Despites their poor showing at the FIBA World Cup Team USA has retained their world number one ranking as they turn their attention to the Olympics.
FIBA Has U.S Ranked Number 1
The latest FIBA rankings were released and Team USA has retained their number one ranking. After their disappointing performance at the FIBA World Cup, most were unsure of how the rankings would look. Team USA has been ranked number one in the world since they won the World Cup in 2010. That nine streak looked to be in jeopardy after the U.S finished 7th, their worst showing at a major international tournament.
The critics have been out in full force with head coach Greg Popovich coming to the defense of his players. He has been very upset at the media coverage surrounding his team claiming that the American media has been arrogant in their dismissal of the other teams in the tournament.
Who from This Team is Going to the Olympics?
The easy answer to that question is nobody. One look at this roster and there is nobody that stood out enough to think that they would make the team next summer. The one player that may have an outside chance is Jayson Tatum. He is still very young and his skill set could be very useful in the Olympics. That said, even if he does make the roster, he is unlikely to get much playing time.
As for the rest of the group, the only player that seems talented enough is Donovan Mitchell. The problem for Mitchell is unlike Jayson Tatum, his skill set does not translate well to the international game. He is a volume scorer who struggles with his outside shooting. He is also an undersized guard and this tournament proved that those type of players have to have a reliable outside shot to succeed. If not, you need to at least be a playmaker in the mode of tournament MVP Ricky Rubio. While Mitchell might be the man in Utah, Rubio is a veteran of the international game.
Team USA Still Tournament Favorites
Despite all of the noise about how embarrassing this result was for their program, Team USA will get over it. They are the clear favorites to win at the Olympics and several of their star players have already confirmed that they will be present. If the best players the U.S would have participated, the rest of the world have virtually no chance. Of course anything is possible as we saw when the “Redeem Team” won gold. That was by no means a cake walk and the rest of the world will be eager to prove that this team losing at the World Cup is not a one off thing.
The teams that have already qualified are the United States, Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain and Australia.
There will also be a playoff between the following countries:
Canada, Angola, Brazil, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, South Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela.