After finishing fourth in 2019’s FIBA World Cup and taking home bronze in the Summer Olympics of 2021 in Tokyo, Australia underperformed in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, not reaching the top eight of the tournament with a young crew that heavily relied on their small-ball schemes and have made OKC Thunder star Josh Giddey as their focal point on offense.
Australia finished the tournament with three wins and two losses, but it was not enough to advance as the Luka Doncic-led Slovenia and former OKC Thunder guard Dennis Schroder Germany dominated their competition to top their group; both Slovenia and Germany dealt Australia their losses in the World Cup.
The OKC Thunder have seen two players take the floor for the Australia Boomers; what are the three biggest takeaways from their performance?
The Boomers ended their World Cup campaign against Georgia, winning 100-84 in a virtually meaningless game for both squads. Australia led the entire outing and displayed the brilliance that made them one of the favorites to win the tournament. But it just was not meant to be for the guys down under.
Josh Giddey had 15 points, four assists, and three rebounds in that game. He shot 7-for-9 from the field and only missed one two-point shot and one three-pointer. It was an efficient ending for Giddey, who has become Australia’s golden boy in the tournament, having all the keys of the offense for them.
For most, though, their World Cup results were a disappointment. Blame has been thrown across the team, including Josh Giddey and fellow OKC Thunder Jack White.
Nevertheless, they focus now on the Paris Olympics next year, where they will try to top their podium finish in Tokyo.
The World Cup has been a great off-season platform to assess Giddey and White’s game. They have been fixtures in every Australian game in the tournament and have revealed tremendous and not-so-great things for the Thunder for the upcoming season.