31 August, 2017
17 September
34 Giannis Antetokounmpo (GRE)
to read

Power Rankings time: Last check-up before preparation games unfold

MUNICH (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Just 35 days to go, time to check in with the teams after they made their first cuts and just before they start the preparation games.






Even the Benahavis group of players were too strong for another participant of FIBA EuroBasket 2017, Israel. Six players from that first phase of training camp have now joined the 11 "senators", including the new Spanish champs, Valencia's Vives, Oriola and Sastre.


As if facing Milos Teodosic isn't scary enough, he is coming to FIBA EuroBasket 2017 fresh off of signing his first NBA deal. To write down that his confidence is sky-high would be an understatement. Plus, they now have the world's most expensive rookie.

  Ellada last stood on the podium in 2009. Which was also the last time they had won the U20 gold…until last week! Talk about an omen, oh man! Koufos and Dorsey are out, but still in are the Human Alphabet Brothers, Bourousis, Calathes, Sloukas, Papagiannis…a lot of weapons right there. 

Jonas Valanciunas showed up for the training camp in a 1992 car worth about 1000 euros. That alone is worthy of a three-place jump in the Power Rankings. On a serious note, this really is a realistic jump, we'll get to that explanation once you scroll down to Croatia.

Rodrigue Beaubois is out. How can France overcome that absence? Oh, yeah. With De Colo, Heurtel, Fournier…Vincent Collet has a lot of options on the outside, and he will be happy to see a motivated Kevin Seraphin ready to dominate on the inside. For years to come. He said so.

Whilst everyone wants to get to Istanbul, Ufuk Sarica and the 12 Dev Adam escaped to the mountains. Bormio's 18 degrees feels much better than Istanbul's 30+ these days. The Italian Alps are a perfect place for swimming playing soccer relaxing pre-tournament workouts!

What is going on with Croatia!? Only SIX players from the Olympics are still in after Miro Bilan pulled out, the third seven-footer to do so (Zizic & Zubac). Which could prove costly if they do advance as C2 and have to face Valanciunas & co. as B1 in the Quarter-Finals.

ERAZEM IS BACK!!! The 33-year-old Lorbek joined the national team, even after being club-less for most of the last three seasons, calling this his last shot. A lot of shots are ahead of 18-year-old Luka Doncic, but he is full of confidence and wants a medal in his first try with the #mojtim.

The Italians should receive the award for the best Instagram stories straight away. Gigi Datome and Riccardo Cervi have outdone themselves. One would say that there is a lot of excitement around this team. Don’t believe me? Just click on the link to see these photos.


Milži will be the team to keep an eye on during the preparation games. They start as soon as this weekend (29/07), up against Finland. Looking at the tournament bracket, we could be in for a Pau Gasol v. Kristaps Porzingis matchup as early as the Round of 16! Drooling already here...


We know, we know. "It was just a preparation game", "It was against a Russian university team", etc. But Georgia are looking impressive early on, as Tornike Shengelia put up 24 points and Giorgi Shermadini added 18 points and 11 boards in a win over Russia in Slovenia.


Important rotation pieces Vladimir Dasic and Milko Bjelica are struggling with injuries, but Bogdan Tanjevic believes he’s got what it needs to finally see Montenegro out of the Group Phase. They failed to do so in their previous two attempts, in 2011 and 2013.


Troubled times for coach Ronen Ginzburg. He announced that three of his starting five will not be in the squad. With Petr Benda, Pavel Pumprla and Blake Schilb on leave of absence, Jan Vesely and Tomas Satoransky will have to take up almost ALL of their production.


Fans have already seen their beloved Susijengi perform, and since it was a Blue v. White duel of all the training camp invitees, no wonder nobody lost. Literally. The 4x5 mins game ended in a 53-53 draw, with smiles all around. Being around this team is fun.


Golden State Warriors added Omri Casspi to their squad over the summer, but the sharp-shooting Israeli isn't just yet thinking about the new NBA season. Casspi admitted he is having trouble sleeping with all the excitement about hosting FIBA EuroBasket 2017. So are we!


  Perhaps the biggest blow that any team has taken in the preparation period. Just before the start of the training camp, Sergey Karasev injured his shoulder and will be forced to miss out on FIBA EuroBasket 2017. Hard pill to swallow for coach Bazarevich.


Hosts Israel are growing in confidence, Italy and Georgia are looking strong early on in their preparations, and Lithuania have their eyes set on winning the gold. They are all in the same group with Germany, who will have one of the youngest squads at the event.


Coach Mike Taylor has a lot of worries on his mind just by looking at the injured list. Maciej Lampe and Przemyslaw Karnowski aren't expected in the camp before mid-August. On a positive note, one guy could realize his dream of representing his parents’ homeland.


They have no problem in taking up an underdog role in Group D. "Talk a little bit to Lithuania," coach Eddy Casteels said of that status, alluding to the FIBA EuroBasket 2015 rendezvous that saw Belgium beat the silver-medalists. More of the same, please!


Among the 15 players that have landed in Slovenia for the camp, there is nobody named Alex Len. Still waiting for their NBA star, who could single-handedly get them a win or two. In close encounters of Group B, that could push them through to the Round of 16.


Ben Gordon is in the house! He could be the mentor that guys like Carl Wheatle, the U20 Division B hero, need. Coach Joe Prunty loves the progress of the nation, saying it is becoming increasingly difficult to select the squad each year.


Don't be fooled by Hungary's low ranking. They are only this far down because of their lack of FIBA EuroBasket experience, but they still have players that San Antonio Spurs, Barcelona and Baskonia want in their squad. (We are talking about Adam Hanga, of course.)


The future sure looks bright for the island nation. Tryggvi Hlinason averaged 16.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game at the U20s, and both Kari Jonsson and Kristinn Palsson could be long-term solutions for the backcourt. Gaining experience is their first step.


Going in the right direction early on. Tunisia, FIBA AfroBasket 2011 winners and 2012 London Olympics participant, had no solution for Romania's tough defense, scoring just 56 points in a friendly game. Nice win to start their summer, in which they will host Group C.

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.