The most efficient teams in the Asia region for 2017
MANILA (FIBA Asia) - 2017 is soon coming to a close, so let us look back at the teams that proved to be the most productive in the Asia region this year.
The following is a list of the five most efficient national teams that saw action at the two biggest continental events this year - the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 in Beirut, Lebanon and the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers that took place last month. These rankings are based on the combined efficiency ratings of each team from both tournaments, with the top five making the list.
5 - China
2017 record: 7 wins, 2 losses.
Key stats: 53.5% field goals, 37.9% 3pt shooting, 8.6 triples per game.
Team Efficiency Rating: 107.7.
There were two different Chinese teams that competed this year, but both gave commendable accounts of themselves. Guo Ailun's team were able to make it to the top five in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, while Ding Yanyuhang led his squad to an immaculate 2-0 record in the Asian Qualifiers. In addition, Team Dragon were among the deadliest offensive units this year. They finished third overall in three-point shooting behind Korea and Japan and also had the third-highest field goal percentage behind the Boomers and the Cedars. All these prove that China remain as one of Asia's best teams.
4 - New Zealand
2017 record: 4 wins, 4 losses.
Key stats: 86.5 points per game, 53.4% field goals, 83.1% free-throws.
Team Efficiency Rating: 110.9.
The Tall Blacks may not have dominated the competition in terms of getting as many wins as expected, but they were still very productive. Their win-loss record doesn't do their performance justice, especially since three of those losses came at the hands of a single team - Korea. New Zealand were the best team overall in terms of free-throw accuracy, and they fourth-best in scoring and field goal shooting, which speak of their offensive potency. This was displayed in their emphatic triumph over Hong Kong as they closed out their 2017 calendar.
3 - Lebanon
2017 record: 5 wins, 4 losses.
Key stats: 54.7% field goals, 87.1 points per game, 9.3 steals per game, 4.9 blocks per game.
Team Efficiency Rating: 115.9.
The Lebanese sputtered in the Asian Qualifiers, losing to Jordan, but that wasn't nearly enough to offset their impressive showing at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017. The Cedars made the most of their homecourt advantage at the Asia Cup, which was highlighted with landmark wins over the Philippines and Korea. They bid farewell to one of the most enduring icons of Asian hoops - Fadi El Khatib - while at the same time passing the torch to their new generation, which will be led by star playmaker Wael Arakji. By the end of both the Asia Cup and Asian Qualifiers, Lebanon finished among the top 3 teams in terms of scoring, steals and blocks while also finishing as the second-best field goal shooting squad.
2 - Korea
2017 record: 6 wins, 3 losses.
Key stats: 87.2 points per game, 25.7 assists per game, 41.6% 3pt shooting, 10.2 triples per game.
Team Efficiency Rating: 118.9.
After a subpar showing at the FIBA Asia Cup 2015 in Changsha-Hunan two years ago, Korea rebounded really well this year by finishing on the podium in Beirut and defeating highly touted New Zealand three times. Rising star Jeon JunBeom was a revelation, while old reliables Oh SeKeun, Kim JongKyu and Kim SunHyung continued to fly. They finish the year as the second best overall scoring team, which should not come as a shocker as they topped FIBA Asia in assists and three-point shooting.
1 - Australia
2017 record: 8 wins, 0 losses.
Key stats: 92.6 points per game, +29.3 point-differential per game, 42.9 rebounds per game, 24.1 assists per game, 9.8 steals per game.
Team Efficiency Rating: 130.5.
The Boomers dominated every tournament and every game in which they played. They swept the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 and both their games in the first window of the Asian Qualifiers. They finished as the top offensive and defensive team in FIBA Asia while also cracking the top three in rebounding, assists and steals. There does not seem to be any signs of slowing down for the Boomers, who remain as sure-fire favorites in all four of the upcoming Asian Qualifiers windows.