Four teams will advance from each group after round-robin play.
1 1 Argentina Not only are Manu Ginobili & Co. deep and
aggressive, but they also play a winning style, moving without
the ball like the Bill Walton-era Portland Trail Blazers.
1 2 Serbia and Montenegro Though the world champs are in
transition (and without Peja Stojakovic, who's skipping the
Games), they still have forward Dejan Bodiroga, the Larry Bird of
August 1, 2004
1 3 Spain With Pau Gasol and guard Juan Carlos Navarro, a 2002
Washington Wizards draftee, the Spaniards are a dark-horse medal
1 4 China Coach Del Harris must raise the level of his backcourt
to complement NBA giants Yao Ming and Mengke Bateer.
1 5 Australia No longer in the shadow of Andrew Gaze (who's
retired), point guard Shane Heal leads a veteran group that plays
like a Big Ten team.
1 6 Italy Surprise qualifiers, the Italians need a lot of
miracles from their talented backcourt of Gianluca Basile and
1 1 U.S. After three losses at the 2002 world championships, the
Americans are counting on better chemistry and leadership from
Tim Duncan and--believe it or not--Allen Iverson.
1 2 Lithuania Went unbeaten at the '03 Euro championships with
help of assistant coach (and Dallas Mavericks president) Donn
1 3 Greece Despite the absence of Jake Tsakalidis, the Greeks
will overachieve with balanced scoring and the home court
1 4 Puerto Rico A difficult opponent because of the NBA twosome
of guard Carlos Arroyo and 7'1" Daniel Santiago--plus, possibly,
6'10" 40-year-old Jose Ortiz.
1 5 New Zealand The overmatched Kiwis will struggle to match
their shocking fourth-place finish at the 2002 worlds.
1 6 Angola A decade from now Africa will contend for a medal,
but for the moment the continent's champions remain the weakest
entry in the field.