The United States gets a favorable draw for the 2023 FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup

Brian WindhorstSenior writer for ESPN3 minutes to read

Team USA got a positive draw on Saturday as they seek to win back the FIBA ​​World Cup, though they do have a potential meeting with Giannis Antetokounmpo when they take on Greece early in the action.

The draw for the 32-team tournament, which runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, was held in Manila on Saturday. The Philippines, Indonesia and Japan are co-hosts of the World Cup.

The Americans, who will be led by Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr for the first time, will open the Group C match in Manila against New Zealand on August 26, before facing Greece on August 28 and Jordan on August 30.

Perhaps more importantly, the way the draw fell, the Americans have the potential to avoid facing defending champions Spain, Olympic silver medalists France or NBA talent-laden Canada until the semi-finals.

“There’s a peace of mind knowing who we’re going to play,” said NBA CEO Grant Hill. “We know Greece and we know Giannis.”

Antetokumbu has yet to confirm he will play for his country but has made it a priority. The Milwaukee Bucks’ stunning early exit from the playoffs could make it possible.

Additionally, the USA team’s biggest potential opponents in the second round are Lithuania, currently ranked 8th in the world, and Montenegro, currently ranked 18th. They have avoided some other top-ranked and dangerous opponents from Europe such as Luka Doncic’s Slovenia. Serbia, led by Nikola Jokic.

Unlike the last World Cup in China where the USA had to travel thousands of miles across the country and ended up with a disappointing seventh place, the draw put the USA in the same arena in Manila for every match.

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France and Canada had the toughest draw among the competitors, as they were placed in the same pool with the pool games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

France beat the USA in the 2019 World Cup as well as in pool at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Victor Wimpanyama has expressed interest in playing alongside international superstar Rudi Gobert who could give them a dominant lead line.

France will open the World Cup in a vital match against Canada, which could feature all-star Shay Gilgios-Alexander as well as key players Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett, Lou Dort and Dillon Brooks. National College Player of the Year Zach Eddy is also expected to be on the team.

It wasn’t a nice draw for Spain either. Joining the same group as a strong Brazilian side, Spain will have to play both Canada and France in the second round to make it to the quarter-finals.

Arguably Spain, France and Canada have three of the five most talented teams in the world and one of them will not make it to the quarter-finals to stand a chance of winning a medal. The US team, who will likely be lucky to wait 2,000 miles away, will be an interested spectator.

Australia, ranked No. 3 in the world and Olympic bronze medalists, drew a tough group with Germany and Finland led by Lauri Markkanen for the matches to be played in Okinawa.

The Australians were also drawn to a potentially interesting category side with Slovenia, which would be a replay of the bronze medal match in Tokyo when Patty Mills scored 42 as Australia won their first ever Olympic medal. Doncic had 22 points in that game for Slovenia, as he finished off an impressive display in pulling off an upset.

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Australia and Slovenia face Team USA before the semi-finals — if the Americans can take care of business and finish first after playing three games of pool play and then two games in the second round as they did under that format in 2019.

The United States will likely have a second-round matchup against the Dominican Republic, which pulled off an upset in 2019 in China. Carl Anthony Towns said he hopes to play for the Dominicans this summer, giving them star power. Also on this side of the category, Italy is ranked 10th in the world.

In recent months, Hill has gathered potential players for the US roster, which will be compiled in July ahead of training camp in early August. There is strong interest, Hill said, although many interested players are still in the playoffs, and health and rest will be considered.

“We will have some players who are experienced in international play but also some who are new to it,” Hill said. “Now that we know what our opponent looks like, we can put our head down and try to put together a list that will give us a chance to win.”

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