The Tokyo 2020 Olympics ended up being a proof of dominance for the USA and Kevin Durant, who was also named MVP of the tournament, but also Luka Doncic, Pa tty Mills, Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio stole the spotlight and created an admirable tournament best five.
Per FIBA:Sorted by positions – the two guards, two forwards and one center – the Tokyo 2020 All-Star Five hail from five different nations: the four Semi-Finalists and one Quarter-Finalist in Spain.
Ricky Rubio was the preeminent point guard of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The Spaniard only had one 20-point game for the senior national team before coming to these Olympics; the pass-first point guard would go on to set a couple of records in the Saitama Super Arena.
Rubio had 20, 26, 18 and 38 points over his four games, with his 38-point explosion setting the new single-game record for Spain at the Olympics. Since all of those 38 came against the USA, it also marks the most points scored by a player versus the United States since they started playing with professional athletes in 1992. Rubio’s tournament averages were 25.5 points and 6.0 assists per game.
The shooting guard position belongs to Australia’s Patty Mills. Even if there was any doubt for this spot, the flag bearer erased it with an unbelievable performance of 42 points and 9 assists in the Bronze Medal Game against Slovenia. Coming into that contest, Australia had never won an Olympic medal in Men’s Basketball. Mills wasn’t going to let it happen this time around.
“I just tried to leave it all out there and it is a cliched thing to say that the tank was very empty. But you just knew that you needed to find deeper layers to be able to pull the best out of us for the team and that is what all of us done,” Mills said after picking up his first Olympic bronze.
Slovenia lost the battle for third, but still showed a lot of pride. A country of two million people was battling neck and neck with the perennial juggernauts of the world and showed they have a superstar of their own in Luka Doncic.
The Slovenian is listed as a small forward, but realistically he plays the point forward position with his skill to organize the plays as the extended arm of coach Aleksander Sekulic. Doncic picked up the first Olympic triple-double since 2012, and just the third one in the history of the Games with his 16 points, 18 assists and 10 rebounds in the Semi-Finals. Showcasing Doncic’s sublime tournament play, the Slovenian almost averaged a triple-double for the entire event: 23.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.5 assists.
Doncic would’ve been a strong candidate for the MVP, but Kevin Durant had other ideas. He was the top scorer of the Final for the third time running, after dropping 30 points in both 2012 and 2016, he had 21 at the half of the Tokyo 2020 Final and finished with 29 points, just one shy of the Olympic Finals record, which he shares with Adrian Dantley.
Durant has now won three Olympic gold medals, and as the MVP of the Men’s Basketball Tournament, he could be going for a fourth gold in three years’ time in Paris. Team USA needed him to step up after the early struggles and the loss to France, and he delivered on a level that proves once again he is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
With Rubio and Mills as the guards, Doncic and Durant as the forwards, the center position went to France. Rudy Gobert’s rim protection has always been praised, and he had three big games when it mattered most for France.
The Utah Jazz center dominated against Italy in the Quarter-Finals with 22 points and 9 rebounds. He then had 9 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks, including two on dunk attempts against Edo Muric and Vlatko Cancar, in the Semi-Final against Slovenia. Gobert finished up with team-highs of 16 points and 8 rebounds in the Final against the USA.