FIBA Basketball World Cup

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019: Ranking the best 10 players still in contention

Former and current Raptors are among the best players still in contention at the FIBA World Cup.
Former and current Raptors are among the best players still in contention at the FIBA World Cup. (Getty Images)

Heading into the 2019 FIBA World Cup, any question about who was the best player likely featured the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Kemba Walker among others.

With many of the pre-tournament favourites eliminated with only Argentina, Australia, France and Spain still standing, that leaves a void at the top when it comes to staking claim as the tournament's best player.

Heading into the Semi-Finals, here's one crack at the top 10 players left taking into account both performance so far as well as potential moving forward.

But don't just take my word for it. Who do YOU think is the best player still in contention at the World Cup?

Who is the best player left in the World Cup?
Patty Mills
Evan Fournier
Luis Scola
Joe Ingles
Facundo Campazzo
Make Quizzes

Rudy Fernandez
Rudy Fernandez (Getty Images)

10 Rudy Fernandez

Entering Semi-Finals: 8.2 PPG, 3.0 APG, 46.4 3-pt FG pct

One of the mainstays in Spain's lineup over the last decade, Fernandez had been quiet throughout the tournament until Spain's win over Poland in the Quarter-Finals in which he erupted for 16 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Although that was his first game scoring in double figures in this tournament, Fernandez is a trusted vet for a team that's probably now the favourite to win the whole thing.

He gets into the top 10 on this list ahead of some others that warranted consideration, a group that included Nuggets forward Juancho Hernangomez and new Suns big man Aron Baynes.

Nando De Colo
Nando De Colo (Getty Images)

09 Nando De Colo

Entering Semi-Finals: 17.0 PPG, 57.9 FG pct, 50.0 3-pt FG pct

Nando De Colo was rumoured to be interested in a return to the NBA this summer before ultimately agreeing to return to CSKA Moscow where he's been one of Europe's best players. Last scene in the NBA in 2013-14 with the Toronto Raptors, De Colo has been on fire recently for France. Prior to scoring 18 points off the bench in the upset over the United States, De Colo dropped 26 in a tight 100-98 loss to Australia that may have been the game of the tournament so far. De Colo's play has seemingly validated that interest from NBA teams earlier this summer as he's reminded the world on a big stage that he's one of the top players in the world not currently in the NBA.

Luis Scola
Luis Scola (Getty Images)

08 Luis Scola

Entering Semi-Finals: 17.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG

One of the most decorated players in FIBA World Cup history, the 39-year-old Scola is playing like he's in the middle of his prime. He's averaging nearly 18 points per game and showcasing why he's the tournament's second all-time leading scorer behind only Brazil's Oscar Schmidt. Scola has been Argentina's leading scorer and is the last holdover from the famed golden generation which included the likes of Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni, among others.

Beyond the scoring, Scola is having an impact where it matters most: winning.

So far in this tournament, Argentina has outscored opponents by a whopping 111 points whenever he's bee on the floor. That's the best plus-minus of any player in the World Cup.

Joe Ingles
Joe Ingles (Getty Images)

07 Joe Ingles

Entering Semi-Finals: 10.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.8 APG

On talent alone, Ingles should probably be higher on this list. He does absolutely everything and might be Australia's best all-around player. And yet he comes in at seventh thanks do a few relatively pedestrian games (back-to-back two-point games and a six-pointer in the quarters in which he went 0-4 from beyond the arc).

And yet his versatility has been on full display as he and Tomas Satoransky are the only players in the tournament to average ove five rebounds and five assists per game. If the Boomers are going to medal, they'll likely need Ingles to serve as both a scorer and versatile utility man.

Facundo Campazzo [Getty Images]

06 Facundo Campazzo

Entering Semi-Finals: 13.2 PPG, 8.0 APG, 49.1 FG pct

There's an argument to be made that Campazzo has been the tournament's best point guard. If Scola is the heart and sole for Argentina, Campazzo is the steadying hand that's fearlessly navigated his squad to a perfect 6-0 record. The diminuitive Real Madrid stalwart served up his best game against Serbia in the Quarter-Finals, sending home one of the favourites with a majestic 18-point, 12-assist masterpiece that's on the short list for best overall performances by anyone so far in this tournament.

