Ranked No. 7 in the FIBA World Rankings, Turkey will be going into battle with Omer Asik leading the charge. However, things aren't feeling too promising at the moment.
"On paper, Turkey should be a major threat," writes Pelton. "After all, as hosts four years ago, Turkey reached the final. Turkey has got plenty of talent around Omer Asik. Yet Turkey went 1-6 in exhibition games, including all three played on home soil."
On the flip side, Ukraine enters the festivities ranked No. 45 in the world, but it's poised to make that spot look foolishly low. Despite playing a tough exhibition schedule, the Ukrainians still fared quite well for themselves, and there's plenty of talent on the roster.
With Sergii Gladyr, Eugene "Pooh" Jeter, Oleksandr Lypovyy and Viacheslav Kravtsov leading the charge, this country should be considered the favorite to take home the No. 2 spot in Group C. The Dominican Republic, Turkey and New Zealand all have better pedigrees and solid world rankings, but Ukraine is in great form heading into Spain.
12. Puerto Rico
Overlooking J.J. Barea in international competition is a big mistake. The diminutive floor general might not be finding too much success in the NBA, but he always turns his game on for Puerto Rico, taking over as a leading scorer and thriving in that role.
Carlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman should both make solid contributions for this squad, and if everyone is in tip-top shape, there's a slight chance there's an upset at the top of Group B. Puerto Rico should by no means be the favorite—in fact, they trail both Argentina and Greece in these rankings—but they're also not out of the running.
What? A country with a pedigree like Argentina isn't even going to make the top 10?
I can hear the griping already, but the facts don't look too good for the Argentines. Without Manu Ginobili, this is a young, inexperienced squad relying on a few aging veterans like Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni. Fabricio Oberto and Carlos Delfino aren't playing either.
Facundo Campazzo is promising, but he won't be enough for a team that's struggled mightily in exhibition matches and is still recovering from controversy with the Argentine Basketball Federation.
Things aren't looking good here.