2019 FIBA World Cup Group G Preview
Enzo Flojo on Aug 30, 2019 07:02 AM
Rudy Gobert will man the middle for Group G favorite France in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup (photo courtesy of FIBA.com).
With just a day to go before action tips off at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in eight different Chinese cities, it's time to look at each of the groups, gauge the teams' respective depths, and project how they will fare on the biggest stage of international basketball.
It's time to see what Group G holds for us. The games of this group will be hosted in the modern metropolis of Shenzhen, which is part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis, bordering other major urban hubs like Hong Kong and Dongguan. The two standouts in this group -- France and Germany -- will attract a lot of attention, but we also cannot casually look past the Dominican Republic and Jordan.
Note: In each of these group previews, the teams will essentially be ranked based on their confirmed rosters/pools and their most recent tune-up game results.
As of this writing, France are coming off a 5-point loss to fellow European powerhouse Serbia, 61-56, which halted Les Bleus's win streak that dated back to early August. Despite that result, however, the French remain strong favorites not just to top Group G but to go all the way to the Semi-Finals, where another date with Serbia may just take place.
Remember that France has a superbly loaded roster in China. They have no less than four NBA guys leading the squad: Rudy Gobert of Utah, Nicolas Batum of Charlotte, Evan Fournier of Orlando, and Frank Ntilikina of New York. That's already more than most other teams, and given the team's experience and chemistry, head coach head coach Vincent Collet has a legitimate podium contender in his hands.
Perhaps the only team that can give France real trouble in Shenzhen is Germany, though if their recent 3-point loss to Japan is any indication of how they'll play, the Germans may be looking over their shoulders. Still, this team has size and talent, perhaps enough to tide them past the Dominicans and Jordanians in this group but maybe not enough in the second round where they are likely to meet the top two teams from the "Group of Death."
Like France, Germany has four bona fide NBA talents here: Boston's Daniel Theis, OKC's Dennis Schroder, Dallas's Maxi Kleber, and former LA Laker Isaac Bonga, who's now with Washington. Unlike France, though, Germany doesn't have the same level of experience and chemistry at this high level, and that could prove to be the difference in terms of how far they will go.
Dark Horse: Dominican Republic
The Dominicans have had to deal with some stiff challenges both on and off the court of late, including blowout losses to Spain and Greece. A 15-point win over China was a breather, but that doesn't mean this team will be a strong contender for the second round.
Not having Al Horford and Karl-Anthony Towns hurts, of course, but there are still potential impact players to watch here like the guard pairing of Victor Liz and Rigoberto Mendoza as well as 6'11 Eloy Vargas manning the middle.
The Falcons of Jordan are honestly not expected to go far even with the presence of icon Zaid Abbas, naturalized player Dar Tucker, and prized Fenerbahçe S.K. center Ahmad Al-Dwairi. This team may give France and Germany a scare a quarter or so each game, but I don't think they have depth to advance unless they suddenly shoot 60% from the beyond the arc or something as improbable happens.
Overall, France should run the table in Shenzhen and then continue their strong play in the second round. Germany is expected to advance as well, unless the Dominicans and Jordanians suddenly play crazy good.