31 August, 2019
15 September
14 Dwight Powell (CAN), 5 Rj Barrett (CAN)
to read

From Offense to Defense, these were the Best Teams of the Qualifiers

MIES (Switzerland) - If there's one thing that was undeniably apparent in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, it's how the level of international basketball has been significantly raised.

So many teams stood out, and this is where we'll recognize their achievements over the past fourteen months of intense international basketball.

Best Scoring Team per region

# Zone Country Scoring Average
1 Americas Canada 92.2
2 Asia New Zealand 90.8
3 Africa Nigeria 89.4
4 Europe Germany 84.8

The Canadians were a powerhouse team in the Americas Qualifiers, winning their final 10 games after splitting their first 2 contests, and much of it was because of their terrific offense. New Zealand weren't too shabby, too, ending the Asian Qualifiers as the highest scoring team, while Nigeria just dominated the African Qualifiers with nearly 90 points per game.

Best Defensive Team per region

# Zone Country Points Allowed Average
1 Africa Tunisia 54.5
2 Asia Australia 60.6
3 Americas Argentina 64.6
4 Europe France 64.8

Tunisia are the only team in the entire World Cup Qualifiers to have limited their opponents to under 60 points 8 times, and though it's mainly because they played relatively slow and deliberate basketball, one cannot deny the results. The Australians' defense over in the Asian Qualifiers was pretty tight as well, limiting opponents below 60 points in 6 contests.

Best Three-Point Shooting Team per region

# Zone Country 3-Point Percentage
1 Asia New Zealand 41.9 percent
2 Europe Poland 41.7 percent
3 Americas USA 38.9 percent
4 Africas Nigeria 34.9 percent

The Tall Blacks were an absolutely effective offensive squad in the Asian Qualifiers, especially because of their outside shooting. Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster, Tai Webster and Ethan Rusbatch all hit at least 1.7 triples per game for the best shooting team of the entire Qualifiers. Poland were also very impressive, with Adam Waczynski and Maciej Lampe combining for 5.6 triples per contest.

Best Rebounding Team per region

# Zone Country Rebounds Average
1 Americas Venezuela 44.4
2 Asia Jordan 44.3
3 Africa Nigeria 43.3
4 Europe Spain 39.6

Venezuela don't have the biggest guys, but their leading the entire Qualifiers in rebounding is a testament to their tenacity and box-out proficiency. Gregory Echenique, their biggest guy at 6ft 11in (2.10m), is also their leading rebounder with 8.0 boards per game. Jordan and Nigeria, meanwhile, have also been quite good on the boards, and that helped them successfully qualify to the World Cup.

Best Playmaking Team per region

# Zone Country Assists Average
1 Asia Korea 23.3
2 Europe France 21.7
3 Americas Canada 21.6
4 Africa Nigeria 19.5

Ra GunA was a tower of power for Korea, but their biggest team asset was brilliant playmaking, with Kim SunHyung, Lee JungHyun and Park ChanHee all chiefly responsible for Korea's sublime ball movement. France and Canada also did well, with Thomas Huertel and Kevin Pangos leading the way respectively.

Best in Steals per region

# Zone Country Steals Average
1 Africa Nigeria 10.8
2 Asia Iran 10.2
3 Europe Greece 10.2
4 Americas Dominican Republic 9.8

One reason for Nigeria's dominance in Africa was their aggressive defense, mainly seen through their competition-best steals total. They also had 4 players with at least 2.0 steals per game, including Caleb Agada, who had 2.7 per contest. Iran and Greece also had commendable steals totals in Asia and Europe respectively.

Best in Rim Protection per region

# Zone Country Blocks Average
1 Asia Philippines 4.5
2 Americas Canada 3.6
3 Africa Senegal 3.5
4 Europe Greece 3.4

Andray Blatche is the anchor for the Philippines' awesome interior defense, but he's not the only one swatting shots. JP Erram and Beau Belga each blocked 1 shot per game to add to Blatche's 2.1 rejections per contest. For their part, Canada and Senegal were also impressive on defense with 3.5 or more blocks per outing.

Most Efficient Team per region

# Zone Country Efficiency Per Game
1 Americas Canada 113.8
2 Asia New Zealand 111.7
3 Africa Nigeria 106.3
4 Europe Lithuania 100.7

As mentioned above, Canada were a powerhouse in the Qualifiers. The Road Warriors got the job done on both ends, and there's no doubt they're probably going to be just as potent in the World Cup this year. The Tall Blacks were also quite efficient - a big reason they were among Asia's early qualifiers to the World Cup, while the Nigerians just flat out dominated in Africa.