The Basketball World Cup is set to commence this Friday across the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan. Anticipation builds as we wonder who will shine, who will astonish, and whether anyone can put a halt to Team USA’s dominance. Our team of writers, including Claire de Lune, Beau Dure, Bryan Armen Graham, and Aaron Timms, share their insights.
Looking ahead, what excites you the most, either within the court action or beyond? One undeniable highlight to anticipate is the emergence of Anthony Edwards. All indications point toward this World Cup becoming a defining moment for the 2020 top overall draft pick, solidifying his status as a star. As he steps onto the international stage with Team USA, the 22-year-old All-Star is poised to showcase the remarkable glimpses of talent he’s demonstrated with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite these flashes, global recognition has remained somewhat elusive for him.
International tournaments hold a special allure, especially in nations where NBA and college basketball dominate media coverage. These events offer a chance to discover players we might not be familiar with. Personally, my player of choice from this tournament will likely be someone whose name isn’t even on my radar right now. – Beau Dure
A thrilling cohort of newcomers graces the stage. South Sudan, representing the world’s youngest nation, makes their inaugural World Cup appearance, following an electrifying journey through African qualifiers. Cape Verde, another debutante, takes the title of the smallest nation ever to qualify, surpassing Montenegro. Latvia marks its first participation despite being among Fiba’s original eight members, while Georgia, a newcomer, arguably faces the most manageable route to the second round.
The major inquiry preceding each basketball World Cup revolves around the participation of NBA’s top-tier players. However, with notable figures like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokić, Victor Wembanyama, Jamal Murray, and numerous exceptional American players opting to skip this summer’s event, the tournament seems to lack the usual abundance of star quality. This situation has led to a dual outcome: while it has stripped the tournament, which is meant to epitomize international sporting excellence, of some allure, it has also resulted in a more balanced and equitable competition. With only a few exceptions, each group appears to have a genuinely unpredictable nature.