Okinawa (AP) – Who will beat American basketball players in the World Cup? Head coach Steve Kerr’s team is the clear favorite despite the change in personnel. But the field of contenders is large, and national coach Gordon Herbert sees up to ten medal contenders.
In basketball, the World Cup is not as important as in other sports. The main thing that interests the US national team is the Olympic gold medal, which it has won seven out of eight times since 1992. On the other hand, in the World Cup, since 1998, Yugoslavia, Spain and the United States have won twice.
Stars like Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant are not around this time, but a talented young squad formed with a sense of proportion. Big bonus for the favourite: you are in the much easier half of the tournament and can only face so many opponents in the semifinals as soon as possible.
World and European champion
For example, for the toughest opponent is Spain, which has to overcome tougher hurdles before a potential showdown. Two very strong rivals are already waiting in France and Canada in the Intermediate Tour. Former World Cup champion Ricky Rubio is absent but the Spaniards rarely rely on individual players. As well as saying goodbye to the Gasol brothers Marc and Bao, as they found a new couple. If the Hernangomez brothers, Willy and Juancho, confirm their line-ups in the previous year, there could be a lot more.
France should be ready for a medal even without the super talented Victor Wimpanyama. Much will depend on the first match of the group stage against Canada for the team that includes centre-back Rudy Gobert and winger Yvan Fournier. Slovenia is pinning all its hopes on basketball star Luka Doncic, who is considered the best individual player at the World Cup.
Led by Dennis Schroeder, the strong and well-trained German team has been well prepared. It is doubtful that Greece and Serbia will be able to fully compensate for the serious absences of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic.
Experienced teams in the NBA
Australia has made a name for itself in recent years. Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo, fourth place at the 2019 World Cup in China: With a few players from the NBA, the team around playmaker Patty Mills can keep up with the ultimate global elite. That’s also true this year for the Canadiens, who are led by superstar Shay Gilgos-Alexander.
The home country of German national coach Herbert should also play a role in the medal battle without Denver pro Jamal Murray. However, out of the trio of France, Spain and Canada, only a maximum of two teams reach the quarter-finals. And there, duels with Slovenia, Australia or Germany await.
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