The field of 12 for men's basketball is set for 2016 Rio Olympics
Who will win gold in Rio?
Olympic qualifying tournaments wrapped Sunday morning for the final spots headed to Rio for the basketball competition, as France defeated Canada Sunday morning after Serbia toppled Puerto Rico and Croatia defeated Italy later in the day. The field of 12 for the 2016 Olympic Basketball Tournament is now set. Here's a look:
|1. France||2016 Olympic qualifying tourney|
|2. United States||2014 FIBA World Cup champ|
|3. Venezuela||2015 FIBA Americas champ|
|4. Serbia||2016 Olympic qualifying tourney|
|5. China||2015 FIBA Asia champ|
|6. Australia||2015 FIBA Oceania champ|
Analysis: A tough batch of squads for group play for Team USA compared to most years. Perennial contender France took a step backwards but still managed to qualify and with Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nicolas Batum, still represents a challenge to a Team USA squad without many stars due to concerns over the Zika virus and injuries. Australia, too, is pesky, with Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, and Cameron Bairstow, and Serbia is maybe the sleeper with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Suns drafteee Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Team USA still dwarfs every team with talent, but on the right day, any of those three teams could hang with Team USA enough to present a challenge before medal play begins.
|1. Argentina||2015 FIBA Americas runner-up|
|2. Spain||EuroBasket 2015 champ|
|3. Brazil||Host nation|
|4. Lithuania||EuroBasket 2015 runner-up|
|5. Croatia||2016 Olympic qualifying tourney|
|6. Nigeria||AfroBasket 2015 champ|
Analysis: Spain is the dominant team from this group, but could be in a tough spot given Pau Gasol's decline, the uncertain status of Marc Gasol and his foot injury, and with Serge Ibaka out for the games. They've been a super-power in international play and pushed Team USA several times, but this squad does not look as dominant. Both Croatia and Lithuania could be dangerous, as Lithuania boasts Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas and Thunder rookie Domantas Sabonis, while Croatia features Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic (no relation to the aforementioned Bogdan Bogdanovic), Magic guard Mario Hezonja, and Sixers phenom Dario Saric.
Team USA kicks off training camp in Las Vegas later this month, with several exhibitions planned for around the country before group play begins in Rio amid police protests, widespread health concerns, and security risks in early August.
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