FIBA World Cup 2019: Power Rankings before tournament tip-off
The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup is finally here, and an expanded field of 32 teams will battle it out for basketball supremacy over the next two weeks. The usual heavy hitters such as the United States, Spain, and Serbia are all present, while Poland will make its return to the tournament after a 50-year absence.
The 18th edition of the tournament takes place in China, a country that is hopeful of eventually building a league that can rival the NBA. With the ever-improving Chinese national team also involved, few World Cup's in the past can rival the level of attention that the tournament is set to receive.
Nevertheless, while the growth of international basketball is important, teams enter the competition with the one goal of winning taking home the title. So, on the eve of the 2019 World Cup, here are how the teams measure up.
In the build-up to the World Cup, few believed Australia had any chance of winning, although the team's recent win over Team USA was a major statement of intent. The win was the biggest in the history of the national team and provided a significant confidence boost to the roster.
However, the team is missing Ben Simmons and aside from the stunning win over the US, Australia's form has been patchy. The Australians lost to Germany in their final warm-up game which marked their fourth defeat in six games.
Nevertheless, the Boomers have stayed relatively injury-free, and a lineup containing Patty Mills, Andre Bogut, Joe Ingles, and Aron Baynes can cause opposing teams plenty of problems. Competing for the title may be a step too far, however, the Australians can use the tournament as a stepping stone for next year's Summer Olympics.