FIBA has come and gone and as expected, the USA won with no threat to their gold medal dreams. This has been the relative norm ever since NBA players were allowed into international competition back in 1992. A concern I had while watching this year’s World Cup was that this particular USA team had a very, very young squad with every player, with the exception of Rudy Gay (who really shouldn’t have been on the team anyway) was born after 1988. Despite the wave of youth in the team and not entering the best players the US has to offer (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Paul George, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant etc.) they still managed to annihilate every opponent put forth. Spain was a very real chance to contend if they had not been shockingly knocked out by France and France themselves could have caused an even bigger upset then they did had the put forth a full strength team, but USA was still always going to be immensely heavy favourites.
The concern I had with this is that the World Cup should be the pinnacle of all basketball competitions, yet attendance and fan interest compared to the soccer world cup and the NBA is laughable. The only way to fix this is if the other countries start to challenge the US to ensure games aren’t over well before half time. Originally it seemed that this wasn’t going to happen any time soon seeing as though the US had a squad they could easily put forward for the 2018 and possibly 2022 World Cup with out a single change in the roster, until I dove into the international talent that is floating around and making huge strides to better themselves at basketball. So I thought I would select the 5 best basketball countries outside of the US who seemingly have the brightest future and take a look at what prospective and current talent they have to try and make the World Cup what it should be. Continue reading