the Lithuanians have everything to win medals, but the Serbs and the French seem more powerful

Before the first match, all teams have more or less hopes of becoming champions, but they bring a different basket of possibilities to the tournament.

1. Serbia

Although the Serbian national team was plagued by injuries throughout the preparation phase, and coach Svetislav Pešičius did not know until the last day which basketball players would be able to play in the European Championships, this team will be one of the main favorites. The Serbians can present the most balanced starting five, and in this team, even Nikola Jokic or Vasilije Micic do not seem irreplaceable. An even stronger trump card of the Eagles is S. Pešičius. He understands the specifics of national team tournaments better than anyone, and his decision to forgo the services of long-time captain Milos Teodosić due to the team’s microclimate may have been the cornerstone of future success.

2. France

The French performed best among Europeans at the Tokyo Olympics last year and won silver medals. Most of the Olympic medalists will play in the European championships, but the team will lack the composure of Nicolas Batum and Nando De Colo in crucial moments. The French side have been thrown off course this summer by injuries in training camp, and coach Vincent Collet was clearly distraught when his side were trounced by Bosnia and Herzegovina in a World Cup qualifier. However, the French have excellent leaders Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert, a whole bunch of other NBA and Euroleague basketball players, so the limits of this team’s possibilities are very high.

3. Lithuania

Individually strong leaders, well-balanced composition, reliable bench. The Lithuanian national team has everything needed for a team that wants to fight for medals at the European championships. It will be difficult for the rivals to break through the wall of the Lithuanian giants, which will be built by Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valančiūnas, but there are no obvious weak spots in the other chains either. That Lithuanians can achieve the highest goals is confirmed by the results of the preparatory matches – the team coached by Kazis Maksvytis won all nine matches in August.

4. Greece

Years pass, and one of the best basketball players in the world, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has yet to win a single medal while playing for the Greek national team. The Greeks have not won any medals at all since 2009, but when they gathered for a training camp a few weeks ago, they had reasonable expectations that the hunger for victories would be ended. Expectations have been dampened by an avalanche of injuries, which has led coach Dimitris Itoudis to a long delay in announcing the final 12. For the Greeks, the losses are more painful than for the Serbians – as powerful as G. Antetokounmpo is, his support forces are weaker.

5. Germany

A wave of withdrawals and injuries has thinned the German national team, but the main hosts of European championships still have many trump cards. Several German basketball players of the middle or even younger generation brought invaluable NBA or Euroleague experience to the national team, the second line, which was the team’s weakest point, was strengthened by the naturalized American Nick Weiler-Babb, and the self-confidence of Dennis Schröder, the best German basketball player today, is overflowing. And when playing at home, the support of the fans can give wings to even the less experienced reserve players of this team.

6. Slovenia

If there was no Luka Doncic, it wouldn’t be worth talking about the Slovenian national team at all. However, L. Dončičius can do almost everything on the court, and the increased attention paid to him by opponents unties the hands of his teammates. However, opponents are slowly learning to play against the Slovenian super-talent and are getting him out of the way more and more often. In order for the Slovenian national team to wade into the same river for the second time and defend the title of European champion, L. Dončičius should play flawlessly throughout the playoffs.

7. Spain

The Spanish national team is still the world champion but has changed a lot in three years. A difficult generational change has begun in the team, and coach Sergio Scariolo has no one to replace the stars who retired or did not play for the national team due to injuries this summer. Rudy Fernandez and, in part, Willy Hernangomez are trying to build a bridge between the golden generation and the current generation, but the depth of the crisis is shown even by the fact that Spanish basketball managers decided to use Lorenzo Brown, an American who has no ties to their country. He will help the Spanish team not to become a gray average, but this team is no longer one of the main favorites.

8. Italy

Although the Italian national team qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last year, its reputation has not strengthened significantly and the Italians are not mentioned among the main favorites of the European Championships. In this team, there are several basketball players hardened in the NBA or Euroleague, but when there is a lack of basketball players with the qualities of a creator. It is true that the Italians sometimes burst with a string of illogical shots, but a player like Danilo Gallinari, who suffered an injury just before the European championships, could provide the stability of the Italian national team, without which it is almost impossible to fight for medals.

9. Croatia

Croatian basketball has never lacked bright stars, but the national team suffers one big failure after another. Earlier this summer, the list of failures was added to the fiasco in the qualifying tournament for the world championships, in which the Croatians did not make it to the second round. Bojan Bogdanović, Dario Šarić and co are undoubtedly eager to rehabilitate themselves during the European championships, but this team lacks both a longer bench and unity. The Croatian national team will be dangerous even for the biggest favorites of the tournament, but it is hard to believe that they can play stably.

10. Finland

The Finnish national team was the first among European teams to qualify for the 2023 World Championships, so the self-confidence of the “wolf pack” should be very high. Although the team has only one basketball player of exceptional skill, Lauri Markkanen, the Finns know well how to bite the favorites, and they know even better how to fight against opponents of similar skill. The road to the round of 16 is not completely open for the Finns, but the obstacles in Group D are not very high either. Coach Lassi Tuovi can even hope that his team will not stop in the first round of the playoffs.

