🏀 USA's Top FIBA Competitors

With the remaining 16 FIBA teams all tipping off on Friday, let's take a look at some of Team USA's most fearsome competitors. Does anyone have the goods to snatch glory away from the Americans? Keep an eye on Slovenia, Canada, Germany and Australia 🌎 (3 min read)

Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr II/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The World Stage

No comments have generated more recent buzz in the sports world than those of American sprinter Noah Lyles, who has angered a large number of NBA stars, and even Champagne Papi himself, with an outspoken claim. Lyles asserted that an NBA championship has no right to be considered a world championship 👇

The obvious assumption in calling an NBA title a global feat is that it quite comfortably resides as the world’s premiere league, where the best of the best unilaterally flock. However, the notion of America’s innate basketball superiority appears more tenuous than ever. After all, the MVP winners of the past five years have all been international players 🌎

  • Given that this is not the Olympics, the US is not fielding its A-team, but the American collection of talent still stands out as the tournament’s best

  • However, there are legitimate contenders to the throne, most notably a squad from North of the Border 🇨🇦

If Team USA is to falter, there’s no questioning the significance of a first place finish for any other country looking to keep pace with the NBA’s talent. We saw the outpouring of emotions from Japan (one of the hosting nations) upon simply securing their first ever World Cup victory vs. a European squad ❤️

Regardless of their elimination from the tournament soon afterward, Japan’s emotional moment felt so special because a nation was experiencing basketball bliss in a genuinely new and historic manner. As we gear up to watch the elite countries remaining battle it out, let’s take a look at the odds board heading into Friday’s Round 2 🍿

2023 FIBA World Cup Odds (subject to change)

  • USA: -145

  • Canada: +370

  • Spain: +1000

  • Germany: +1200

  • Australia: +1600

  • Serbia: +2000

Reminder that the remaining 16 teams will be group into new groups of four, with the top two from each moving onto the quarters. Peep the round 2 groups 👇

Photo by Daniel Reinhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Teams To Watch

As previously alluded to, Canada represents a different level of competition for the US than the rest of the field — this would not be the case if reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic was suiting up for Serbia, but the big fella has earned a much needed break. The Canadians boast a wide breadth of NBA talent, from rising talents like RJ Barrett to established veterans like captain Kelly Olynyk 💪

  • Of course, central to Canada’s status as an emerging powerhouse is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the 25-year-old PG fresh off an All-NBA First Team campaign for the Thunder

  • SGA is rapidly turning into a top ten player in the world before our eyes, turning the World Cup into his own personal highlight reel 😱

Josh Giddey, Shai’s Thunder backcourt mate, has been another top performer in the tournament, underscoring the incredibly bright future in OKC. Giddey headlines an underrated Australia squad that boasts a strong collection of NBA talent, despite one notable absence (Ben Simmons) 👀

  • Since entering the NBA as a raw, shooting-challenged prospect, Giddey has matured tremendously as a shooter and overall scorer

  • He has been putting up gaudy numbers on the national squad, and even showing off some sneaky athleticism 💪

Australia’s opponent tonight features the undoubted best player in the tournament: the Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic. Slovenia may not boast much NBA-level talent since Goran Dragic’s retirement (his brother Zoran is on the team) from the national team, but Luka is quite clearly an offense unto himself ⭐️

  • After narrowly missing out on a medal in the last Olympics, Doncic is hungry for international success. Leading a tiny nation like Slovenia to international glory would be the crowning achievement of an already legendary young career 🔥

One more team to watch is Germany, who has gone undefeated thus far and even handed a loss to Australia. Dennis Schroder and Daniel Theis form a dynamic pick-and-roll duo, complemented by the versatile play of the Wagner brothers 🇩🇪

  • Rising star Franz Wagner is the team’s most intriguing player, but Schroder has been leading the charge. The speedy PG joined some truly historic company vs. the Aussies 💪

I’m really fired up for these next rounds of games, and to see the full schedule tap in here so you can figure out your schedule to watch USA play at 4:30AM EST 😴

Trivia Question: Who won the most recent FIBA World Cup in 2019?

Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

For My Parlay Gurus

As far as Friday’s matchups go, I like Slovenia to pull off the upset vs. a more well-rounded Australia squad. Giddey has been a revelation, but Luka may just be in a league of his own. Pair that bet with a red-hot Germany to cover, as they should rout a far inferior Georgia squad, and you have yourself a parlay 👇

  • Slovenia +5.5 vs. Australia: -111

  • Germany -15.5 vs. Georgia: -122

$100 on this bet would win you $246 — if we hit, make sure you email [email protected] for a chance to win up to $100*. Many will enter, only some will win 😉

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Trivia Answer: Spain won gold over Argentina in the 2019 FIBA World Cup

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