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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 history.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know for Group C.
Number of NBA current Players: Three
Number of Former NBA Players: Two
Best Player: Luis Scola
As the changing of the Argentine guard is happening in basketball, the South American powerhouse might not have the same success as previous teams. Even with some of the greatest players in the country’s history no longer playing, a new group of players have emerged. Led by Denver Nuggets’ point guard Facundo Campazzo, Argentina is now considered a sleeper team instead of one of the favorites.
With a great mix of youth and experience, Argentina has a chance to make the medal round. Especially if Luis Scola can find his fountain of youth and turn back the hands of time.
Number of Current NBA Players: Two
Number of Former NBA Players: Zero
Best Player: Rui Hachimura
The Olympic host country has a chance to win their first Olympic basketball game. Led by Washington Wizard forward Rui Hachimura, Japan has already put the teams on notice when they defeated France in an exhibition earlier in the month. Hachimura’s 19 points and seven rebounds led Japan as they won in front of their home fans.
Even with Toronto Raptors’ forward Yuta Watanabe, Japan will not have the size that most countries in their pool have and it could lead to problems against teams like Spain and Australia who have multiple big players in the post. While they’re not expected to win a medal, just winning one game would do wonders for the country and their basketball future.
Number of Current NBA Players: One
Number of Former NBA Players: Zero
Best Player: Luka Doncic
Yes, Slovenia has one NBA player on their roster and they are a serious threat to win a medal in basketball. Led by one of the NBA’s best players in Luka Doncic, Slovenia has enough talent not only to win this pool but also get to the gold medal game. Just like in the qualification tournament, Doncic has the ability to dominate a game and can carry not only his team but an entire country to its first Olympic Basketball medal.
Doncic will be joined by Zoran Dragic (brother of Miami’s Goran), Mike Tobey and Vlatko Cancar. The international basketball game can be dominated by one player and Slovenia has the most dangerous player in the entire tournament.
Number of Current NBA Players: Four and a Future 1st Round pick in Next Week’s NBA Draft
Number of Former NBA Players: Six
Best Player: Ricky Rubio
What Spain has on their roster is nothing but talent. With the most NBA talent that is not from the United States, Spain has quality players to prevent the United States from winning their fourth gold medal in a row. Even though they went 6-1 in pre-Olympic play, they showed a few potential concerns in their loss to the United States on Sunday.
Outside of Rudy Fernandez, Spain doesn’t have the athleticism to match most of the countries. That could cause problems when they play teams that want to play up and down basketball. But none of the twelve teams in the tournament have the experience as a team as Spain.