Basketball Power Rankings for the Tokyo Olympics

| July 21, 2021 5:41 am PDT

We’re just days away from the torch being lit in Tokyo. The Olympic Men’s Basketball Tournament is underway soon thereafter (July 25th), and now is a perfect time to evaluate the field.

It’s widely accepted that USA is the team to beat in Japan, after all, they are the overwhelming betting favorites to be standing on the top of the podium. But who are the American’s biggest threats, and how do they stack up with one another?

That’s where an Olympic basketball power rankings post comes in handy. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way to the top.

12. Iran

  • FIBA Ranking: 23
  • Best Player: N/A
  • X-Factor: N/A

Things look bleak for Iran. As most of the teams get ready to embark on their journey to Tokyo, we’re still waiting for the official confirmation on who’s on Iran’s roster. What we do know is that Iran’s last victory at the Summer Games was in 1948.

Behnam Yakhchali figures to lead the way after averaging 16 points per game for Rockstock (Germany Pro-A League) this past season. Mohammad Jamshidi (6’7”) should play an important role. The problem is being stuck in a group with USA, France, and Czech Republic leaves little hope for the Iranians to advance.

11. Japan

  • FIBA Ranking: 42
  • Best Player: Rui Hachimura
  • X-Factor: Yudai Baba

Technically the lowest-ranked team in the field according to the FIBA rankings, Japan gets a slight bump for a couple of reasons. Playing at home means less travel and more familiarity – two things that benefit all Japanese athletes competing in Tokyo.

Secondly, Rui Hachimuri is a legitimate NBA starter who can impact the game on both ends of the floor.

If Japan has any shot of winning a game in group play, Hachimuri will need help from Yuta Watanabe (Toronto Raptors) and Yudai Baba (Melbourne United).

10. Germany

  • FIBA Ranking: 17
  • Best Player: Moritz Wagner
  • X-Factor: Johannes Voigtmann

Germany was always going to be considered a long shot to bring home a medal. However, their Olympic basketball odds plummeted even further on the heels of Dennis Schroder’s decision not to play.

Lurking at +900 to win Group B, the Germans are down to +15000 to be the last team standing.

Moritz Wagner is probably the team’s best and most notable player, although it was Maodo Lo’s 28 points that carried Germany over Croatia in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split.

Henrik Rodl and company have their hands full in the opener against a very talented Italian squad.

9. Czech Republic

  • FIBA Ranking: 12
  • Best Player: Tomas Satoransky
  • X-Factor: Ondrej Balvin

Like Germany, Czech Republic qualified for the Olympics by virtue of unexpectedly winning their OQT. Over in Victoria, Czechia averaged 100 points per game en route to stamping their ticket to Tokyo.

Tomas Satoransky hit a buzzer-beater to beat Canada in the semis before guiding Czech Republic to a dominating win over Greece in the final (97-72).

With momentum on their side, look for Czech Republic to roll over Iran in their first game to set up a crucial date with France on the 28th.

8. Italy

  • FIBA Ranking: 10
  • Best Player: Danilo Gallinari
  • X-Factor: Achille Polonara

Talk about a basketball team surging into the Olympics, Italy downed Serbia in Belgrade earlier this month without the services of Danilo Gallinari. The addition of the Hawks hybrid forward rounds out a starting lineup that is scattered with capable scorers.

Nico Mannion’s growth is vital – the Warriors rookie will be leaned on to orchestrate the halfcourt set.

With 8 of the 12 teams advancing to the knockout stage, it’ll be crucial for Italy has to take of business against Germany in game #1.

7. Nigeria

  • FIBA Ranking: 22
  • Best Player: Gabe Vincent
  • X-Factor: Precious Achiuwa

After wins against the Americans and Argentina, the D’Tigers were planted on everyone’s radar as one of the sleeper teams to watch at the Olympics. Just when everyone was rushing to get money down, Nigeria suffered a 39-point beatdown at the hands of the Australians.

Was that result a fluke, or are the Aussies that much better? We’ll find out soon enough as Naija kicks the Tokyo festivities off with a rematch against the Boomers.

Coached by Mike Brown, Nigeria is armed with eight NBA players on their Olympic roster. Including a resurgent Jahlil Okafor.

6. Argentina

  • FIBA Ranking: 4
  • Best Player: Luis Scola
  • X-Factor: Nicolas Brussino

Having an experienced leader is one thing; depending on a 41-year-old body to carry you to the finish line is another. Unlikely to finish on the podium at the Summer Games in Tokyo, perhaps I’m being a bit generous slotting the Argentines at #6 in my Olympic basketball power rankings.

