12 - 20
August 2023
Power rankings
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FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments: Turkiye Power Rankings

ISTANBUL (Turkiye) - As we count down towards the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments 2023, it's time for the highly anticipated Power Rankings for the event in Istanbul.

With the countdown now on until the start date of August 12 and with the Top 10 players to watch list having been issued, along with a preview of both groups, you can now check out our predictions from eight to the coveted number one spot.

8. Iceland ISL

Testament to the depth in this draw, Iceland can feel rather annoyed to be placed at the bottom of these rankings and it would not be surprise if we ended up with egg on our face.  Iceland enjoy punching above their weight as they've shown by qualifying for FIBA EuroBasket which they did in 2015 and 2017.

More recently, they've beaten Italy, Ukraine and Netherlands during the past 18 months to prove they are more than capable of producing upsets.  With point guard Elvar Fridriksson running the show and big man Tryggvi Hlinason patrolling the paint, Iceland might well make a mockery of this ranking. 

7. Sweden SWE

At 50, Sweden are one spot behind Iceland as the lowest ranked team in Istanbul. Along with Iceland, they were the only other team featuring in this draw who did not qualify for last year's FIBA EuroBasket - a tournament they've been absent from for a decade. 

But the Swedes are backing their talented youth prospects and boast several exciting young guns - including the likes of Sebastian Forsling, Bo Klintman and Tunde Vahlberg Fasasi. They will all be making their senior debuts at international level and so it could be a breakout tournament for them individually, but also Sweden as a whole. 

6.  Netherlands NED

The Netherlands  may have went winless at last year's FIBA EuroBasket but they were mostly competitive in just their second appearance at the event in the past 30 years. They have started a new era after their best player Worthy de Jong retired and switched to focus on 3x3 - something which provides a chance for some youngsters to step up and take center stage. 

Their best prospect is 6ft 11in (2.11m) center Jesse Edwards, but he'll be well supported by veterans Charlon Kloof and Yannick Franke in what looks like a well-rounded Netherlands squad. 

5. Bulgaria BUL

They were unable to emerge from the group stages at last year's FIBA EuroBasket in what was their first appearance in 11 years - even with  superstar Aleksandar Vezenkov in dominant form. 

 Despite the absence of Vezenkov for this event being a blow for their chances, they should still feel encouraged after performing well recently at the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers. Sharpshooter Pavlin Ivanov, particularly, is hoping to carry over his sizzling touch from deep. 

4. Belgium BEL

The Lions produced the shock of last year's FIBA EuroBasket when they beat eventual champions Spain in the group stages en route to a round of 16 finish. 

Guard Emmanuel Lecomte was sensational at the tournament and will again be their floor general here. But for Belgium to make a deep run they might need  20-year-old Thijs De Ridder to go up a level. 

3. Ukraine UKR

 Ukraine are a reliable performer in major tournaments and this should be no exception even without some of their big name players. 

They impressively showcased their depth of talent with solid performances at the FIBA World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers - notably veteran Vyacheslav Bobrov, who will be tasked with leading Ukraine's charge in Istanbul.

 2. Croatia CRO

Is this the tournament where Croatia rewinds the clock back to its glory days?  It's been a long time since they were a basketball powerhouse and there's still no doubts that they're stewing over missing out on this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup. Especially as it will be the second straight edition they'll be absent from. 

They clearly need a tonic and winning this event will be exactly that - although they're  likely to be without some leading lights. But they performed solidly at the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers with young gun Roko Prkacin, Toni Perkovic and Dario Dreznjak all set to arrive in Istanbul with confidence.

1. Turkiye TUR

Did you expect anyone else? The host nation are the undisputed favorite and, quite frankly, it will be a major shock to see them not emerge victorious on home soil. They will be loaded and will unleash NBA players Cedi Osman, Alperen Şengun, Omer Yurtseven and Furkan Korkmaz - along with former NBA guard Shane Larkin, who is a naturalized player. 

Turkiye simply should have too much firepower for the competition as they eye bigger fish ahead in what appears to be the start of a golden generation for them.

**he above power rankings are entirely subjective and are in no way a true, accurate or official ranking system. All comments are purely those of the author - FIBA writer and contributor, Tristan Lavalette.