There have been a lot of surprises in this World Cup and that’s one of the reasons it was so exciting to watch. The tournament was over 17 days long which is longer than usual and with a somewhat novice group tier system. It didn’t detract from the quality one bit and can be a model for future tournaments.
Germany is The World Champion
Germany becoming the world champion wasn’t on the radar for most people even those considered to be experts. It was a great outcome for those fortunate few who decided to bet on Germany, however.
It goes to show that no one can predict the outcome and that betting can be quite exciting. Before making any bets, however, it’s best to first study all you need to know about Bitcoin betting and the teams you want to bet on.
However, this doesn’t mean that Germany’s win was an accident. They were the best team of the whole championship and they were clearly a better team in a finale against Serbia.
Team USA didn’t come back home with a medal. This happened after two disappointing losses against the now World Champion Germany and Canada. The losses were well-deserved with Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero, and Jaren Jackson Jr. and constant lapses in defense.
Anthony Edwards was the best player for Team USA in Manilla. Chances are that the team will have to go through some changes before the Olympics in Paris 2024.
There wasn’t much expectation out of Serbia for this championship, without Jokic on the court and with a young team that didn’t really shine in the Euro 2017. However, the team had some luck with an easy group and stellar performance against Lithuania and Canada.
Nikola Jovic was a pleasant surprise. With him being only 20 years old it’s safe to say will hear more from this outstanding young player in the years to come. Serbian was especially good in defense where Aleksa Avramovic stopped the Canada team in its tracks.
The Rise of South Sudan
The story of South Sudan was truly amazing and it goes to show much of the impact basketball has in the country and in Africa in general. South Sudan gained independence 12 years ago and it was 62nd in the world before this World Cup. It was therefore the lowest-ranked team ever to qualify for the Olympics.
Current General Manager and former NBA All-Star Luol Deng led the team and appointed, Houston Rockets assistant Royal Ivey, to be the head coach. This has proven to be a great decision and South Sudan was an unexpected powerhouse.
It became the only African team to win 3 games at the championship and it earned its ticket to Paris after a win against Angola.
A Tournament Full of Surprises
There were a lot of surprises at this World Cup. For instance, Australia and France, both of which are considered to be among the top five teams in the world, were eliminated rather easily. Neither team reached the knockout round even though their roasters were filled with NBA players.
Both teams will compete in Paris in 2024 regardless of their poor performance this year, so maybe there’s a chance we’ll see some of the performance we’ve been expecting.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson really shined this tournament and the comparison to Jordan and Bryant isn’t far off. This was especially noticeable in the game against New Zealand when fans chanted “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe” at the top of their lungs after Jordan’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson destroyed New Zealand for 39 points (12-for-24 shooting) in the first round.
He averaged 24 points, 8 rebounds, and four assists per game, which is a powerhouse performance. Hollis-Jefferson is 28 years old meaning that there’s still a good chunk of a career in front of him, but now we’re seeing the full potential this player has to offer.
Italy’s Simone Fontecchio is one of the biggest surprises of this World Cup. He’s been a Utah Jazz forward for the past two years, but has a decade of experience in European basketball, proving to be just as competitive, if not more.
He impressed all World Cup, averaging 18 points and six rebounds, and proved to be a capable three-level scorer. Chances that this will lead to a more prominent role in Utah Jazz, as no one expected this performance. Italy itself didn’t impress on the court.
Luka Doncic was a disappointment in this tournament, even though the results and the stats may not reflect it. Doncic is an impressive player and Slovenia counts on his powerhouse performance. However, at the same time, Doncic is a drag on the team in the broader sense of the world.
Against Australia, Doncic earned a technical foul for throwing the ball down the court unnecessarily. He also complained about the referees, regarding almost every decision and even implied that the referees are on the take. It goes against the rules of fair play and it has a psychological effect on the whole team.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
There’s no one player to blame for the poor result Team USA showed. However, many are pointing fingers at Jaren Jackson Jr. due to his low stats and overall lack of vigor on the court. He scored just 8.1 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per game.
It’s not just about the stats, Jackson simply wasn’t a noticeable presence on the court and both Canada and Lithuania seemed to have put a stop to the US attack all together for good parts of the game. This won’t affect Jackson’s career in the months to come but it might change the US tactics for the Olympics.
In the end, we need to mention Latvia and their shocking performance in this Championship. Latvia played a few amazing games and managed to find its spot within the top 8. On the route to that achievement, it took out France, the former world champion – Spain, and it was only two down against the current World Champion – Spain.
All of this becomes even more impressive when you consider that it’s a small European country with a population of only 1.8 million and that it’s one of the few teams with no NBA stars playing for it.
To Sum Up
We’ve just watched a great World Cup with a lot of stellar performances, great basketball, and tough and challenging matches. Out of this, many surprises came up, such as the fact that Germany won, the US underperformed, and the former world champion didn’t have much to show for it.
Serbia also had a surprisingly good performance, managed to get the silver and get a ticket for Paris, even without their star player Nikola Jokic. South Sudan and Latvia were among the other surprises and teams to watch for in the future, as they have a lot more to show us.
Photo credit: FIBA