After all, Argentina got progressively worse in Las Vegas while going 0-3 during exhibition play. A three-point loss to Australia at the hands of a Patty Mills buzzer-beater – that can be accepted.

On the flip side, losing by 13 to Nigeria and 28 to the United States – that poses some questions.

5. France

  • FIBA Ranking: 7
  • Best Player: Rudy Gobert
  • X-Factor: Frank Ntilikina

Wondering if France has the attention of Team USA ahead of their opening battle in Tokyo?

“We’ve been preparing for France for two years. I think about it every day.”

That was what Gregg Popovich had to say following the United States victory over Spain on July 18th. For those who don’t remember, it was France who sent “Pop” and the Americans home packing at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Rudy Gobert is a force in the post – he’s undeniably the best big man at the Summer Olympics. Evan Fournier can drop 20+ at the drop of a hat and Nic Batum glues it all together. This is a well-rounded group honing in on a podium finish.

4. Slovenia

  • FIBA Ranking: 16
  • Best Player: Luka Doncic
  • X-Factor: h

Easily the most dynamic of all the basketball players to watch at the Tokyo Olympics, Luka Doncic is talented enough to single-handedly carry Slovenia into the knockout stage and beyond.

Priced at +200 to win Group C (Argentina listed at +400), we can go ahead and throw the FIBA rankings out of the window on this one.

Mike Tobey is a genuine seven-footer hungry to wreak havoc, and Vlato Cancar is a 6’8” versatile forward currently playing for the Denver Nuggets. Having said that, there’s another “Luka” suiting up for Slovenia who we should all get familiar with.

Donning jersey #55 for the Antwerp Giants, the following Luka Rupnik highlights are reminiscent of another PG who used to wear #55. Shoutout to Jason Williams.

3. Spain

  • FIBA Ranking: 2
  • Best Player: Marc Gasol
  • X-Factor: Ricky Rubio

If anything, the seven-point loss to the US on Sunday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center should give Spain some hope. The Spanish team shot just 38.3% from the floor and under 28% from downtown. They were -11 in the turnover battle, and yet the only lost by seven to the odds-on favorites to win the gold medal.

Ricky Rubio dropped 23 points and has plenty left in the tank, as do the Gasol brothers. Speaking of the Gasol brothers, the last time they played together for Spain inside the Saitama Super Arena was at the 2006 FIBA World Championship. That ended with Pau Gasol as the tournament MVP and Spain as the champions.

2. Australia

  • FIBA Ranking: 3
  • Best Player: Joe Ingles
  • X-Factor: Jock Landale

Australia saunters into Japan firing on all cylinders. A perfect 3-0 record in Vegas included wins over Argentina and the United States, as well as the 39-point victory against Nigeria. Perhaps most impressive about their time in Sin City was the fact that they bludgeoned Naija 108-69 without their four best players.

Looking ahead to the action in Tokyo, Joe Ingles will be locked and loaded. So will Patty Mills, Arron Baynes, and Matthew Dellavedova.

Should Jock Landale (16.4 ppg, 7.8 rbg in NBL Australia this past season) play with the aggression he displayed in Vegas, the Boomers are lined up to throw a major wrench in the Americans’ plans.

1. United States

  • FIBA Ranking: 1
  • Best Player: Kevin Durant
  • X-Factor: Zach LaVine

After dealing with a couple of curveballs that led to roster changes at the 11th hour, the United States garnered some positive vibes with a victory over 2nd-ranked Spain.

Anything short of a gold medal will be considered a massive disappointment; the top Olympics betting sites installed USA at -7000 to win Group A and -500 to win the whole tournament.

Strapped with a handful of isolation players, there’s no denying the firepower brimming from this lineup. At the same time, replacing Bradley Beal and Kevin Love with Keldon Johnson and JaVale McGee clues you in on the state of Olympic basketball in the United States.

Sending a “B Team” to Tokyo should be enough, but it’s not the ideal recipe for success.

Betting on Olympic Basketball in Tokyo

Power rankings for each team in Tokyo give you an idea of what to expect on the hardwood. Our complete guide to betting on basketball at the Olympics tells you everything you need to know about getting money down – including what types of wagers you can place.

Those of you ready to fire away on the opening slate of games, our basketball picks section features previews and betting tips for each clash.

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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