The best players in the planet will converge in the Philippines.
Saturday's FIBA World Cup draw filled the Araneta Coliseum with some of basketball's biggest stars like Dirk Nowitzki and Yao Ming. The loudest cheers of the night, nonetheless, came during the unveiling of teams that will be playing in Manila this August. Looking at the countries in Groups A, B, C, and D, Filipino hoops fans will get a chance to see a good number of NBA standouts play for pride and honor in a couple of months.
Minnesota Timberwolves franchise big man Karl-Anthony Towns and five-time NBA All-Star Al Horford might suit up for the Dominican Republic. In an interview on The Ringer NBA Show last March, KAT expressed his willingness to play in the FIBA World Cup, while the 36-year-old Horford might decide to give it a go, considering it might be one of his final opportunities to play in the grand stage. Indiana Pacers sophomore Chris Duarte could join them and provide the team some spunk.
The latest NBA Rookie of the Year awardee Paolo Banchero has Italian blood. There have been serious talks of him committing to the Italian national basketball team. If every concern gets ironed out, the Orlando Magic stud will certainly give Italy a huge lift.
Sudan certainly hopes Bol Bol will sign up to play for the national squad. Armed with formidable skill and athleticism at 7-foot-2, the Magic’s talented big can wreak havoc in Group B.
Should Jose Alvarado join Puerto Rico, all we want to see is him doing his signature, sneak-attack steal method. Grand Theft Alvarado at the FIBA World Cup sounds great.
Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Need we say more? Oh, Boban Marjanovic will give the fans a treat, too.
It’s a given that Team USA will be entirely composed of NBA stars. The only question is, which stars? We’ll try to name two. At the center position, USA might have no other choice than to pick Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo. At point guard, we’re guessing that among the selections will be Atlanta Hawks main man Trae Young.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had an embarrassing first round exit at this year’s NBA Playoffs. Expect him to make amends by tearing it up for Greece in the FIBA World Cup.
Memphis Grizzlies’ man-mountain Steven Adams should be playing for the Kiwis but internal issues have kept him from doing so.
Chicago Bulls teammates Nikola Vucevic and Javonte Green are Montenegrins. Who knew, right? There’s a chance that Montenegro could benefit from their frontcourt chemistry.
Domantas Sabonis of the Sacramento Kings is one of the NBA’s finest forwards today. He’s been balling out all season, churning out triple-doubles in Jokic-like fashion. It’ll be a privilege to see his style of play up close.
The FIBA World Cup will begin on August 25.