MORE: Get to know Argentina's best player

If Argentina ends up winning the whole thing, certainly a possibility given the way the bracket has opened up, he stands a very good chance of taking home top honours as the tournament MVP.

Marc Gasol has finished with a positive plus-minus in every game at the FIBA World Cup.
Marc Gasol (Getty Images)

05 Marc Gasol

Entering Semi-Finals: 11.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, +82 plus-minus

Moreso than perhaps any other player on this list, Gasol impacts the game in ways not always captured by stats. He's only shooting 40.7 percent for the tournament, he's only blocked a total of four shots and he's only averaging 11.3 points per game. And yet over the last five games, Spain has been outscored whenever Gasol has been on the bench. Everything Spain does on both ends of the floor begins and ends with Gasol who simply makes things happen whenever he's in the game.

MORE: Spain would be lost without Marc Gasol

It's impossible to mention any list of best players in the tournament without paying Gasol his proper respects, even if the surface-layer stats suggest that he's no longer the truly elite player he once was at his peak.

Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier (Getty Images)

04 Evan Fournier

Entering Semi-Finals: 21.0 PPG, 3.7 APG, 45.2 PPG

Fournier is simply a different calibre player with France than he is with the Orlando Magic. After opening the World Cup with 26 points against Germany, Fournier had a pair of quieter games before ripping off three straight fantastic performances against very difficult opposition. 24 points against Lithuania, 31 against Australia and then 22 in the upset of the United States in which he outplayed everyone on Team USA not named Donovan Mitchell. He's made clutch plays the entire tournament and ranks second overall in scoring behind another player we have yet to reach.

Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio (Getty Images)

03 Ricky Rubio

Entering Semi-Finals: 15.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, 10-21 from 3-pt line

Like Fournier, Rubio is another player that thrives in the FIBA game. Somewhat ballyhooed in the NBA due to his limitatons as a shooter, Rubio is taking advantage of the shorter line as he's made nearly half of his 3-point attempts. In addition to filling it up as Spain's leading scorer, he ranks among the tournament leaders in assists. With the United States and Serbia now out, Spain is likely the tournament favourite moving forward which puts Rubio in as good of a position as anyone to win tournament MVP.

Rudy Gobert slams home two of his 26 points in the win over the United States.
Rudy Gobert (Getty Images)

02 Rudy Gobert

Entering Semi-Finals: 12.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.3 Blks PG

After Gobert's Tour de Force against the United States in which he finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds while thoroughly dominating inside on the defensive end, there's a strong case to be made that Gobert should be No. 1 on this list. In terms of two-way impact, there's nobody left in the field that can match Gobert's potential to be an absolute wrecking ball. Each of the other remaining teams has strong inside play with the likes of Gasol, Scola, Baynes and even Andrew Bogut. Gobert is the best of that bunch by a mile and gives France a trump card that no other team can match when he's fully engaged.

MORE: Winners and losers from France's stunning upset of Team USA

So what's the hesitation with placing Gobert higher?

Prior to that exquisite display against Team USA, Gobert turned in back-to-back relatively mundane performances against Australia and Lithuania. Given he's not a ball handler nor France's No. 1 offensive option, Gobert can at times disappear for stretches even on a team where he's far and away the best player.

Patty Mills
Patty Mills (Getty Images)

01 Patty Mills

Entering Semi-Finals: 22.2 PPG, 51.2 FG pct, 4.5 APG

Patty Mills has been absolutely everything for the undefeated Boomers. He's showed up in every game and after shooting 3-9 in the opener against Canada, has shot at least 50% in every game since. He's the tournament's overall leading scorer and after Australia's next game will also be the leader in total minutes played. He's also shooting 50-40-90 on a high volume clip and has not batted an eye over carrying Australia in the wake of Ben Simmons opting to sit this one out.

Perhaps nobody should be surprised. Mills dropped 30 against the United States in an upset win prior to the start of the tournament and poured in 21.3 PPG at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Mills has been an absolute stud.

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