Home » Australia’s ‘group of death’ confirmed for Olympic men’s basketball tournament

Australia’s ‘group of death’ confirmed for Olympic men’s basketball tournament

Australia’s ‘group of death’ confirmed for Olympic men’s basketball tournament

The men’s Olympic basketball group of death stands between Australia and another medal after former NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Greece side, as well as world No 2 Spain, secured their places. The Boomers had already known they would meet Canada, a side led by world class guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray, and who finished third at last year’s World Cup after beating the USA in the bronze medal game.

Results in Olympic qualifying tournaments on Monday morning confirmed the remainder of Australia’s draw in Group A. Greece overcame Croatia 80-69 at home, with Antetokounmpo scoring 23 points to help secure his first Olympic appearance. Spain bested the Bahamas, at home 86-78, thanks to 18 points from naturalised American Lorenzo Brown, 15 from former NBA player Willy Hernangómez and 12 from Memphis Grizzlies forward Santi Aldama.

Group B features hosts France, Germany, Japan and Brazil, and Group C includes the USA alongside Serbia, South Sudan and Lithuania or Puerto Rico.

The Boomers finalised their squad on the weekend, cutting athletic on-ball defender Matisse Thybulle despite his proven NBA prowess. The squad is led by Patty Mills, who is joined at his fifth Olympics by veteran Joe Ingles.

After the team secured a first Olympic medal in Tokyo, the Paris squad represents a changing of the guard. Point guard Josh Giddey, centre Jock Landale and shooting guard Josh Green – who played the sixth-most minutes for Dallas in their NBA finals loss to Boston last month before being traded to Charlotte – have emerged as three of the more influential players on the roster.

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The tournament at the Paris Games is split across three pools, with the top two in each guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals. The top two of the three third-placed teams will also go through, based on wins and point differential. However, the high calibre of Australia’s group makes it more difficult for the Boomers to progress if the team finishes third in the group, given it will be challenging to win against any of the three group opponents with a large margin of victory.

The Boomers meet Spain on 27 July in their opening match, before games against Canada and Greece. Pool matches will be held in Lille, before the tournament shifts to Paris for the knockout stages. The Opals also face Canada in their group in the women’s tournament, along with hosts France and Nigeria.