Although the FIBA Asia 2013 Championships are far from over, the region should already be thinking about the FIBA World Cup.
There are three spots on the line for the prestigious tournament that will be earned over the next week. However, not every squad that reaches the next stage will do well.
The Asian representatives have struggled at the international level and things would only get worse if there are more upsets at the current championship.
Still, there are a few teams with the ability to challenge for medals at the World Cup. The delegation will have to hope that these clubs get one of the bids.
No team has been more dominant throughout FIBA Asia than Iran. Not only has the team won all five of its games to start the event, none of the contests have been even close.
Iran started things off with a 90-point win over hapless Malaysia, and then proceeded to win its remaining games all by double digits. At this point, it would almost be surprising to see anyone else take the title.
Hamed Haddadi has been a force in the low post on both ends of the court, and his size at 7'2" makes it difficult for any opponents to score inside. Hamed Afagh has been a great complement to the big man with his strong shooting from the outside in recent games.
This country does not have a strong history of success in basketball, but the future looks bright. If it can play as well as it has to this point, it will not be long until it is on par with the rest of the world.
With a long list of quality scorers who can shoot the ball from anywhere, South Korea has a chance to match up with anyone in the world.
In the team's last game against Bahrain, six different players were able to score in double figures. This balance makes it almost impossible for opponents to defend South Korea, as anyone can hurt you over the course of a game.
That being said, Sung-Min Cho has been one of the more consistent players in the tournament and has helped tremendously with his solid play.
Coming into the event, this squad was far from guaranteed to get one of the top-three spots. However, it has shown that it is among the best in Asia and ready to compete with the best opponents in the world.
Although China has not performed well in the preliminary rounds of FIBA Asia, this is still one of the most talented squads in the tournament.
Yi Jianlian is a matchup nightmare as a 6'11" forward who can shoot and drive to the basket. Unfortunately, he has been hurt and unable to play to his maximum ability.
When he is healthy, however, China is arguably the best in the region. It was the lone representative at the 2012 London Olympics and was the only one to reach the knockout stage at the 2010 FIBA World Cup.
After the team's two early losses, it will be tough for the squad to repeat as champions after winning in 2011. However, this group likely will make the deepest run at the international level if it reaches that point.
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