In this month’s FIBA World Cup, it might be surprising to know that although Team Spain holds the highest seed, Team USA’s concern lies with the No. 15 seed, Team Canada. Despite Team USA flaunting a lineup packed with NBA talents, such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Anthony Edwards, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Tyrese Haliburton – all 2023 All-Stars – Team Canada enters the scene with a remarkably strong roster.
Guided by the new head coach Jordi Hernandez, the team hailing from the Great White North boasts seven NBA players: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the 2023 All-Star point guard from Oklahoma City Thunder; RJ Barrett, the versatile player from the New York Knicks; Dillon Brooks, the skilled small forward representing the Houston Rockets; Luguentz Dort, a guard from the Thunder; Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a wing from the Minnesota Timberwolves; Kelly Olynyk, the center/power forward from the Utah Jazz; and Dwight Powell, the formidable big man from the Dallas Mavericks. Although Jamal Murray, the 2023 Denver Nuggets champion point guard, had initially planned to join, his extended playoff run has left him unfit for the tournament, as confirmed by a team press release.
In light of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence and uncertainty surrounding Luka Doncic’s health, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerges as a potentially dominant player in the competition. RJ Barrett shows promise with his All-Star potential. Meanwhile, every other NBA player on Team Canada has played crucial roles in playoff-worthy teams. This indicates that they stand much taller than their No. 15 seed rank suggests.
The games that truly matter are set to commence on August 25th, with Team USA stepping onto the court for their first significant match on the 26th. The tournament will unveil how these talented players from various nations will perform on the international stage.