Players to watch in the upcoming FIBA World Cup (Part 2)

The FIBA Basketball World Cup is two days away and the teams (with a few expections) set their 12-man roster in order to participate in the tournament, which starts in the 31st of August.

Having already examined the heavy favourites of the tournament, let’s take a closer look to the players, who may have a big impact on their teams during the competition.

Turkey: Furkan Korkmaz

Korkmaz is one of the best players of the Turkish squad. The Sixers’ guard-forward had some great performances in the preparation games. 

Korkmaz will have to score from the perimeter and get to the free throw line more often  in order to help Turkey NT to become more effective in scoring from inside the perimeter.

Next season, Korkmaz will be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association 

Czech Republic: Tomas Satoransky

Czech Republic are entering the World Cup with many questions whether they can compete in a quite group that consists of USA, Turkey and Japan.

Without Jan Vesely, Thomas Satoranski will have to amp up his game and become the leader of his team.

The Washington Wizards’ playmaker had his best season of his career in the NBA, averaging 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5 assists on 48.5% in field goal percentage. 

This summer, Satoransky, 27, signed a three-year 30 million deal with the Chicago Bulls.

USA: Donovan Mitchell

Photo: Twitter/Australia Basketball

USA NT experienced the deprivation of many superstars like James Harden, Anthony Davis and others. Furthermore, they lost Kyle Kuzma with an ankle injury a few days before the start of the tournament.

USA will need the scoring skills of Donovan Mitchell to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Mitchell is a perennial All-Star with incredible touch, when it comes to penetrating the opponent’s perimeter defense.

The previous season, in his sophomore year, Mitchell averaged about 24 points, four rebounds and four assists on a high usage rating (31.6%) with the Utah Jazz.

Something that will have to occur in this case against the different types of defensive schemes under Gregg Popovich’s guidance.

Japan: Rui Hachimura

Japan NT, for the first time in their history of participating in these tournaments, will have a “reference point” in their roster. 

Rui Hachimura is having a great summer, where he has been drafted from the Washington Wizards and he gradually becoming the leader of his national team.

In the 5th appearance in the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the first since 2006, Japan NT will have an NBAer in their roster.

Hachimura had some great performances in the recent weeks. Namely, he scored 31 points against Germany and 23 points against the 5th ranked team in the world, Argentina.

Greece: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo Greece Turkey
Photo: Hellenic Basketball Federation

Giannis Antetokounmpo is participating for the first time after two years with his national team in the “big stage.”

“Big” is also the word that can describe the impact, which the MVP has on his team’s play. 

The Buck’s superstar is an incredible finisher around the rim and also incredibly efficient at attacking the paint especially in the open court.

In the previous season, he averaged 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, being the best player of the regular season in the NBA.

This time, his new goal is to lead the Greek NT in the semi-finals for the first time in thirteen years.

New Zealand: Tai Webster

Without Steven Adams, New Zealand have to rely on their experienced players, but the name that stands out from the 12-man squad is Tai Webster.

Last season, Webster played for Galatasaray, averaging about 11 points and four assists. Obviously, the ex-Nebraska player will have the role of the main ball-handler and will be the scoring guard of his team.

Brazil: Bruno Caboclo

Brazil is one of the most experienced teams of the tournament, with the likes of Leandro Barbosa and Andrerson Varejao standing out, but Caboclo will be the new “blood transfusion” in the Brazil NT. 

The previous season, he played in 34 games with the Memphis Grizzles, averaging about eight points on 36% from the three point line.

The young forward will have to continue to show improvement and the FIBA World Cup is a great opportunity for him.

Montenegro: Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic is definitely one of the best players in the tournament. The skillful “big” from Montenegro will have to lead his national team on both sides of the floor.

Last season, while playing for the Orlando Magic, Vucevic had a “career” year scoring about 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds per game on 51% in field goal percentage.

Dominican Republic: Sadiel Rojas

The Domenican Republic NT may not have neither of its superstars (Towns, Horford), but they will have a roster full of fierce competitors. One of the them is definitely Sadiel Rojas.

Rojas, 30, will lead the team’s perimeter with his unparalleled “motor” that makes him a credible “threat” on both sides of the floor.

Murcia’s guard averaged about five points and five assists per game playing in the ACB last season.

France: Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier France
Photo: News 1 France

Rudy Gobert will play his part in the defensive end, but the offensive efficiency of Evan Fournier could make the difference in a close game.

Fournier will be the option of the France NT, when the need for scoring becomes a necessity for them.

The Orlando Magic’s guard is already showed encouraging signs setting a new career-high (29 points in 19 minutes) in a preparation game against Italy.

Germany: Dennis Schröder

Dennis Schroder will be the leader of one of the most talented squads in the history of the Germany NT. 

Being mentored by Russell Westbrook last season, the scoring guard of Henrik Rödl’s team needs to do something more than just scoring. 

That “more” include trying to get a credible roster to reach its full potential through avoiding unforced errors. 

Jordan: Ahmet Duverioglou

Jordan NT is about to enter the FIBA World Cup in one of the most competitive groups of the tournament. 

Jordan will need the experience of Ahmet Duverioglou in order to have a chance to get a win against anyone in this competition.

Duverioglou is playing for Fenerbahce, having won one Euroleague title and two Turkish Championships. 

He is known as Ahmad Hekmat Al-Dwairi in Jordan. 

Canada: Kevin Pangos

Until Cory Joseph officially returns to the roster, Kevin Pangos will be the star of a very limited roster in the offensive side of the floor. 

Pangos, 26, is the most decorated player of the squad, being a two-time member of the EuroLeague second best team and a two-time champion with Zalgiris Kaunas. 

Senegal: Maurice N’Dour

Senegal has many physically gifted athletes and without Dieng and Taco Fall, the fans interest shifts to Maurice NDour.

NDour was the defensive player of the year and an All-star in the VTB League playing for UNICS Kazan this year. 

In the next season, he will be playing for Valencia of the ACB.

Australia: Andrew Bogut

In one of his last big-stage tournaments, Andrew Bogut will try to lead the “Boomers” in the semi-final in order to fight for the first three places of the competition. 

He injured his ankle in the last preparation game, but if he is healthy, the Australian big man will lead his team with the unparalleled basketball IQ and his passing ability, especially from the high post.

Lithuania:Domantas Sabonis

The accumulation of the talent in the Lithuania NT is centered in its front line. 

Jonas Valanciunas, Domantas Sabonis and others need to find the best possible role in order to lead their national team to a successful campaign in this tournament.

Sabonis need to adjust his game in order to co-exist with Jonas Valanciunas.

Last season, he was one of the most efficient players in the NBA, averaging about 14 points and 9 rebounds for the Indiana Pacers. 

Part 1