Group A: Argentina always formidable
A newcomer to the national team, Pablo Prigioni, had the most assists ever in the Euroleague this year and strengthens an already dynamic group. However, some spotty play in recent games leads me to think some complacency might be setting in. Regardless, the World Championship goes through them, at the moment, and not the United States.
While not one of the favorites, France has six NBA players on its roster, so intimidation shouldn't be a factor.
Former Minnesota Timberwolves guard Igor Rakocevic is a scoring machine and 6-foot-5 guard Uros Tripkovic is one of the best NBA draft prospects in the tournament.
In his absence, scoring guard Oscar Torres has NBA experience, and center Richard Lugo is no Carl Herrera, but a serviceable inside player.
If there is a bright spot for this team, it is underrated forward Fadi El Khatib, who averaged 17 points a game at the World Championship in Indianapolis in 2002.
Although this team has some recognizable NCAA names on its roster and is coached by a former Michigan State standout in Sam Vincent, the national team program is still in its infancy stage. Funding has been an issue and recently two of its players with NBA experience, Olumide Oyedeji and Obinna Ekezie, were dismissed from the team.
Tunji Awojobi (Boston University), Julius Nwosu (Liberty), Al Anagonye (Michigan State), Ebe Ere (Oklahoma) and Kelenna Azubuike (Kentucky) will not strike fear into a lot of hearts in Japan.