And then there was one. Germany is your 2023 FIBA World Cup champions!
The Germans ought to have respect in basketball’s global realm. They reign supreme as underdogs in a competition filled with the sport’s best talent.
Note that they did it without other NBA-level talents like Maxi Kleber and Isiah Hartenstein.
In any case, Germany finished the World Cup with a perfect 8-0 record. It was a product of solid all-around performance as the unit put forth good defense, ball movement, outside shooting, and constant poise, regardless if they’re winning big, trailing, or looking to survive a back-and-forth affair.
As seen in their schedule and its final scores, they simply took care of business against lesser opponents and barged through the supposedly superior ones:
- August 25 – Germany 81, Japan 63
- August 27 – Germany 85, Australia 82
- August 29 – Germany 101, Finland 75
- September 1 – Germany 100, Georgia 73
- September 3 – Germany 100, Slovenia 71
- September 6 (Quarterfinals) – Germany 81, Latvia 79
- September 8 (Semis) – Germany 113, USA 111
- September (Finals) – Germany 83, Serbia 77
The expected one-side wins over Japan, Finland, Georgia, and Slovenia (despite Luka Doncic’s presence) still deserve a mention as they exude defense and focus all throughout. Whatever the opposition’s style is, Germany cooked something up to attack any weakness.
Among the other highlights is the upset win over Australia in the group stages. They took the Aussies’ biggest shots and just kept hanging around until they eked out the victory. Eventual World Cup Most Valuable Player Dennis Schroder had a team-high 30 points, and it became one of his handful of fabulous moments in the tournament.
The hard-fought, future classic battle with Latvia was a classic too, and it showcased other guys stepping up as they got over Schroder shooting a horrendous 4-of-26 from the floor. Wagner brothers Mo and Franz Wagner, Andreas Obst, and Johannes Voigtmann all reached double figures and combined to make 17 of their 24 shots – a good way to foil Dennis’s historic off-night.
Then, against Team USA, which also turned out to be an instant classic, everyone just came to play their guts out and it showed – Obst, in particular, as he put up a game-high 24 points and hit a big three-pointer that helped maintain their distance against the Americans. Schroder hit one later as well.
Finally, the Serbia performance just bookended it quite nicely. They got it done on both ends, with Schroder leading the attack with 28 points and Franz Wagner adding 19, and the collective defense holding the red-hot Serbians to just 41.6% shooting, including 9-of-29 from downtown.
The team’s decorated third-year veteran head coach, Gordon Herbert, who’s actually Canadian-Finnish, deserves a huge amount of first credit as he did a good job putting egos in one big bag – he and Schroder did have that one incident, but all in all, he did well. It’s a group made up of NBA players (Schroder, the Wagner bros, Daniel Theis, and Isaac Bonga) who know they’re the top talents on the roster, and other locals who want to prove their place, like the sharpshooting Obst, who in his prime, and the veteran Voigtmann, just to name a few.
It will be interesting to see how this amazing run can help their NBA careers moving forward, especially since they have different paths. Schroder will be the Toronto Raptors’s new starting point guard this season, Franz Wagner is a key young talent for the rising Orlando Magic, while Mo Wagner and Theis are both solid role players.
Additionally, maybe Obst can land an NBA contract? Maybe Bonga can return into a roster? Maybe Herbert can be an assistant again, perhaps even a head coaching position?