The FIBA Basketball World Cup will start within approximately 3 days – on August 31st – and the wave of withdrawals from the great American stars might contribute towards a competition way closer than it was expected a couple of months ago.
Gregg Popovich won’t have to make relevant decisions
When the list of preselected players for the Basketball World Cup was announced, we could all see the excellence and quality available on the north American national team, something that would naturally lead Gregg Popovych to having to take several difficult decisions, opting for some stars over the others.
However, the big superstars of the NBA don’t seem to be excited at all with the idea of representing their national team on the World Cup, even because their priority is making a good pre-season that puts them in a good position to shine in another edition of the most famous basketball league of the planet.
That way, the experienced and charismatic manager that stood out ahead of the San Antonio Spurs won’t have a lot of options to choose from, since that right now he only has 14 players available, and he will only need to cut two players from that set to decide the 12 that will play in China in a couple of days.
Youth will have to be well controlled
Looking at the players available to play in the Basketball World Cup for the north Americans it is clear that it is a very young side that will have plenty of energy, but an irreverence that will also need to be controlled, especially when it comes to the theoretically harder matches against teams like the Spanish or the Serbian.
The trend suggests that a lot of these players will put on a show for the Chinese spectators, creating a lot of moments of high-level basketball.
However, Popovich will have to manage that type of plays very well in matches where the opponents have a different kind of valences.
Despite all these absences on the North American side, the presence of players like Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes or Myles Turner should be enough to ensure the success on this competition, although naturally it can’t be compared with a potential presence of superstars such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry or James Harden, that opted to rest in order to be in maximum strength for the new season of the National Basketball Association.
The first test went according to the expectations
The North American side has beaten Spain by 90-81 on their first preparation encounter before the Basketball World Cup and it was possible to see that both Kemba Walker (12 points) as well as Donovan Mitchell (13 points) will be fundamental for the team’s success.
Besides the quality of these two players, the team still has an interesting mix of players with potential, with Khris Middleton providing an always important exterior shot and Jayson Tatum or Myles Turner offering some insurance from the interior.
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From the Spanish side, we saw the NBA stars Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol giving bigger problems to the North American side and I’m not surprised that the Iberian side is currently pointed as the 3rd favourite to the title with 10.00 odds on 1xBet.
This is a very competitive team with several players playing in the NBA and others on the Spanish league, a competition that is very demanding and that generally opens a lot of doors for the players to go to the United States.
More contained favouritism after the withdrawals
However, after the countless withdrawals of big-name players, those odds have significantly increased until 1.28
Yes, the United States continue to stand out as favourites to win the competition that will be played in Asian soil. However, with a younger and less reputable team, there are more chances of seeing other team get in the way and surprise at a certain moment.
With the experience of players like Milos Teodosic and Bojan Bogdanovic and the quality of the sensational center Nikola Jokic, the Serbian side might have a word to say on this World Cup, but will that be enough to prevent a likely title of the North Americans?
These are all answers that should be obtained after August 31st when the ball starts rolling in China.
I also highlight that Greece, despite having a limited team, counts with the biggest superstar in the competition: the fantastic Giannis Antetokounmpo that shines in the NBA playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.