What we learned from EuroBasket 2022 finals

Published September 24, 2022, 7:00 AMIsaac Go

Analyst Isaac Go has a few takeaways from the gold medal game between Spain and France in the EuroBasket 2022 finals.

Two powerhouses competed for the gold medal in the EuroBasket 2022 finals: Spain and France. The Spanish came in as one of the winningest counties in EuroBasket history and the French were looking to get their second title overall. In the end, Spain got its fourth championship after an entertaining matchup between the two European heavyweights. 

Spain prevailed thanks to the hot shooting of Juancho Hernangomez and his brother, Willy, who took home tournament MVP honors. 

There are a lot of takeaways that we can learn from the EuroBasket finals.

Building a team takes time

Only one team in the world has the luxury of just putting a team together and becoming automatic contenders and that is USA basketball. Every other successful team typically requires continuity and time to prepare, and both France and Spain are good examples of it. 

Both teams have a core of about four to five players at any given time that is consistently present, although there is also a rotation of players that come in and out of the program. Because they rely on the same core and have that form of continuity, they never need to go back and teach everything from scratch despite the short preparation time. When the teams come together, they just have a refresher and continue moving forward rather than have to go back and reteach the fundamentals of their system. This way they continue to move forward and focus on team building rather than the basics. 

There's no ‘I’ in team

Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetoumpo were arguably the three biggest names coming into the tournament, and yet, none of them made the semifinals. A young Luka and Goran Dragic did lead Slovenia to their only gold medal (EuroBasket 2017) but that was more of an outlier. In a tournament setting, it seems that teams that find success typically have a lot of really good players rather than having that one star. There are of course exceptions to this, but they get maybe one championship at most. If you wanna maintain consistent success, team building is more important than finding a generational talent. 

From Stifle Tower to Twin Towers

France had one of the best bigs in today’s game in Rudy Gobert who remains an incredible defensive anchor. And with the French national team, his role on offense increased. However, France might be parading another dominant big man soon in Joel Embiid. 

France will now have a legitimate post threat who can also hit outside shots. Embiid can also roam beyond the paint, allowing France to become more creative with their defensive schemes. It will be interesting to see if Gobert and Embiid share time on the floor or if they will stagger their playing time. France will now have to get creative because having Embiid on their roster could help them win their second gold medal in the future. 

Spain is not going away anytime soon

Spain is the San Antonio Spurs of European basketball. Among active teams, Spain has the most gold medals (4) and total medals overall (14). It is a country that typically relies on collective effort to win. They have a good mix of veterans and young guys at any given time which makes their program extremely sustainable. To show how dominant Spain is, the lowest they finished in the last 26 iterations of the tournament was ninth. They haven’t finished lower than 6th in 22 EuroBasket tournaments. This level of dominance is only second to the US internationally.

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