Anyone who watched Australia play Angola in the final game of pool play at the FIBA World Cup will tell you that the Aussies lost that game on purpose.
They led by 10 at the half, then benched all of their best players when it became evident that a win would lock them into second place in their group, which meant a meeting with Team USA in the elimination round would come sooner than necessary.
Goran Dragic called them out for it, and FIBA opened an investigation, which could result in fines for the Australian team and its coach should they be found guilty. But that doesn’t mean that we should expect any real change regarding the tournament format in the future.
Eurohoops posed the question about the ongoing investigation, asking also if a draw after the end of the group phase in order to determine the couplings for the rest of the competition could be a future solution and the answer of Baumann was the following, implying that what happened in Spain can be used as an example for the future: “As you know there are open proceedings for this case. The point is that something like this can’t happen again in the future. As for the draw, we are happy with our current format and we are not expecting to change it”.
Without a format change, this will absolutely happen again in the future.
Anytime you have a system set up where losing is incentivized, that’s what teams are going to do — just ask the Philadelphia 76ers about that.
If Australia ends up being fined, that will only deter teams to a certain point; we may not see as blatant of an effort the next time this happens, but there will most certainly be a next time.