Olympic Basketball: Expert Predictions and Aftermath

Posted on 25 March, 2024 by Dimitrije Curcic

After an unpredictable 2019 World Cup in China, we decided to once again gather the opinions of top basketball journalists for the Olympic tournament in Tokyo.

83 basketball journalists and analysts answered the 11-question survey to predict medalists, over/underachievers, and best players of the men's Tokyo tournament.

Key Findings

  • Winner: USA (72.3%), Australia (10.8%), Spain (9.6%)
  • Runner-up: Spain (34.9), Slovenia (20.5% ), Australia (19.3%)
  • Best offence: USA (75.9%)
  • Best defence: Spain (30.1%), France (25.5%)
  • Overachiever: Slovenia (42.2%), Nigeria (28.9%)
  • Underachiever: France (26.5%), Argentina (24.1%)
  • MVP: Kevin Durant (49.4%)
  • Top scorer: Luka Doncic (51.8%)
  • Most assists: Luka Doncic (55.4%)
  • Top rebounder: Rudy Gobert (59%)

Team performances

Who will get the Olympic medals?

97.6% of participants project the USA to win one of the medals. The biggest competition they will face comes from Spain, Australia, and Slovenia. France received only 28% of medal votes.

The USA is the biggest favourite to win it all in Tokyo, as 72.3% of participants chose them as the gold medal winners. Spain, Australia, and Slovenia are seen as the only teams that could upset the Americans this summer.

Spain is projected to face the USA in the finals, with 34.9% silver medal votes, and a 44.4% of chance to play in the finals. Australia and Slovenia are seen as the biggest competition to Spain.

Spain also received the most bronze medal votes, followed by Slovenia and Australia. France is given only a 12% chance to win the bronze, and only a 27.7% chance to win a medal.

Best offence and defence

The star-driven USA team's offence will be too much to handle, according to the experts. 75.9% of participants think the Americans will have the best offence in the tournament, with Slovenia being the biggest competition.

Projected finals will be a clash of the best offence and best defence of the tournament, as 30.1% of experts think Spain will allow their opponents the least amount of points. France received 26.5% of the votes.

Overachievers and underachievers

Luka Doncic and Slovenia will be the biggest surprise of the tournament - 42.2% of the experts think Slovenia will exceed expectations in Tokyo. Nigeria (28.9%) and Czech Republic (14.5%) also received a big portion of votes.

On the other hand, 2 of the medalist from the 2019 WC in China, Argentina and France, are set to be the biggest underachievers of the tournament. 26.5% think France will be the underachiever, while Argentina got 24.1% of the votes.

Player performances

49.4% of participants see Kevin Durant as the tournament's MVP. KD received more than twice as many votes as his closest competitor, Luka Doncic (22.9%). Damian Lillard (12%) is the last player that received double-digit votes.

Slovenia's Luka Doncic got the majority of votes for the tournament's best scorer with 51.8%. Durant is the only worthy competition to Luka, receiving 34.9% of the votes.

Luka will also be the assists leader of the tournament, as 55.4% of experts project him to have the most assists in Tokyo. Facu Campazzo and Ricky Rubio got 15.7% of the votes each.

Reigning defensive player of the year in the NBA, Rudy Gobert, will win the rebounding title in the tournament. 59% of experts think Rudy will get the most rebounds, with Bam Adebayo as the only real competition with 14.5%.


With the basketball tournament officially over, we summarised the expert predictions to see how accurate they were. 

These were the most accurate predictions:

Most successful predictions Expert votes
Gold for the USA 72.3%
Luka best passer 55.4%
Luka best scorer 51.8%
KD MVP 49.4%

These are the least expected outcomes of the tournament:

Least expected that actually happened Expert votes
Mike Tobey top rebounder 0.0%
Silver medal for France 13.3%
Slovenia having the best offence 14.5%
Australia getting bronze 18.1%

And this is where most experts got it wrong:

Most expected that didn't happen Expert votes
Spain getting a medal 70.7%
France underachieving 26.5%
Nigeria Overachieving 28.9%
The USA having the best offence 75.9%
Spain having the best defence 30.1%
Rudy Gobert a top rebounder 59.0%

Use of content

All data and charts are free to use as long as this report is referenced as the source. For any additional data and information contact Dimitrije at dimitrije@runrepeat.comUse of content

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Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.