United States gets favorable draw for 2023 FIBA World Cup

The draw for the FIBA World Cup has been completed, with the United States securing a favourable opener against New Zealand. There is potential for the USA to face defending champions Spain, Olympic silver medalists France, or NBA-based Canada until the semifinals, and they could meet Giannis Antetokounmpo when they play Greece in a group stage fixture. The tournament runs from August 25th to September 10th, with the USA aiming to win its first gold since 2014.

Grant Hill, Executive Director of USA Basketball, stated that the team has “a peace of mind knowing who we’re going to play”, given the footballers they have been drawn against, such as Montenegro and Lithuania. Luka Doncic-led Slovenia and Nikola Jokic-led Serbia are the other challenging European teams which USA has avoided. Hill has been meeting with potential players for the USA roster in recent months, as he aims to put together a team which gives them a chance to win.

France and Canada have received the toughest draw among the contenders, with pool play games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The French will take on Canada in their opening game, which could feature All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as well as collegiate player of the year Zach Edey. The French defeated the United States in the 2019 World Cup and also in pool play at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Potential No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanayama has stated his interest in playing alongside international star big man Rudy Gobert.

Australia, the No. 3-ranked team in the world, and the Olympic bronze medalists, has landed a challenging group along with Germany and Lauri Markkanen-led Finland. Australia may face Slovenia, which would be a re-match of the bronze medal game in Tokyo. Australia won its first-ever Olympic medal in that game, with Patty Mills scoring 42 points, while Luka Doncic had 22 points for Slovenia.

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