What about the rest of the world?

Kurt —  August 7, 2006

We saw Team USA demolish Puerto Rico, and get to see them again tonight against China and tomorrow against Brazil — but what about the other top teams going to the world championships? Just how good are they?

Commenter Xavier, who lives in Barcelona (don’t you love the Internet, where would we have gotten this kind of info 15 years ago?), gave us a quick preview in the comments and I thought this was worth passing along.

The main front runners apart from the US are Argentina, Spain and France.

Argentina has a strong starting five, lead by Ginobili and Nocioni at the wings, Prigioni (a pass-first PG) and a frontcourt with two players that have dominated the paint in European basketball, Scola and Oberto. A tough team to play against.

Spain is one of the most explosive teams in this tournament. These guys have high basketball IQ and the press defense and different kind of zone defenses are the main characteristics of Spanish coach Hernandez. (Memphis’) Pau Gasol as main star but there are also NBA players at PG in Calderon and PF in Garbajosa (Raptors), plus NBA project Rudy Fernandez, the best shooting guard in the Euro-League JC Navarro and a solid backup for all of them.

This team loves the outside game — Navarro, Fernandez and Garbajosa have good three-point range. Watch out for Navarro, the first scoring option in this outside game, a terrific scorer, and Gasol, who has started this season to show more aggressiveness (not to mention his beard).

France will be with Spain, the most explosive team. Toni Parker is one of the quickest players and will have Mickael Pietrus and soon-to-be Sonic Gelabale who are both great athletes, the do-it-all sun Diaw and John Petro that will bring toughness to this team. Turiaf will be maybe 6th-7th man in rotation.