Australian basketball great Lauren Jackson is excited for both the Opals’ and Boomers’ prospects ahead of their respective Olympic campaigns.
With both the Australian men’s and women’s sides enjoying wins over Team USA in pre-Olympic play, there’s hopes that medals can be won by both.
While the Boomers had a relatively smooth lead up to the Games, the Opals were hit with drama as star centre Liz Cambage left camp after being involved in a heated altercation against Nigeria and reportedly breaking team rules during their Las Vegas stay.
With the Opals now missing a key piece, Jackson was asked whether she felt the team could cover her absence.
“Well, you know, they (the Opals) just beat Team USA over in America as did the Boomers,” Jackson said on SEN Breakfast.
“I guess losing someone like Liz is obviously a massive blow to the team.
“But they’re playing a different style of basketball without her, they’re playing a real run and gun style of basketball.
“They’re playing super aggressive defence and being able to get up and really push teams, which is a bit harder to do with a big post inside.
“It’s going to be really exciting to watch them, I think they’re going to do really well.”
Jackson believes Cambage’s departure forced the team to adapt to “a different style of basketball” which she feels is strong enough to medal.
“I think there’s definitely a possibility that they’re going to medal and play really well… that’s because they’re playing a different style of basketball,” Jackson explained.
“They’re playing together, they’re really connected, they’re all trying to achieve the same goal and they definitely can pull out the gold.
“That was evident when they faced Team USA.”
Looking at the men’s side, Jackson believes this might be their “greatest” chance to medal at an Olympic Games to date.
“Definitely, I think this is their greatest shot that they’ve got,” Jackson said.
“I’m really excited to see them play. They’ve talked so much about culture in the last few weeks and what they want to achieve.
“I feel very confident, we’ve seen them come close in the last few years and I think they’re going to get there.”
The Boomers open their Olympic campaign on Sunday night against Nigeria at 6:20pm (AEST) while the Opals play their first game against Belgium on Tuesday night at 6:20pm (AEST).