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World Cup 2023


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Basketball World Cup 2023 begins in late August (first matches August 25th) in Philippines, Japan (Okinawa) and Indonesia. It is still three months to the World Cup, but I for one believe this would be an excellent time to get a WC thread here :) Training camps (where I believe for example Walker Kessler might get an invite to) for various countries are held in late June and/or early July, the practice matches begin the second half of July. For Jazz fans the possibility to see many of their players in the actual World Cup (and/or in the training matches leading to the Cup), as well as seeing many potential future Jazz players (some of the international teams have players entering the draft in 24 or 25), should be interesting.

Current and former Jazz players taking part in the World Cup (as per May 22nd; I will update this list as we find out who will be playing for Team USA):
Lauri Markkanen, Finland
Jordan Clarkson, Philippines
Simone Fontecchio, Italy
Kelly Olynyk, Canada
Juan Toscano-Anderson, Mexico

Rudy Gobert, France
Ricky Rubio, Spain
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Canada
Raul Neto, Brazil

Even though Argentina (after their shocking defeat to Dominica in qualifiers) and Nigeria failed to qualify (Argentina has been for decades a favourite to win one of the medals, and Nigeria has been one of the hardest competing teams), and nobody yet knows what kind of a team USA will bring (but USA will still be the favourite to win, no matter who dress up for the team), this looks like to be the toughest World Cup ever organised. 20 of the 32 teams have at least one NBA player, which is by far a new record. Add to that the fanatic (and LOUD) home crowds of Philippines and Japan (and the crowds of Indonesia are legendary (in)famous, so even though Team Indonesia failed to qualify one can expect the crowd to go crazy), and this might be a tournament to remember.

Each team in a group plays against the three other teams of the group. The two top teams qualify from each group to the round of 16, where the single elimination matches begin. All teams thus play at least three games, and at most seven (if the team goes all the way to the finals).

Official website

Dominican Republic
This group should have some intense fighting for the two qualifying spots, even though none of the teams are medal-favourites. Italy (with Fontecchio) has a balanced and well coached team (and the favourite to be the other one to go through from this group), Dominica has Karl-Anthony Towns leading their young team, Philippines has Jordan Clarkson leading their team of a good mix of veterans and younglings (and backed by the ultra-fanatic home-crowd), while Angola has in the past shown they are not pushovers.

Puerto Rico
South Sudan
Nikola Jokic led Serbia, with almost all of their players having NBA experience, will stomp over the other three in this group, even though the three others have good teams too. The others fight for the second place, and it might come down to who lost the least to Serbia to decide who goes through. Whoever goes through as second from this group meets the winner of Group A in first elimination round, so there is a good chance for that team to get to 2nd elimination round.

New Zealand
There are two clear favourites in this group, USA and Giannis led Greece. If one was a believer in conspiracy theories, it would almost look like this was set up for USA and Greece to get two easy practice matches (vs New Zealand and Jordan), and then one tough practice match (vs each other), because New Zealand and Jordan have a snowballs chance in hell to survive vs either USA or Greece.

A rather weak group, even though Lithuania has the twin-towers of Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas leading a good team, and likely to win this group. Egypt is probably the odd man out here, while Mexico (with JTA from Jazz) and Montenegreo fight for the second qualifying spot. Probably the matches with smallest crowds (none of these countries are known to send enthuastic crowds to away games), so the atmosphere might be rather dull in the matches too.

Germany and Australia, with NBA stars and nearly full squads of players with NBA experience, are medal favourites of the tournament. Neither of them likely are happy to have been drawn to the same group with Finland or Japan though, as Finland has sometimes been able to surprise favourites (mainly due to monster games from Lauri Markkanen or Sasu Salin), and Japan always seems to go wtfbbqbanzai -mode in any sports where they are competing in front of their homecrowd. Possibly the toughest group in the tournament.

Cape Verde
Luka Doncic lead Slovenia will stomp over the other three in this group, and just as likely Georgia (the country, not the state in USA :D ) will stomp over the other two of the group, unless Tavares goes beast-mode for Cape Verde. Probably the least interesting group to follow thus. Perhaps the main interest will be to see how many 30+ triple-double games Luka will grab in this group.

Ivory Coast
This group has two medal favourites (Spain and Brazil) and two weaker teams (Iran and Ivory Coast). Ricky Rubio always goes beast-mode when playing for Spain, and now he has in front of him the spanish team that won Eurobasket 2022. Brazil has athletic and skilled players, and the team is well coached. Iran is in there as they pretty much got defaulted the place (South Korea would have been in, but they had to cancel a match due to Covid, and FIBA kicked them out). Ivory Coast has a decent team, but vs Spain or Brazil they stand no chance.

Team France is STACKED with skilled players, and the matches might turn into a Wemby show, if the veteran players just allow it (France has in the past had some strict pecking orders, and younglings start from the bottom); France is the favourite to win the group, if the team cohesion doesn't collapse (again). Canada with SGA, Barret, Brooks, Boucher, Olynyk and a roster full of NBA players will give France a proper challenge. Latvia with Porzingis and Bertans has a very good team, and will try to (desperately) fight for a qualifying spot. Poor Lebanon will be lucky if they find home after the circus they will have to go through.
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Main differences of rules between FIBA and NBA

Playing time 4x10 minutes
Shot clock 24 seconds, after offensive rebound 14 seconds
3-point line is a couple feet closer to the basket
No defensive 3 second rule
Ball can be swatted away by the defenders immediatly after it has hit the rim (ie goal-tending rule is different)
Hand-checking is legal

Time-outs can only be called by the coach, and the coach has to be standing next to the officiating table when calling out the time-out. Each team can have two time-outs in first half, three time-outs in second half (only one can be had during last two minutes of 4th quarter), and max one time-out per OT.

Foul out on 5 fouls (personal and technical)
Technical foul award the opponent two free-throws and ball given to them afterwards. Techncial fouls are awarded for unsportsmanlike behaviour much easier than in NBA, so a player flopping or complaining to the referees often/usually ends in technical foul.
Last two minutes throw-in foul; during last 2 minutes of 4th quarter, and during OT, a defending player committing a foul (like obstructing movement for example) before the ball is released in a throw-in situation, results in 1 free-throw and a new throw-in.

FIBA games tend to be faster paced due to shorter quarters and limited time-outs, and limited complaining to refs (even Luka tends to keep his mouth shut after a couple techical fouls). With no 3 second rule and the hand-checking allowed the games also tend to be quite a bit more physical, and it is quite a bit harder to score than in NBA (it is not uncommon for the winning team to score just 60+ points) and not only because of the different goal-tending rules. If you love games with lots of scoring, then FIBA matches definitively are not something for you (though you probably will see USA and Greece drop 100+ points on Jordan and/or New Zealand, as those two just are so weak teams).
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