The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the biggest international basketball event in the world, will run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 across three different countries in Asia.
Here’s what you need to know about the event.
Which countries are competing?
For the second time in the tournament’s history, 32 countries are represented in the World : Cup: five from Africa, seven from the Americas, eight from Asia/Oceania, and 12 from Europe. The complete list can be found here.
Where will the games be played?
The 32 teams are divided into eight groups. Four of those groups will play the group stage and second round in Metro Manila, Philippines, while two each will play in Jakarta, Indonesia and Okinawa, Japan.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game will be hosted by Manila.
This World Cup has been hit by a number of withdrawals from several NBA stars such as Nikola Jokic (Serbia), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Ricky Rubio (Spain), Jamal Murray (Canada), Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia), Rui Hachimura (Japan), and Victor Wembanyama (France).
However, several teams still boast NBA veterans.
Aside from the United States, Canada is loaded with NBA players such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, Luguentz Dort and Dillon Brooks. Australia also has its fair share of star power with Patty Mills, Josh Giddey, Mattise Thybulle, and Joe Ingles. Germany has Dennis Schroeder, Franz and Moritz Wagner, Daniel Theis, Isaiah Harkenstein and Maxi Kleber. France is led by Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier.
There’s a smattering of NBA talent across the playing field, including Yuta Watanabe (Japan), Bruno Fernando (Angola), Simone Fontecchio (Italy), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia), Jordan Clarkson (Philippines), Kyle Anderson (China) and Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania).
The two most popular names still in the mix, though, are Luka Doncic (Slovenia) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic).
Some other names will be familiar to Filipino fans.
Two Asian legends will suit up for what is likely their last World Cup as Hamed Haddadi (Iran) and Zaid Abbas (Jordan) will lead their teams one last time. Meanwhile, Jordan enlisted recent PBA champion Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as its naturalized player.
What’s the format?
Teams in each group play each other once. The top two teams from each group advance to the second round where they will play the top two teams of another group. The bottom two teams of each group are relegated to the classification round and will play the bottom two teams of another group.
All teams will carry their win-loss record from the group stage into either the second round, or the classification round.
The top eight teams of the second round advance to the knockout quarterfinals, where the winners advance to the semifinals and then to the championship game. The bottom eight will play a series of knockout games to determine the 9th to 16th placers.
As for the classification round, teams will also play a series of knockout games to determine the 17th to 32nd placers. In case of ties, point differential will be used.
Full groupings can be found here.
What’s at stake?
There are several storylines in play.
Spain is aiming for back-to-back titles. The US wants redemption after a worst-ever seventh place finish in 2019. Serbia also wants to erase the stigma of a disappointing finish four years ago. Australia, fresh off a first-ever podium finish at the Olympics, aims to surpass that success with a slot in the championship game. France finished third in 2019 and second in the Tokyo Olympics and is looking to take the next step towards basketball glory.
Co-hosts Philippines and Japan want to put on a good performance for local fans, hopefully culminating in a second round appearance. Additionally, Philippines aims to set an all-time World Cup attendance record for a single game on opening day.
Aside from the silverware, all countries are looking to book coveted tickets to next year’s Paris Olympics. The top Asian, African and Oceania finishers, top two Americas finishers, and top two European finishers (outside of host France) will all automatically qualify.
Who are the favorites?
With the absence of several impact players, this year’s tournament might be the most balanced in years.
On paper, Canada looks loaded even without Murray. The US may have not sent their ‘A’ team, but their recent form in tune-up games suggests they’re locked and loaded.
Spain, France, Serbia and Australia will always be in the conversation, while Germany could spring a surprise. Doncic willed Slovenia to a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics, and there’s little reason to think he can’t duplicate that feat.