Home » Boomers brace for ‘Group of Death’, Opals set for tough road as 2024 Olympics basketball draw revealed

Boomers brace for ‘Group of Death’, Opals set for tough road as 2024 Olympics basketball draw revealed

The Boomers may have collected their first-ever medal at the Olympics in Tokyo but even getting to the second round this year looks a tough challenge for Brian Goorjian.

Why? Well, the Olympic basketball draw took place in Switzerland on Wednesday morning [AEDT] and the results were not favourable for Australia’s men’s team.

Sure, the fact that only 12 teams qualify for the Olympics in the first place means the level of competition is always going to be high as is.

But the Boomers face a particularly tough road to the podium after being drawn into what has already been branded the ‘Group of Death’, with Josh Giddey set to take on Oklahoma City teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

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Gilgeous-Alexander’s Canada, who beat Team USA to finish third at last year’s FIBA World Cup, is the only other nation locked into Group A alongside Australia.

Canada, of course, is stacked with NBA talent and likely to be bolstered by the inclusion of championship-winning guard Jamal Murray, who withdrew from the World Cup last year.

Australia’s other two opponents will be determined by two qualifying tournaments in Spain and Greece.

Spain hosts Angola, Finland, Lebanon, Poland and the Bahamas in the first of the tournaments and is more than likely to book its spot in Group A.

Greece, meanwhile, will play host in the other tournament which also features Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, New Zealand and Slovenia.

Slovenia, Greece and Croatia loom as the most likely candidates to come out of that tournament on top, although the Dominican Republic surprised Italy at last year’s World Cup to prove it is no easy-beat.

Either way, the Boomers have to finish in the top two of Group A to progress through to the second round and that will be quite the task.

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Slovenia, of course, ended the Boomers’ World Cup campaign last year on the back of some Luka Doncic magic while Giannis Antetokounmpo would be just as hard to handle should Greece book its ticket to Lille, where the pool games will take place.

Spain, meanwhile, would present a unique mental challenge for the Boomers, who were denied bronze by the No. 2 ranked nation at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The path to a medal is challenging for the Opals too, who have been drawn into a group alongside No.5 Canada, No.7 France and No. 12 Nigeria.

The Opals lost to France 70-57 in their opening game of the 2022 FIBA World Cup before beating Canada 75-72 in a thriller to book their spot in the knockout stage.

All eyes will be on whether Lauren Jackson suits up for one final shot at a medal, having previously indicated she wouldn’t be heading to the Games before then leaving the door open.

MEN’S BASKETBALL AT PARIS 2024 OLYMPICS

Group A: Australia, Canada, TBD, TBD

Group B: France, Germany, Japan, TBD

Group C: Serbia, South Sudan, USA, TBD

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL AT PARIS 2024 OLYMPICS

Group A: Serbia, Spain, China, Puerto Rico

Group B: Canada, Nigeria, Australia, France

Group C: Germany, USA, Japan, Belgium