Top Asian Basketball Teams You Need to Follow
The Asian nations are developing enormously in the fields of basketball. After several solid results made by their nations on the international scene, basketball in Asia got pretty good foundations. More and more quality players are accepting offers from this continent, which was highly unusual just a decade ago. When we see the players who are coming to, let’s say, the Chinese Basketball League, some random person who is not following basketball trends that often, might think that this club is a European or the American one.
All this is causing for the quality of the domestic players to rise. When we see how many notable international players from Asia appeared during the last several years, our claim has a proper backup.
Also, this is affecting for the marketing part to be more productive, which later on causes more money to be invested in youth academies and organizations.
Asia is the most populated continent of all, and there is no doubt that in the near future, we are going to see the rise of these nations if they continue to develop like this.
In the next part of this article, we are going to mention 5 of the best and the most talented national teams in this region.
Of course, the country who stands above all in Asia is China. With the population of over 1 billion and 300 million people, the Chinese state is producing more and more quality players each year. It is why the Chinese national team has become a substantial force on the international scene.
Yao Ming made a revolution regarding the basketball in this country. In 2002 NBA draft he was picked 1st overall and became the first player ever to be selected as the first pick without previously playing U.S. basketball. Later he became one of the leading stars of the league and also became the first non-American player who was leading in the All-Star voting. Ming then became the Hall of Fame member in the class with Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal.
Because of this basketball emerged to a higher level, and NBA took some interest in helping this. We now have numerous NBA camps in China, and many coaches are working in this country, teaching the Chinese colleagues about the new trends in the modern game.
As a consequence, from year to year we have seen more players from this country who have a quality to play for European or even NBA clubs. The latest prospect is Zhou Qi, a skinny center who was drafted and signed immediately by the Houston Rockets. Also, we have Ding Yanyuhang, small forward who is currently with the Dallas Mavericks in the Summer League. They are the stars of the new wave of Chinese basketball, and the national team will have excellent leaders in them.
China dominates Asia, and in 21 FIBA Asian Championships, they have participated, 16 gold medals were won. They are the reigning champions and the biggest favorites for this year’s edition of Asian Championship.
The only team that could make some troubles to the Chinese is Iranian basketball team. In the last decade, this nation won FIBA Asian Championship on three occasions. Besides this, they won one 3rd place, and in 2011 they finished 5th with only one defeat in the whole tournament. Also, they won the FIBA Asian challenge in the last three editions.
This is a clear sign that Iranian basketball is going upwards.
We might say that the turning point was the appearance of Hamed Haddadi, a fantastic center who even had some NBA experience, playing for Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns. This dominant big man is the pivotal figure in the national team. On several occasions, Haddadi made some amazing performances, and it wouldn’t be unfair if we say that he alone brought several medals for this team.
The Iranians had many foreign coaches. Most of them came from Serbia and the region of ex-Yugoslavia, which explains their breakthrough on the Asian scene lately.
The last coach, however, was the German Dirk Bauermann, who had a vast experience, after leading several European national teams, and working with some NBA stars like Dirk Nowitzki. To continue playing on this level, basketball federation of Iran needs to find a decent replacement for Haddadi.
One country has been developing pretty quickly in the recent several years. It is the Philippines. In the last two Asian Championships they were unlucky in the finals, and on both occasions, the gold medal was outside of their reach. But this shows that the Philippines are currently the team which is growing every day. They even appeared at the World Cup in 2014 and recorded the first victory at this competition after 40 years. We have to tell that, the Philippines were the dominant force in the 60’s and the 70’s in Asia, but somewhere along the way, they just disappeared.
The main man on the team is Andray Blatche, who was naturalized during the same year. The Philippine Basketball Association made this move as they lacked big players under the rim. Still, size is the greatest weakness of this team.
South Korea is one of the sleeping Titans concerning basketball in Asia. This country is the only one which qualified for the Asian Championship every single time since this competition established.
They hold the record concerning the total number of medals won, and at this point, the South Koreans have 24 of them. Also, they are the current holders of the gold medal at Asian Games. It makes them one of the most attractive team to watch in this continent. South Korea also qualified for the World Cup in 2014 after 20 years, and this was a huge boost for this country.
Players are mostly from the national league, and the leading star is Moon Tae-jong. This is, in fact, Jared Stevenson who has a wealthy European and NCAA career behind him. Despite the fact that he has 41 years he is still the biggest star on this team.
Lebanon national team suffered a huge setback when they were suspended in 2013. Precisely at that period, they were developing a generation which could attack the gold medal in the upcoming FIBA Asian Championships. After 3 silver medals in the previous decade, Lebanon was a regular member of quarterfinals at this tournament, but, they always lacked a little luck. And then in 2013 FIBA suspended this nation after political interventions in the federation and they didn’t have a chance to participate the Asian Championship which was also a qualification for the World Cup in 2014. In the previous Asian Championship, they finished 5th in the general standings.
The Lebanese players have many connections with the United States, and several of them were members of various universities and high schools who have respectable programs. These links still stand since the time of Rony Seikaly, a former NBA All-Star who is born in Lebanon.
The leader of this team is a 37-years-old legend Fadi El Khatib. He is not in shape like 10 years ago, but Khatib still brings many positive things with his presence on and off the court. One of the best players is Ali Haidar, who is the part of the Michigan Tech Huskies program where he played throughout all four years. Shortly, he and Ahmad Ibrahim will become the vital players of this team. Ibrahim also attended schools and colleges in the US, to be exact the Rice Owls.
This was just a brief overlook on the 5 most significant Asian basketball teams, who are the most attractive and appealing at this moment.
We are sure that in the next couple of years, this number will be far greater.