Top 10 3x3 teams who made 2019

31 Dec 2019

MIES (Switzerland) – Here are the top 10 teams who defined 2019 and made it such a special 3x3 season.

Novi Sad (and Serbia men)

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: 4th World Tour title (won 2 Masters + the Final), 2nd Europe Cup title

Never underestimate the heart of a champion. This definitely applies to Novi Sad who were written off ahead of the Utsunomiya Final after a down period – by their ridiculously high standards.

After a tough day one, Novi Sad rediscovered their best when it mattered most to claim the biggest prize on the World Tour.

Three of Novi Sad's players backed up in Serbia's title triumph at the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 2019 to make up for missing out on the podium at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2019.

As we end the decade, Novi Sad quite clearly were the team of the 2010s. They will start the next decade still on top of 3x3's mountain.

2. USA Men (and Princeton)

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: 1 World Tour Masters title (Los Angeles); World Cup gold medal

Hoops powerhouse USA has found 3x3 tough going. Until 2019.

Princeton – along with NY Harlem – became a powerhouse on the World Tour this season and spectacularly ended their drought with victory at the inaugural LA Masters – a feat made more impressive with superstar Robbie Hummel missing due to injury.

Princeton were runners-up in Prague and also the Utsunomiya Final.

Led by Princeton players Robbie Hummel, Damon Huffman and Kareem Maddox, USA won their first ever FIBA 3x3 World Cup gold medal with victory in Amsterdam.

The world should be worried because the US have firmly arrived and now aim to dominate 3x3.

3. China Women

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: World Cup gold medal, 1 Women's Series Stop (Lignano)

China women's won the biggest prize in 3x3 – their first gold ever at the World Cup. World No.1 China were flawless in Amsterdam with a perfect 7-0 campaign capped off by a 19-13 victory over Hungary in the final.

The imposing ZhiTing Zhang was unstoppable in the paint, while Jiayin Jiang won the MVP live on CCTV5.

4. France Women

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: Women's Series winners/6 titles; Europe Cup gold medal, World Cup bronze medal

France absolutely dominated the first-ever edition of the FIBA 3x3 Women's Series by winning 6 of 9 stops in which they competed. Led by MVP Migna Toure, France finished well on top with 770 points well ahead of second-placed Canada.

France were the most successful team across the board having also claimed their second straight Europe Cup title and collecting bronze at the World Cup.

Ahead of next year's Olympics, Les Bleues will surely be a serious medal contender in Tokyo if they clinch their spot at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March.

5. Riga Ghetto (and Latvia)

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: 3 Masters titles; World Cup silver medal

The Latvians just fell short of snatching the crown from Novi Sad, but Riga Ghetto were so close. They were the best team overall in the Masters and broke their drought in Doha back in April before winning two more titles.

Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis lifted their games to another level as Batman and Robin established themselves as the best superhero duo of them all. Flight KLM was arguably the best player in the world before he suffered injury late in the season.

Then up stepped Miezis, who changed his cape and became the baddest player of them.

He finished the season the No.1 ranked player and Riga Ghetto arguably now have the best one-two punch on the tour to start 2020.

Oh, and the Riga Ghetto boys also claimed a World Cup silver medal, representing Latvia. First comes the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March but don't be surprised if they win an Olympic gold next year.

6. Canada Women

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: Women's Series runners-up/4 titles

Led by the brilliant Plouffe sisters, Canada became literally unbeatable in the Women's Series. After a sluggish start, they won four straight titles culminating in a sweet triumph at home in Edmonton.

Is 2020 the year Canada take over France as the best team on the Women's Series?

7. Liman

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: Debrecen Masters

Liman, who dominated 2018 alongside Novi Sad, had a tough season. They had no luck with injuries and were without superstar Stefan Stojacic for most of 2019. And yet they were the only team to qualify for every single one of the 11 Masters. They even won 1 Masters with just 3 players on the court!

What an insane victory it was! In arguably the most inspiring 3x3 performance ever, Liman overcame red hot Riga Ghetto in the Debrecen Masters final without a sub after Stefan Kojic suffered an injury in the semis.

It was the gutsiest effort seen on a 3x3 court and a reminder of the team's passion for the game.

Watch out for Liman in 2020 if they have luck with injuries.

8. Australia Women

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: Asia Cup; 2 Women's Series titles

Australia are the sleeping giant of women's 3x3. Led by dynamic duo Maddie Garrick and Bec Cole, Australia became a force after winning the Asia Cup in an undefeated campaign.

They appeared a strong gold medal prospect at the World Cup but lost in a heartbreaker to China in the semis in one of the craziest games of 2019.

They only played two stops in the Women's Series and won them both.

Australia's time has arrived.

9. Japan U23 Women

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: U23 World Cup, 1 Women's Series Stop

Japan women's team caused maybe the biggest upset of the season at the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup 2019. Hot favorites and defending champions Russia were riding an amazing 42-game winning streak at the U23 level heading into the final but were stunned by Japan, who prevailed 19-14.

It was sweet revenge for Japan who lost a year earlier to Russia in the final and an important confidence boost ahead of next year's Olympics on home soil.

10. Egypt (Men and Women)

Trophy Cabinet in 2019: Africa Cup titles (men and women)

Egypt absolutely dominated the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2019 to stamp themselves as the powerhouse on the continent. Mido Mohamed had one of the performances of the season to lead the men to their first title with victory over the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the final.

Egypt women's queen Soraya Mohamed put out all the tricks en route to melting down social media and ensured they downed two-time champs Mali in an epic final.

Honorable Mentions

France Men
Russia U23 (Men and Women)
USA U18 (Men and Women)
Sakiai Gulbele (and Lithuania)
Australia Men
Japan U18 Men
Australia U18 Women