Watch the Boomers, Opals and Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics
Basketball is always among the most popular sports at the Olympic Games. This is how to follow the Boomers, Opals and Team USA.
Australia's men's basketball team, the Boomers, is the almost-team in the country's proud Olympic history. At 4 different Games the Boomers have played off for a bronze medal and all 4 times they have come up short.
The Opals on the other hand sure don't carry that burden. Ever since grabbing bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games, Australia's women's team was an ever present on the Olympic podium until a surprise quarter-final exit in Rio in 2016.
Team USA and it's star-studded NBA roster is another must-watch at the Olympics, but are there some cracks appearing heading into these Games? This is all you need to know about basketball at Tokyo 2020.
When do the Tokyo Olympics start?
An opening ceremony that is sure to be unlike any other due to COVID-19 protocols commences on Friday 23 July. Basketball tips off on 25 July and has fixtures every day until the gold medal matches for men and women on 7 and 8 August respectively. This year, 3 on 3 basketball has also been introduced. That will be a short and sharp competition, running from 24-28 July.
How to watch basketball at the 2020 Olympic Games
In Australia, Channel 7 is the host broadcaster of the Games. The network will be showing sport on its main channel, plus 7TWO and 7mate, plus streaming on 7plus. Australian basketball greats Andrew Gaze and Andrew Bogut will be calling the basketball action alongside veteran caller John Casey. All your viewing options for the 2020 Olympics can be found here.
What are the Boomers' medal chances?
With a roster stacked with NBA talent, led by Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes and new Boomer Matisse Thybulle from the 76ers, there is genuine belief the mountain that is the Olympic podium will finally be scaled in 2021. Ben Simmons' withdrawal was a blow, but the team still has a deep, experienced roster.
Throw in Brian Goorjian, comfortably one of the country's best coaches, and the recipe might just come together in Tokyo. We actually think they are going to do it this time by winning their semi-final and qualifying for the gold medal game, where silver will be the worst result. We'll take that!
What are the Opals' medal chances?
Even without controversial centre Liz Cambage, who withdrew a week prior to the opening ceremony (see below), the Opals will be determined to improve on a shock fifth-placing at Rio 2016. Jenna O'Hea is captaining the side at her second Games in a squad featuring 4 players currently based in the WNBA.
With stars like Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor retired, coach Sandy Brondello will be relying on the new generation to get the job done. We like their chances of snaring at least a bronze medal, with the United States, Spain and France to provide the main competition.
ALSO READ: How to watch Swimming at the Tokyo Olympics
What happened with Liz Cambage?
Cambage is among the best players in the world and has been a key figure in the Australian team since her debut at the 2010 world championships in the Czech Republic as a teenager. But she has also had a series of public disagreements and disciplinary issues along the way and has spoken a number of times about her battles with mental health.
The full story is yet to come out, but there were accusations she broke team rules in a "bubble" in Las Vegas for a pre-Olympics meet and the 29-year-old conceded there was an altercation against Nigeria in a warm-up game. With reports that some teammates were concerned about her inclusion prior to the Games, Cambage withdrew from the team. It leaves a big hole in the line-up, but may ultimately help overall with the team's camaraderie.
Will Team USA win another gold medal?
It would take a brave soul to bet against the US men winning it all again, but there have been signs of trouble in the build-up to Tokyo. Back-to-back defeats to Nigeria and Australia was a big surprise in a pre-Olympics tournament. The squad was also rocked by coronavirus concerns, with Bradley Beal forced to withdraw and Zach LaVine also affected. Kevin Love also withdrew from the squad.
In Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum et al, the team has enough class to contend with any team. But we think their hopes of Olympic gold are the shakiest since a shock bronze medal at Athens in 2004.
Australian men's squad
|Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)||32||Guard|
|Matthew Dellavedova (Melbourne United)||30||Guard|
|Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)||33||Small Forward|
|Aron Baynes (Toronto Raptors)||34||Forward|
|Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers)||24||Guard|
|Danté Exum (Houston Rockets)||26||Guard|
|Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks)||20||Shooting Guard|
|Jock Landale (Melbourne United)||25||Centre|
|Chris Goulding (Melbourne United)||32||Shooting Guard|
|Nick Kay (Real Betis)||28||Power Forward|
|Duop Reath (Illawarra Hawks)||25||Centre|
|Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets)||31||Shooting Guard|
|Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers)||18||Guard|
|Xavier Cooks (Winthrop Athletics)||25||Forward|
|Brock Motum (Galatasaray)||30||Forward|
Australian women's squad
|Rebecca Allen (Arka Gdynia Poland/New York Liberty)||28||Forward|
|Katie Ebzery (Perth Lynx)||31||Guard|
|Cayla George (Deakin Melbourne Boomers)||32||Centre|
|Tessa Lavey (Bendigo Spirit)||28||Guard|
|Tess Madgen (JCU Townsville Fire)||30||Guard|
|Eziyoda Magbegor (Deakin Melbourne Boomers)||21||Centre|
|Leilani Mitchell (Jayco Southside Flyers)||35||Guard|
|Jenna O'Hea (Jayco Southside Flyers)||33||Guard/ Forward|
|Alanna Smith (Incheon Shinhan Bank S-Birds/Phoenix Mercury)||24||Forward|
|Stephanie Talbot (Adelaide Lightning/Minnesota Lynx)||26||Forward|
|Marianna Tolo (University of Canberra Capitals)||31||Centre|
United States men's squad
|Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)||24||Forward/ Centre|
|Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)||24||Guard|
|Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)||32||Forward|
|Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons)||27||Forward|
|Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)||31||Forward|
|Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)||31||Guard|
|Keldon Johnson (San Antonio Spurs)||21||Guard|
|Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls)||26||Guard|
|Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)||31||Guard|
|JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets)||33||Centre|
|Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)||29||Forward|
|Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)||23||Forward|