It’s FIBA World Cup time — which may not mean much to sports fans in general, but it sure gives basketball fans something to do during football season.
It’s true, as for the next 10 days, there will be at least eight basketball games a day, many of which will feature NBA players. Included in that, of course, is Team USA, which is ONLY NBA players.
Other countries have some NBA guys, though not as many as fans would probably like — given that Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Nikola Jokic (Sertbia), Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) and Jamal Murray (Canada) are among those missing the tournament for one reason or another.
Anyway, the World Cup will continue on through Sept. 10, when both the championship and consolation games will be held. The only day in that stretch with no basketball is Sept. 4, when everyone is given a day off.
At first, we will have group play in which each of the 32 national teams will play six games. After that, we get into the tournament portion.
Most of Team USA’s games will air on ESPN2, though you will need ESPN+ or the ESPN app to watch the whole thing. For the record, not one member of the team has played in international competition such as the Olympics or World Cup previously.
The Americans’ roster is as follows:
- Paolo Banchero, F/C, Orlando Magic
- Mikal Bridges, SF, Brooklyn Nets
- Jalen Brunson, PG, New York Knicks
- Anthony Edwards, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Indiana Pacers
- Josh Hart, G/F, New York Knicks
- Brandon Ingram, SF, New Orleans Pelicans
- Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Memphis Grizzlies
- Cam Johnson, F, Brooklyn Nets
- Walker Kessler, C, Utah Jazz
- Bobby Portis, PF, Milwaukee Bucks
- Austin Reaves, G, Los Angeles Lakers
- Coaches: Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, Tyronn Lue, Mark Few
Either way, you have to like the Americans’ odds of getting out of Group C, and perhaps even going undefeated in that group, which also includes Jordan, Spain and New Zealand.
So, is it pro basketball at its finest? Probably not. But is it sure to be some mighty fine basketball during football season? Without a question, and basketball fans around the world will undoubtedly take it.
Below is a list of NBA players for each country. You can find the full schedule here.
Angola: Bruno Fernando, C, Hawks.
Australia: Xavier Cooks; Dyson Daniels, G, Pelicans; Dante Exum, G, Mavericks; Josh Giddey, G, Thunder; Josh Green, G, Mavericks; Joe Ingles, F, Magic; Patty Mills, G, Hawks; Matisse Thybulle, G, Blazers; Jack White, F, Thunder.
Brazil: Raul Neto, PG, Cavaliers/Fenerbahce.
Canada: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Timberwolves; R.J. Barrett, G/F, Knicks; Dillon Brooks, F, Rockets; Luguentz Dort, G, Thunder; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Thunder; Kelly Olynyk, F, Jazz; Dwight Powell, C, Mavericks.
China: Kyle Anderson, F, Timberwolves.
Dominican Republic: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Timberwolves.
Finland: Lauri Markkanen, F, Jazz.
Greece: Thanasis Antetokounmpo, F, Bucks.
Italy: Simone Fontecchio, G/F, Jazz.
Japan: Yuta Watanabe, F, Suns.
Latvia: Davis Bertans, F, Thunder.
Lithuania: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Pelicans.
Monetnegro: Nikola Vucevic, C, Bulls.
Philippines: Jordan Clarkson, G, Jazz.
Slovenia: Luka Donic, G, Mavericks.
Spain: Santi Aldama, C, Grizzlies.