11. Bosnia and Herzegovina

The national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina was very unlucky in the draw. In any other group, the Bosnians would be third or fourth in terms of capacity, but they will have to fight against four favorites in the first round. However, even in Group B, the situation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina team is not hopeless. A particularly eloquent message was sent by John Roberson, Džanan Musa, Jusuf Nurkic and their teammates when they tripped up the French basketball players in the World Championship qualifying match.

12. Czech Republic

The Czech national team has come close to the European leaders in the past few years, and this year’s European championships have been prepared especially responsibly, as they will be playing at home during the group competition. However, an injury to Tomas Satoransky in training camp sent the team into a deep psychological hole, which was further deepened by setbacks in late August World Cup qualifiers against France and Hungary. The Czechs can aim for the quarter-finals of the European Championship, but only if they manage to regain their psychological balance.

13. Turkey

The Turkish national team can play desperately, they can play divinely. She can’t play steady. Stability is lacking even for Cedi Osman, Alperen Šengun and Furkan Korkmaz, who are playing in the NBA, and the naturalized American Shane Larkin, surrounded by Turks, does not seem to feel as strong as in the international Anadolu Efes team. The Giants 12 have enough individual prowess to stay out of the group but lack the cohesion to go far in the playoffs. Especially since no one can guess which day the Turks will play desperately, and which day they will play divinely.

14. Georgia

The loss of Tornikė Šengelija, who suffered a serious injury, caused irreparable damage to the Georgian national team. This loss is especially important psychologically, and the spirit of the team was not strong until then – the Georgians lost all friendly matches, even against weak opponents, and the only victory they won in August was during the qualifying match for the world championships against the Dutch (by the way, T. Shengelija was injured only during this matches). Now the biggest hope of the Georgian national team is that the stands of the Tbilisi Arena will inspire the team playing at home and it will spread its wings to fly to Central Europe.

15. Poland

Polish basketball is on a downward spiral, and the failure of the World Cup qualifiers, where the Poles did not make it to the second round, was no accident. The team is slightly stretched by its old players AJSlaughter and Mateusz Ponitka, but there is a lack of new talent. Polish fans can only rejoice because their team this time got into a weak group, where they have a chance to fight for a place in the playoffs.

16. Ukraine

This time, the Ukrainian national team will play in the official tournament without a naturalized American. It seems that this will be the biggest weakness of this team, because in the past it was the offensive players of the USA who directed the attack in the right direction. It is true that there were glimmers in the preparation stage, but the Ukrainians lost the most important qualifying match of the world championships to the Icelandic national team. Not only during this match, the most famous basketball player of Ukraine, Oleksiis Leni, played surprisingly weakly. If he doesn’t shift into a higher gear, the team coached by Ainar Bagatskis could be in trouble.

17. Israel

The Israelis expect a lot from rising star Denys Avdia, but during the pre-season he was distracted on the field without finding a place for himself. In addition, both D. Avdija and other new leaders of the Israeli national team still lack experience. Perhaps in a few years they will be ripe for greater victories, but for now, the Israeli national team should not make plans to occupy a high place.

18. Montenegro

The national team of Montenegro did not win a ticket to the European championships, but was invited to them when FIBA ​​excluded Russian teams from all competitions. Although the Montenegrins entered the basketball festival via a detour, they will not be outsiders. Bojan Dubljevičius and his comrades can equally fight against all the midgets in the tournament. On the other hand, it is difficult for the Montenegrin national team to find strong arguments when playing with favorites.

19. Belgium

The fact that one of the leaders is Emmanuel Lecomte, who played for “Prienai” and “Jonava” last season, says a lot about the possibilities of the Belgian national team. The Belgians lack individually strong basketball players, but they are often saved by their stubbornness and the good relations established during the qualifying competitions.

20. Bulgaria

Alexander Vezenkov will cause trouble for all opponents. However, in the Bulgarian national team, he can only be given a serious boost by the naturalized American Dee Bost. Most of the other basketball players are playing for their own country’s clubs and lack the experience of high-level competitions, so they will mainly be watching to see what the leading duo will do.

21. Hungary

Sometimes the Hungarian national team slips through the keyhole, but for a team that has only one European-level basketball player, Adam Hang, it is almost impossible to fight against the French, Slovenians or Lithuanians. The draw that selected Group B for the Hungarians was merciless. It is true that in other groups, the chances of Hungarian basketball players getting to the playoffs would not be high either.

22. Estonia

Even five Estonian national team basketball players are no more than 23 years old. Youthful enthusiasm will be the driving force behind this team, but the enthusiasm is not yet backed by great individual skill and experience. On the other hand, Estonian coach Juka Toijala probably has two teams in Group C to beat and will focus on these two games.

23. Great Britain

The British national team is almost the most mysterious team in the European championships. She did not play a single friendly match during the summer and only appeared in public during the World Cup qualifiers. True, the British have nothing to hide, because their composition is one of the weakest in the continental championship.

24. The Netherlands

On paper, the Dutch national team is almost the weakest team in the European Championships. There are no NBA or EuroLeague basketball players in it, and the weak lineup was further weakened when Yannick Franke, who was supposed to be the leader of the “Orange” attack, suffered an injury during a friendly match. Despite being drawn in a weak group, the Dutch are among the main contenders to return home without a win.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.