2024 Paris Olympics men's basketball power rankings: Team USA in own class, but who is biggest competition?

ad team usa getty

The field is set for the men’s Olympic basketball tournament in Paris after Greece, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Spain claimed the final four spots through Olympic qualifying tournaments held at the beginning of July. And now that we know how the three groups will shake out when the 2024 Paris Olympics kick off on July 27, it makes sense to size up how these teams rank against each other. 

Obviously it’s no secret that the United States is in a league of its own in this competition. Even more so this year as USA men’s basketball director Grant Hill has built perhaps the best Olympic team since the 2008 “Redeem Team.” But as talented as that roster is, international basketball has never been in a better position to challenge the U.S. 

France has twin Eiffel Towers in Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert, and as the host country will have the strength of the fans during the Paris Games. Canada, on paper, has the most NBA-level talent next to Team USA, and should challenge them when the knockout rounds begin. There’s also Nikola Jokic and Serbia, as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece. It should be the most exciting men’s Olympic basketball tournament we’ve had in awhile just on name recognition alone.

As we prepare for the Paris Olympics to get going, here’s how the 12 teams competing in the men’s basketball tournament rank.

12. South Sudan

South Sudan will compete at the Olympics in men’s basketball for the first time ever, after finishing as the highest-ranked African country (17th) at the FIBA World Cup in 2023. They could have a roster that features Phoenix Suns center Bol Bol, who has been named as part of Sudan’s training camp roster for the Olympic Games. Bol would certainly have an impact on the defensive side of the ball, and he’s shown flashes of being able to handle the ball. If he suits up for Sudan in France, he’ll likely be joined by Carlik Jones, who had a standout performance during the World Cup last summer, where he led all players in assists per game (10.6).

11. Japan

Japan finished the highest of any Asian country in the FIBA World Cup last summer (19th), so they were awarded with a ticket to the Paris Olympics. And after going 0-3 during the last Olympic Games as the host country in 2020, they’ll be looking to at least put one game in the win column this time around. They’ll once again be led by Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, as well as Yuta Watanabe who spent last season with the Suns and Grizzlies. They’ll have a tough go of things in Group B with France and Germany, but the matchup against Brazil should provide for an opportunity to get at least one win. 

10. Brazil

Brazil punched its ticket to Paris after beating host country Latvia in the Olympic qualifiers. Led by former first-round pick Bruno Caboclo, the Brazilians will have a tough road ahead if they want to make it out of the group stage as they’ll face France and Germany in Group B. Barring some surprising turn of events, Brazil will have to hope they finish with one of the top two records as a third-placed team to make it to the knockout rounds, but in that group, it may be difficult to do.

9. Puerto Rico

The last time the Puerto Rican men’s basketball team was in the Olympics they pulled off a stunning upset by beating the United States in the group stage during the 2004 Athens Games. It ended up being the start of what was a tumultuous Olympic run for the Americans, one that ended in a disappointing bronze medal. Twenty years later and Puerto Rico is back in the Olympics, and will once again be in the same group as the United States, waiting to pull off another shocker. The motivation and energy will certainly be there as New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado will ensure he makes life difficult for whoever he’s guarding. Puerto Rico may be heavy underdogs in a group that also features Serbia, but they showed in the qualifying tournament that they’re capable of mucking things up for their opponents and catching them off guard to pull out a win. That’s the perfect recipe to win some of these Olympic matches. 

8. Spain

Spain went undefeated in their Olympic qualifying tournament to earn a spot in Paris, highlighted by seven-year NBA player Willy Hernangomez, who averaged over 18 points during the qualifying tournament. Memphis Grizzlies forward Santiago Aldama, also had a standout performance during the tournament, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds on a roster that’s littered with current or former NBA players like Usman Garuba, Lorenzo Brown, Rudy Fernandez and Juancho Hernangomez. It may not be the Spain that used to feature Pau and Marc Gasol and that won silver at the 2012 Olympic Games, but Spain always fields a competitive team that can pull off some upsets. And they’re in the perfect group to do so with Australia, Greece and Canada.

