The 32-team 2023 FIBA World Cup draw was released in Manila on Saturday. The event runs from Augusta 25 through September 10 and will be co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. The United States, trying to regain the title, got a great draw but could face Giannis Antetokounmpo should he decide to play for Greece.
Team USA, ranked 2nd in the world behind Spain, is part of group C, which includes Greece, New Zealand, and Jordan. Steve Kerr will coach Team USA for the first time. The Americans will play in Manila on August 26 against New Zealand before facing Greece on the 28th and Jordan on the 30th.
Rounding out the top five teams are Australia. Playing in Group E, France in Group H, and Serbia in group B. Groups A through D will play in Manila, E, and F will play in Okinawa, and groups G through H will play in Jakarta.
Whether the luck of the draw or planned, Team USA might be able to avoid facing defending champions Spain, France, and Canada until the semifinal round.
Although Antetokounmpo hasn’t decided whether he will play in the tournament but noted that it’s on his priority list.
Other teams to watch out for that Team USA could face in earlier rounds are Lithuania and Montenegro. Fortunately, the team will not have to face Slovenia and Serbia, led by Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic, respectively.
Another benefit of the draw is that Team USA won’t have to travel far, unlike in the last event in China, where travel was in excess of thousands of miles.
Among the top contenders, Canada and France got the toughest draws, being placed in the same group. France took down the USA in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and previously at the 2019 World Cup. France faces a Canadian team in the opening game which could include the likes of Jamal Murray, Dillon Brooks, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
It won’t be a cakewalk for Spain, either. Brazil is in their group, and Spain possibly will need to get by both Canada and France in the early rounds. There’s a distinct possibility that one of Spain, France, and Canada will fail to advance to the quarterfinals.
Finland is another team that could surprise. Led by Lauri Markkanen, they face Germany and Australia in the same group. An interesting game to watch is Australia versus Slovenia. The two countries met at the Tokyo Olympics. Patty Mills dropped 42 in the contest to secure a bronze medal for Australia.
The Dominican Republic could be an intriguing second-round matchup for Team USA. Karl-Anthony Towns indicated he wants to play for the Dominican Republican.
USA basketball executive director Grant Hill met with numerous potential players for this year’s U.S. roster. The final roster will be put together in July, about a month before training camp. With many of the top American players participating in the NBA playoffs, it’s difficult to determine at this point which players will be interested in competing in the World Cup.
In any event, Hill will be sure to put together a roster that will significantly improve on Team USA’s disappointing 7th-place finish in the last World Cup.
After the excellent draw for Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, let’s switch gears to football and recap the AFC Championship game.