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Power Rankings: Week 1

04 August 2015
EUROBASKET 2015

With one month to go until the start of EuroBasket 2015, it is time for the first of the 2015 Power Rankings.

Disclaimer: These rankings in no way reflect any official ranking system. They are purely subjective and are intended to be viewed as such.


1

SPAIN

Revenge is a dish served sweet and that is exactly what the Spanish, with Pau Gasol back on board, will be aiming to do come September. With their current class, it is difficult to fathom them missing the gold medal game for a third consecutive major tournament.


2

SERBIA

Fresh of a silver medal showing at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, the Serbians have pulled together a just as strong, if not stronger team this time around. Began preparation with a big win over Hungary, with many of their key players only spectating.

3

FRANCE

If defending a title was not already difficult enough, winning the Nikolai Semashko Trophy at home is seemingly even more difficult, with no team achieving this goal since Germany back in 1993. A loss to Finland also signalled a less than perfect start to preparations.

4

LITHUANIA

Taking on a talent-laden Australian team twice last week, the Lithuanians twice came up trumps, showing that, despite a spate of recent retirements and missing players this summer, they remain a force to be reckoned with.

5

CROATIA

A Croatian team devoid of some of their biggest stars showed a cool demeanour at the depth against a tenacious New Zealand side, delivering the mental grit required of a top-eight team.

6

TURKEY

There is no doubt that the loss of Omer Asik is a major blow to the hopes of the Turkish, however the return of Ersan Ilyasova is a massive boost for a proud basketball nation looking to put the 2013 disaster behind them.

7

GERMANY

Playing without their two biggest stars - Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Schröder, the 2015 co-hosts began their preparations in the best-possible fashion at the Trentino Cup, knocking over Netherlands, Austria and Group Phase rivals Italy, suggesting the hosts will be joining the party in Lille.

8

FINLAND

Two top-ten finishes at the previous two EuroBaskets, 2015 could be the year Finland take one step further. They have begun their preparation on  a major high, knocking over defending champions and Final Phase hosts France, in a friendly game at home on Saturday night. 

9

SLOVENIA

Just because Goran Dragic is missing, don't forget younger brother Zoran. The charismatic guard shone for Slovenia on 3 August, scoring a game-high 22 points in a win over Australia. However, Australia bit back with a big win 24 hours later. 

10

ITALY

Despite losing the final game of the Trentino Cup to Germany, there is no major reason for Italy to panic just yet, with NBA players, Danilo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli and Andrea Bargnani not suiting up for any of their three games and Nicolo Melli sitting out the 68-69 loss to Germany.

11

LATVIA

Whilst their "A" team is yet to have a hit out, the co-hosts' "B" team put up two strong performances against African powerhouse Tunisia. Fringe EuroBasket players Martins Meiers and Injus Jakovics had particularly promising performances.

12

BELGIUM

Belgium had their first hit out on Tuesday night, taking on Benelux rival Netherlands, recording a comfortable 65-49 win. Sam Van Rossom in particular impressed, scoring 16 points.

13

GREECE

The Olympics is a motivating factor, and there is perhaps no better example of this than the Greek squad with legend Vassilis Spanoulis returning for at least one more campaign, whilst Memphis Grizzlies' Kostas Koufos looks set to return for the first time since EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.

14

RUSSIA

Despite losing Timofey Mozgov to knee surgery, a strong Russian outfit is still expected to turn out in Montpellier. They began their preparation campaign with two comfortable wins over Estonia.

15

POLAND

A comfortable win for Poland (70-52) over Czech Republic on 1 August, and a narrow escape (65-64) a night later. However, the Poles will still take plenty of confidence from it either way as they look to continue to build on their strong Second Qualification Round performances.

16

ISRAEL

Injuries to team stalwarts Guy Pnini and team captain Yotam Halperin early in the preparation phase is not the best of omens for Israel. It will be interesting to see how they now rally together to overcome this setback.

17

CZECH REPUBLIC

Not a great first showing for Czech Republic against Poland, but they will take heart from a stronger performance in their second clash against the same team, which took place behind closed doors.

18

GEORGIA

Georgia only begin their preparation games later this week when they tip-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina in back-to-back games. Given the troubles facing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia will be hoping for wins in both games to get their warm-up campaign off on the right foot.


19

THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

Parting ways with your head coach is not the typical way to begin preparations for a EuroBasket, but that is exactly what The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have done, ending their ties with Aleksandr Dzikic. They will now be hoping for some continuity by replacing him with his assistant, Marijan Srbinovski.

20

ESTONIA

One of three teams returning to EuroBasket this summer, Estonia have not exactly had the best of warm-ups, losing twice to neighbours Russia. However, 'neighbour' is the key word, and they will be expecting some big support when they play the Group Phase in neighbouring Latvia.

21

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Bosnia and Herzegovina's heavy dependence on Mirza Teletovic could prove costly this summer. Consistently their leader across a number of statistical categories at EuroBasket 2013 and in the Second Qualification Round, it will be interesting to see how they can adapt to his absence. 

22

UKRAINE

Ukraine will be hard-pressed to improve on their result of two years ago when they qualified for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, with a number of key players - and indeed legendary coach Mike Fratello - not on board this summer.

23

NETHERLANDS

Hardly the start to preparations that Netherlands would have wanted ahead of their long-awaited return to a EuroBasket Final Round, losing games to Italy, Germany, Belgium and Austria, the latter of whom did not qualify for this summer's main event. Will look for their first win of the build-up against Iceland on Friday.

24

ICELAND

It is difficult to know exactly where Iceland are at right at this moment, given they are yet to play a preparation game. A clearer picture will immerge following their Friday clash against Netherlands.

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