7. Greece

Giannis will head to the Olympics for the first time as he led the Greek team to qualify for the Games for the first time since 2008. It’s difficult to project what we’ll get from the Greece team, because outside of Giannis there’s not a ton of NBA-level talent on the roster like other international squads. But having Giannis alone is already a great spot to be in. They just cruised to an Olympic bid on the strength of his performance. There are very few players who can slow him down, and by avoiding Team USA, France and Serbia in the group stage, Greece could have a sneaky shot at advancing to the knockout round in their group. Canada will be the toughest competition, and Australia has a collection of talented guys, but Giannis alone is capable of carrying a team very far.

6. Australia

This has to be the best collection of role players or glue guys imaginable. Australia will be a team that features Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Josh Green, Dante Exum, Josh Giddey and Dyson Daniels. It came in third place at the last Olympic Games, beating Luka Doncic and Slovenia to claim the bronze. But that was a weaker field of opponents, so a podium finish may not be as easy to envision for the Boomers, especially in a group that features Canada, Greece and Spain. That may be the hardest draw in the Olympic field. And while Australia has more NBA-level talent than Greece and Spain do, international basketball always yields unexpected results.

5. Serbia

Serbia managed to make it to the World Cup championship game last summer without Nikola Jokic. This summer they’ll have him, and what a difference that will make. Jokic’s game obviously lends itself to the FIBA style, and he’ll assume a similar role that he plays with the Nuggets. The offense will flow through him as he sets teammates up for easy looks, then bangs in the post to get his points while generally doing it all to help his team win. He’ll be joined by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who should rack up a ton of points off feeds from Jokic. Between the two of them, Serbia will have a dangerous 1-2 punch and they’ll get an early look at Team USA as they’ll play each other in Group C before the knockout rounds.

4. Germany

They are the reigning FIBA World Cup champions, and Germany had an excellent showing last summer during the World Cup, defeating Team USA in the semifinals by two points in a nail biter, and then outlasting Serbia in the championship game. The German team is led by rising Orlando Magic star Franz Wagner, who just signed a rookie max extension, and Dennis Schroder, who earned MVP in that World Cup championship game. Wagner’s performance in the World Cup propelled him to a standout third year with Orlando, and with primarily the same roster that won last summer, Germany could be in the running for a medal if things break the team’s way.

3. France

France placed second in the last Olympics, falling to the United States in the gold medal match. That team was already incredibly good, and they didn’t have Victor Wembanyama that time around. This time, they do. And France’s recent friendly against Germany — the reigning FIBA World Cup champions — showed just how much of a difference the reigning Rookie of the Year can make. Wembanyama had 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, five rebounds, three assists and one steal in just 19 minutes of action in that win. He’s going to feast on teams lacking the size to guard him throughout the Olympics, and when you add that to a France team that was already pretty dangerous, you have a situation where there could very well be a rematch of the gold medal game at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

2. Canada

Even without Andrew Wiggins, who was a late scratch for the Olympics, Canada has the best collection of talent to compete with the Team USA, and the Canadians are going to be incredibly difficult to score on. They’re fielding a roster with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett, Dillon Brooks, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Lu Dort, just to name a few. They may struggle to contain bigs like Joel Embiid, Wemby and Jokic, but they’re going to be a nightmare to contain on both ends of the floor. The Canadians have the second-most NBA players on the roster, and for that reason alone they deserve to be No. 2 on this list. But as we saw with the Americans last summer at the World Cup, a collection of talented NBA players isn’t enough to win in FIBA-rules basketball. We’ll have to see how that talent translates to the court in Paris later this summer, but on paper, Canada certainly has the right pieces.

1. USA

Obviously the U.S. will enter the tournament as the heavy favorite, and they’ve constructed a juggernaut of a team complete with the commitment from Joel Embiid who chose to join Team USA over France or Cameroon. Embiid gives the United States a quality defender to throw at the likes of Wembanyama and Gobert on France and Jokic on Serbia. From top to bottom the U.S. roster is sound, and filled with a good mix of young guys — Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton — as well as the grizzled veterans in LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. The gold will be the USA’s to lose as it is at every Olympic Games, and after a poor showing the World Cup — a fourth-place finish — there will surely be some motivation from this cast of stars to make a statement.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top