FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments: Argentina Power Rankings
LA BANDA (Argentina) - FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2023 Argentina, to be played in Santiago del Estero and La Banda, will take place on August 14-20 and award a single berth to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments next summer.
Seven national teams will compete across two groups, with the top 2 advancing to the Semi-Finals.
These is how these teams stack up heading into the tournament:
Their fortunes will depend greatly on their final roster since the presence of power forward Jasiel Rivero (who recently signed for Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv) would make a huge difference.
Rivero averaged 23.7 points and 9.3 rebounds during the World Cup 2023 Americas Pre-Qualifiers in 2021, where Cuba finished 3rd and advanced.
However, once there, Cuba went 0-6. The silver lining is that they only lost one of those games by more than 10 points and they lost all 6 games by an average of 9.7 points. Rivero averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds across those games, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Power forward Yoel Cubilla also averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in six games.
6. U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
USVI finished last at the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup, going 0-3 in group play. However, they played Puerto Rico very tight, losing by just 3 points.
They were also swept during the Americas Qualifiers, going 0-6 in what was arguably the toughest group of the first round (Canada, Bahamas, Dominican Republic).
Veteran wing Ivan Aska and 22-year-old guard Amir Nesbitt form a dangerous duo that can be quite capable of leading the Islanders to greener pastures if they end up being in the final roster.
The arrow has been pointing up for Chile for some time now.
Slowly but surely, the squad coached by Juan Manuel Córdoba is taking steps forward. They took gold at the 2022 South American Games after sweeping the slate with a 4-0 record.
They didn't fare as well during the Americas Qualifiers, finishing with a 1-5 mark and failing to advance to the second round. However, they beat Colombia (90-76) back in February last year.
The team won’t feature Sebastian Herrera this time, but Córdoba will rely on Franco Morales, Felipe Haase, Ignacio Arroyo and Aitor Picket.
And with Group B looking wide open, Chile has a decent shot to advance to the semifinals.
Colombia could be even higher on this list if they weren't missing Juan Tello and Braian Angola.
This a country that has been on the rise recently and they showed it by beating both Brazil and Mexico (on the road) in the 2023 FIBA WC Americas Qualifiers during the summer of 2022.
They also defeated Uruguay at the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup, so it's not unreasonable for them to vie for Group B's first place.
The good news for them is that Jaime Echenique, the first Colombian to play in the NBA (with the Washington Wizards), returns to join Andrés Ibargüen as a formidable twin towers look on the paint.
Uruguay finished the 2023 FIBA WC Americas Qualifiers with the best record out of their Group B competitors (5-7), notching a strong win over Puerto Rico in the second round. They also beat Colombia and Chile twice during the first round.
However, their roster next week will look much different. Joaquín Rodríguez will now helm the offense, but will require plenty of assistance from veterans Emiliano Serres, Mathías Calfani and Martín Rojas.
Argentina had a rocky journey through the 2023 FIBA WC Americas Qualifiers but seemed to have righted the ship, winning the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup and looking like their old selves.
However, a tough combination of results and a shocking loss to the Dominican Republic in the Qualifiers' very last day left them on the outside looking in and now they won’t be able to defend their silver medal from 2019.
Their road to Paris 2024 also became much harder, to the point that they’re not even the favorites here that one would expect them to be.
Look for Facundo Campazzo and Luca Vildoza to show out and for young guys like Juan Fernández and Máximo Fjellerup to take a step forward, but the next team on this list looms large on the horizon.
Continuity and familiarity aside, any squad featuring Buddy Hield, Eric Gordon, Deandre Ayton and Kai Jones is bound to be the heavy favorite.
Chris Demarco's recruiting paid off and his team will feature four NBA players with diverse skill sets that actually complement each other beautifully.
Both Hield and Gordon can handle the ball and bomb three-pointers, while also holding up very well on defense. And in the interior, Ayton and Jones are athletic, dominant and capable of doing damage in the low post and the midrange.
Combining those with a slate of solid and experienced role players (Mychal Thompson, Travis Mullings, David Nesbitt) makes for an explosive recipe in what could end up being Bahamas' best performance ever.