The former FIBA Basketball World Cup gives rise to the new format of the competition. The authority is looking for more visibility of the competition, trying to reshape the way the world follows the tournament, but they are still clashing with some important situations.
FIBA Basketball World Cup
It seems something small, the change from World Championships to FIBA Basketball World Cup, but in its essence, it makes a lot of sense. The entity firstly changed the date of the tournament, avoiding the same year of the football world cup, especially due to the low visibility of the tournament, being overshadowed by the most popular sport in the world.
The format of play also changed. Now, instead of the 24 national teams that usually participated, the number went up to 32, similarly to the football world cup.
The first event on this new format will take place in China, a country that has a huge number of basketball fans.
Which can give a huge boost to the attractiveness of the competition, with packed arenas and a more attractive environment for the viewers.
The qualification stage for the Basketball World Cup also changed. Now the teams play 12 matches, just like in football, in order to try
and qualify for the World Cup.
But unlike in football, the national competitions don’t stop in order for them to play these matches. That way, sometimes, the best players weren’t even available to play for their countries.
The NBA is completely disconnected from this competition and despite having the best players in the world, they didn’t even stop their schedule once for those players to play for their respective national teams.
Are you ready for today's games? 🔥
Check out the schedule for the Game Day 4 of the @FIBAWC! ⌚
— FIBA (@FIBA) September 3, 2019
The change of format, dates and also a project of structuring the new competition has the objective of making the Basketball World Cup as popular and as important as the football world cup.
That would mean the schedule of the biggest leagues would suffer an interruption and the world could turn their attentions to the World Cup.
That is the first step and although that isn’t possible yet, it is important to start somewhere.
Who appears as favourite?
Logically, when reading this question, 9 out of 10 people quickly thought about the United States.
The team led by Gregg Popovich is the big favourite to win the tournament. However, they don’t have their big stars at their disposal, and they will come into the competition with a fully alternative team.
That doesn’t mean they will struggle, especially on group stage. The team still has great talents, such as the All-Stars Kemba Walker from Boston Celtics and Khris Middleton from the Milwaukee Bucks.
They still have some good players like Donovan Mitchell, Jason Tatum and Kyle Kuzma.
The Americans start off on the group that also has Japan, Czech Republic and Turkey, neither of them with the ability of imposing any sort of difficulty to them.
Who also appears with a good expectation surrounding their participation are the Serbians.
Serbia are the current Olympic vice-champions and also world vice-champions, and they appear as the main contender to cause some kind of trouble to the Americans.
They had some complications on the qualifiers, because they didn’t count with their main players.
Now, they go to China with an experienced roster, and they have some NBA players as stand-out performers: Nikola Jokic from the Denver Nuggets and Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Sacramento Kings.
On their group, the main challenger is Italy, but I believe they are a superior team and they should advance as the leaders of the group.
The Serbians appear as the main contender to the United States’ dominance, and the odds are at 5.25 on 1XBet.
The Greek appear as the 3rd biggest strength of this competition.
They have made a good campaign on the qualifiers and they have on their team the MVP of the regular season of the NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo, from the Milwaukee Bucks.
They have a very strong team physically, led by their center, and with a well consolidated inside defence. They have in their group Brazil, that doesn’t have a lot of power in basketball and that has Leandrinho as their biggest stand-out player.
For the group stage, it is interesting to follow the Group H, that has 3 very strong national teams and that are well balanced, just like Australia, that was considered a great strength to win the World Cup, on the words of the American head coach Gregg Popovich.
In this group, we still have Canada, with the highlight going to Jamal Murray, from the Denver Nuggets, as well as the strong Lithuanian side, that counts with Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis, who was one of the best 6th man of the NBA.
In general, this will be a good competition, with more dominance from the Americans, but with a great level of competitiveness on the remaining matches.
I expect this will be the first step towards a glorious future for this World Cup as a competition.