Basketball: The Americans have their eyes set on a world title, and a spot in the 2024 Olympics, at the FIBA World Cup

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
29/08/2023/
News
Basketball Hoop Basket

Highlights

  • The FIBA World Cup is a 32-team event that crowns a country as world champs.
  • Team USA is the heavy favorite, featuring a squad of young NBA players, including reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero.
  • There are 55 current NBA players spread across the rosters from around the world. Canada and Spain are the top challengers.

Young Team USA has their hands full in the 2023 FIBA basketball World Cup currently underway in three different countries: Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The event pits 32 teams from around the world in a multi-phase competition that ends with the World Cup final Sept. 10 in Manila.

The Americans cruised to the top of Pool C, led by reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic) and Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves) but will have a rough road when they face countries with NBA-heavy rosters like Spain and Canada.

Michigan sportsbooks still see the Americans as the team to beat. FanDuel lists them as favorites to win at -110, followed by Canada (+310), Spain (+1000) and Slovenia (+1400). These odds will continue to fluctuate during the tournament.

Sportsbooks will have markets on each game, including point spreads, over/under totals and player performance marks like assists, rebounds and individual points.

Meet The Americans

This is not a Dream Team for the Americans as much as it’s the Next Generation of the NBA. There’s no LeBron James or Steph Curry, but there is a talented mix of young stars playing for head coach Steve Kerr.

Banchero, a Duke product, has started the tournament strong. Edwards has been the breakout star early, coming off his third season with Minnesota, he’s been Team USA’s offensive leader. New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson is also wearing the red, white and blue.

The best-known American player is probably New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram. His role has been more of a facilitator than a scorer for Team USA.

The last game for Team USA in Pool C play is Wednesday against winless Jordan. The Americans have already clinched a spot in the next phase.

The Challengers Rise

This will be no Team USA cakewalk. The Americans finished seventh – that’s right, seventh – in this event in 2019, losing to France in the quarterfinal round and then Serbia in the seeding round. Spain was the champs, beating Argentina in the final.

No surprise, Spain is atop the list of contenders to win the World Cup again, led by Memphis Grizzlies veteran Santi Aldama. Canada is expected to make a strong push behind RJ Barrett (Knicks) and Dillon Brooks (Houston Rockets). France, Germany, and Serbia also have depth and experience.

The Worlds Game

The FIBA World Cup has bounced around the calendar over the years as to not conflict with the soccer World Cup. The top seven teams including the top two from the Americas, two from Europe, one from Africa, one from Asia and one from Oceania automatically qualify for the Olympics.

France, as the host, automatically has a spot in the 12-team Olympic draw, and four other spots are reserved for FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in 2024.

The FIBA World Cup has a unique structure in that it has two phases of pool play. Nations start in eight pools of four teams, and play everyone in their pool once. The top two teams in each of those eight pools based on results advance to four pools of four, and play another series of round robin games. From those 16, the top eight teams advance to knockout play. The quarterfinals start Sept. 5.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.