The golden formula in the Basketball World Cup: be the best team and not the best | basketball | Sports

World champion. European Champion. Number one in the FIBA ​​ranking. There is no better poster possible than that of Spain before the World Cup that is held from this Friday until September 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Sergio Scariolo’s group puts the crown at stake in an appointment with many top teams but less stardom. Luka Doncic leads Slovenia, but compared to the last Eurobasket, the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is recovering from a knee operation, and the Serbian Nikola Jokic, with just enough gasoline after conquering the NBA ring with Denver, have fallen off the catwalk . The focus is on the orchestras more than on the soloists, and there Spain dictates a teaching profession for that union philosophy stapled to its DNA.

La Familia has patented the formula for success. The United States seeks to find the key after seventh place in the past World Cup, its worst historical classification. Steve Kerr enlists 12 rookies with the mission of parking their egos for a couple of weeks. FIBA points to the North American team as the great favorite ahead of two very powerful and in good shape groups, Germany and France, led by point guard Schröder and center Gobert. Spain knocked out the Germans in the Eurobasket semifinals and the French in the final, and is now in fourth place in the pools above Canada, led by Jordi Fernández. The Spanish team returns to that covert role from which it emerged as continental champion in Berlin.

The debut will come this Saturday at the Jakarta headquarters against the Ivory Coast (3:30 p.m., La1), the team coordinated by an old Spanish acquaintance, former forward Anicet Lavodrama, today sports director of the African team. Despite the supposed inferiority of the rival, Scariolo insists on starting at the top. If in the Eurobasket there was a track ahead to pick up speed, now he has to push the accelerator fully from the start. Brazil and Iran complete a group whose first two classified access a second round that will complete the two best between France, Canada, Latvia and Lebanon. And from that second league there will be two places for the quarterfinals.

The look at the Eurobasket is inevitable. Spain came with a group in transition and seven rookies in a great event. Seven of them repeat in the World Cup (Díaz, Brizuela, Parra, Rudy, Willy and Juancho Hernangómez and Garuba) within a more expert squad, lined with Llull, Claver and Abrines, and in which the rookies are reduced to two in a high-level stage: point guard Juan Núñez, a 19-year-old substitute for Ricky Rubio, and center Santi Aldama, 22. The Memphis player is today the only NBA representative after Oklahoma has dispensed with Garuba, a World Cup without a team.

As a gift, the World Cup distributes tickets for the 2024 Games: in the European basket, two direct passports for the two best without counting the host France. Any other result leads to a pre-Olympic that is a trap: Argentina, world runner-up, is out of this Asian conclave and Paris. In contrast, the fairy tale of Edy Tavares’ Cape Verde, the country with the smallest population (600,000 inhabitants) to ever play a World Cup.

Everything is open in this exotic World Cup, the prelude to Qatar 2027 (Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani is the new FIBA ​​president). With Doncic as a superstar, with the US in search of redemption, with Germany, France and Canada aspiring to the top, with the Games on the horizon. And of course, with that Spain champion of everything that appeals to its greatest strength. Captain Rudy summed it up yesterday: “We didn’t set out to be the best. We want to be the best team”.

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