-heavy player, Rubio was an important player for the Jazz for the past two years, helping them reach the playoffs for two years in a row. He will be able to be an effective playmaker for Spain.
After hosting the tournament and disappointingly failing 5 years ago, Spain looks better than ever and have a real fighter’s chance of defeating the United States National Team. They have important playmaking ability and can really dominate this World Cup.
Spain is ranked low due to their lack of star power with only Gasol and Rubio as their main star starters. Although Spain has many homegrown players and the Hernangomez brothers, it is not enough for a first-place spot.
The France National Team poses a great threat to the United States team. They currently have four NBA players and international players that are very good. The best player on the French team is Rudy Gobert, an All-NBA player, and two-time Defensive Player.
Physically domineering, Gobert is 7 feet and an inch with a whooping wingspan of 7 feet and 9 inches. Gobert not only is defensively strong but also is a force on the offensive side of the court, scoring 15.9 points per game while also grabbing 12.9 boards a match. His talent should not overlook the other stars on this team including Evan Fournier and Frank Ntilikina.
Fournier is a strong shooting guard for France. Playing for the Orlando Magic, Fournier was one of the most important players on their roster during their 2019 playoff push. Averaging 15 points per game, Fournier is a dependable shooter that can elevate this French offense.
Ntilikina is a young point guard that shows plenty of promise. Although he is regarded as a bust for the New York Knicks, Ntilikina has many positive attributes such as his playmaking and defense. He should be utilized for those purposes on this team and can make this team as successful as possible. France really has a true amount of talent on their team.
The French National Team, however, suffers due to the lack of depth on their team. Against the United States, who is very deep and talented, France will be a bit disadvantaged as they suffer in this part of their lineup. If France is able to set up a good rotation and completely utilize their star players, they will be tough competition for the United States.
Although Australia, Spain, and France have a good chance to defeat the United States National Basketball Team, Serbia has the star power and the depth to dethrone the United States. Led by NBA superstar Nikola Jokic, Serbia seems well off with their team. Jokic is an All-Star and an All-NBA First Team player who led his Denver Nuggets to the playoffs this past NBA season.
In addition to Jokic, Serbia also has a budding NBA star in Bogdan Bogdanovic. A key player on the Sacramento Kings, Bogdanovic was instrumental to their close playoff chase. He scored 15 points a match and averaged 3.8 assists per game along with 3.5 rebounds a game. A nice complement to Milos Tedosic on the Serbian team, Bogdanovic will be an important player for Serbia.
Tedosic, a former star point guard on the LA Clippers, is an exceptional player in the EuroLeague who will be able to successfully lead Serbia to have a productive World Cup (and probably a championship). In addition, the Serbian team also have enormously tall and physical forward in Boban Marjanovic. The 7’ 3” player is now a player for the Dallas after playing the last couple of years in LA and Philadelphia.
Marjanovic is a major physical advantage for the Serbian Nationals as he can dominate on the frontcourt, easily stymying opposing offensive teams. Another star on the Serbian team is Nemanja Bjelica. Bjelica is an excellent player in the NBA who averages 9.6 points a game and 5.8 rebounds a game. He will be a great asset as he is a versatile player that dominates other teams.
The Serbian team is a four-headed monster that is quite unstoppable. Their evident star-studded roster will definitely be a problem for the lacking US roster. Due to their obvious talent and depth, they are an easy bet for the best team that can beat and challenge the United States.