This is where the list gets particularly subjective. There are some that would be willing to put the French atop this ranking based on what happened a couple of summers ago. There’s just something that feels off about this squad.
At the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert guided France to a 10-point upset over tournament favorite Team USA in the quarterfinals. Ultimately, they finished third in the competition.
The team took home the silver medal at EuroBasket 2022, but the scores suggest France wasn’t heads and tails above everyone besides Spain. They played in a lot of close games and needed overtime numerous times to survive what would’ve been devastating defeats.
The experience France carries into this tournament is a double-edged sword. Fournier and Gobert are on the roster. So are long-time national team veterans Nando De Colo and Nicolas Batum.
But that’s also an old core. Every one of those players is at least 30 years old. The only player on an NBA roster who is younger than that is Frank Ntilikina, a backup guard who just signed with the Charlotte Hornets.
If Joel Embiid or Victor Wembanyama opted into playing for France this summer, the team would arguably shoot to the top of Team USA’s contenders. Instead, the ceiling feels capped, though the presence of Wembanyama in the future will make France a persistent threat on the international stage.
While Latvia is sneaky good, Lebanon should not be much of a threat in France’s group. The other team is Canada, so the French should get a shot at the knockout rounds and another win over Team USA this summer.