By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2023 FIBA World Cup tips off Friday (25/8) and a parade of stars is already present in Manila, Okinawa and Jakarta where the Group Phases of the competition will be held. From experienced World Championship veterans to first-timers in the competitions, NBA All-Stars and players who come off the best seasons of their careers, some serious talent will be in display on the World Championship floors.
Eurohoops picked the Top 10 players who are expected to deliver the finest performances, produce crazy numbers, get their viral moments with their feats and, in the end, be the ones who will lead their teams to the top.
The list is in alphabetical order
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia)
The last time Bogdan Bogdanovic played for Serbia he was the leading scorer of the competition. Indeed, the Atlanta Hawks guard had a tournament-high 183 points (22.9 per game) in the 2019 World Championship to make the All-Star Five team, albeit with his national team finishing 5th and missing a podium spot.
Now, Bogdanovic returns to the world stage with Serbia as team captain with a lot more experience and some notable runs in the NBA. His quality and ability to lead and score in abundance for his national team have been undisputed.
Jalen Brunson (USA)
Fresh off the best season of his professional career so far, Jalen Brunson was selected to become the main playmaking driving force for Team USA while providing a strong scoring punch of his own. He showed plenty of how he can juggle both last season with the New York Knicks when he averaged career-highs 24.0 points and 6.2 assists to finish as the second-leading scorer (behind Julius Randle’s 25.1 points) and top passer.
Jordan Clarkson (Philippines)
Jordan Clarkson will want to deliver a spectacle to the local Philippines fans who flat-out adore him and if the rest of his teammates will be able to keep up then the Gilas might survive a difficult for them Group phase (vs. Italy, Dominican Republic and Angola), for a start. Clarkson himself has the tools to become a difference-maker for his squad and a problem for opponents, arriving at the World Cup in his prime, after finishing 2022-23 with career-highs 20.8 points, 4.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds.
Luka Doncic (Slovenia)
Last year Luka Doncic was part of the Holy Trinity of European NBA superstars in the EuroBasket, together with Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Now, he’s the only one from this group present in the World Championship, ready for another show with Slovenia and expected to bring some remarkable, if not record-breaking, performances. He will dominate and there’s no doubt about, but the big question mark is how far can he carry his national team in the tournament.
Anthony Edwards (USA)
Arguably the biggest star in this edition of USA Basketball, Anthony Edwards seems highly eager and extremely motivated to lead his national team back to places of glory after a disappointing all-time low finish in the 7th place at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Look no further than what he did during training camp (or “USA Basketball Showcase”, as the team called it) games: 18.8 points on 50 percent field goal shooting, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals over a 5-0 record. He capped all that with a 34-point game in a comeback win over Germany.
Josh Giddey (Australia)
Okinawa, Japan will be the entry point of two of the players most likely to register a triple-double in this World Cup. The first is, well, Luka Doncic and the other is Australia’s emerging superstar Josh Giddey. While the youngest player on this list at just 20 years of age, Giddey’s combination of high-IQ basketball and rich skillset makes up for his lack of experience at this level and in such a demanding competition. He had 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boomers will love to enjoy a similar kind of impact.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada)
Another Oklahoma City Thunder player on the list, and quite the heavy-hitter. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was an absolute monster last season, averaging 31.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists while becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career and earning a place on the All-NBA First Team. With Jamal Murray out of the picture for Canada, Gilgeous-Alexander, accompanied with several other NBAers, will be called to spearhead the efforts of the team towards winning a first-ever World Cup medal.
Rudy Gobert (France)
It was a tough choice between Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, the usual mega-scorer for France. Apart from being a cornerstone for his national team on both ends, Gobert was picked because he actually played a lot more last season, his first with the Minnesota Timberwolves after spending nine years with the Utah Jazz.
France is aiming to win it all and Gobert, in his fourth straight appearance in a major summer event, will try to push Les Bleus with his fierce and towering defense, rebounding dominance and ability to finish plays with ease.
Lauri Markkanen (Finland)
Last season Lauri Markkanen catapulted his numbers from “very good” (14.6 points) to “star-caliber” (25.6 points) and fittingly made a personal leap himself toward becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career. It was quite the followup from a stunning EuroBasket run with Finland where he led the team to the quarterfinals and a big fight against a Spain side that went on to win the gold.
What can the ever-improving Markkanen do for Finland this summer? It will be difficult for them in a Group that also includes medal hopefuls Australia and Germany, apart from host Japan but the Utah Jazz forward has shown that he can become a miracle-maker for the “Susijengi”.
Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic)
In just his first game with the Dominican Republic this summer, Karl-Anthony Towns showed his teeth: 20 points, six rebounds in a surprising preparation win over star-studded Canada. And that may be just the beginning.
It’s not just about Towns’ offensive style that can translate perfectly to the international stage with superb results, but how his playing and presence (come on opposing big men, pursue KAT far from the paint) lifts his entire team. With KAT around, the Dominican Republic may be a prime candidate for becoming a serious pleasant surprise in the World Cup.
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