Getting You Prepared For Olympic Basketball – Group B

On July 26th, 2021, the Men’s Basketball games of the Tokyo Olympics will begin as 11 countries try to dethrone the defending champion United States of America. The United States has won six of the last seven gold medals with NBA players being allowed on the rosters. Unlike previous Olympics, the road to the Gold Medal will potentially be the most difficult in the history of the Olympics.

Let’s take a look at the teams and players that make up Group B.

 

Australia

Number of NBA current Players: Six

Number of Former NBA Players: Zero

Best Player: Patty Mills

If anyone can dethrone the United States, it’s the Boomers from Australia. Even without Philadelphia 76ers’ All-Star Point Guard Ben Simmons, Australia has enough firepower to take home the gold medal. Led by San Antonio Spurs’ guard Patty Mills, Australia will have a very good group of shooters who can take down their opponents from long range.

Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova are experienced and this team already beat Team USA in an exhibition game earlier this month in Las Vegas. With all of this talent and experience, Australia has never won an Olympic medal. Their best finish has been fourth and that has happened four times.

 

Nigeria

Number of Current NBA Players: Eight

Number of Former NBA Players: One

Best Player: Josh Okogie

A month ago, most people across the world wouldn’t have expected Nigeria to be a threat to win the continent’s first Olympic medal. After a month of practice and two outstanding wins against the United States and Argentina, the team known as the D’Tigers have now placed the world on notice. Led by eight current NBA players and former NBA lottery pick Ekpe Udoh, head coach Mike Brown (Golden State Warriors’ assistant) has a great mix of players who can do multiple things when they’re on the floor.

Gabe Vincent torched the United States from beyond the arc in their victory and Precious Achinuwa and Jahlil Okafor will man the paint. But the most important player is Minnesota Timberwolves’ swingman Josh Okogie. Okogie will have to not only score from the wing, but he will have to guard most teams’ best player on defense.

 

Italy

Number of Current NBA Players: Three

Number of Former NBA Players: Zero

Best Player: Danilo Gallinari

Like Germany, Italy went into an Olympic qualifying tournament and defeated the home country (Serbia) to qualify for the Olympics. The best part is that they did it without Danilo Gallinari, who was playing in the NBA playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks. With Nico Mannion and Nicolo Melli on the roster with NBA experience, the Italians have a real chance to make the medal round.

The country’s success with be based upon the Hawks’ sharpshooting big man. Because in international basketball, having someone who can shoot is extremely important. What makes Gallinari special is that he’s a shooter who is 6 foot 10 inches tall. So, teams will have to worry about him from beyond the arc as well as inside of it.

 

Germany

Number of Current NBA Players: Two

Number of Former NBA Players: Zero

Best Player: Moritz Wagner

Not many expected Germany to be in the Olympics, especially after Los Angeles Lakers’ Point Guard Dennis Schroder decided to pass on playing for his home country. Led by Orlando Magic forward Moritz Wagner, the Germans not only won their group in the qualifying tournament, they overcame a second half deficit to beat the host Croatia on their way to Tokyo.

Washington Wizards’ swingman Isaac Bonga also plays in the NBA with Wagner, so they have some kind of NBA experience on the roster. But Euroleague veterans Robin Benzing and Johannes Voigtmann will provide experience as Germany attempts to bring an Olympic basketball medal home.

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