The second round of FIBA 2023 basketball The World Cup qualification is imminent.
In Window 4, running August 22-30, 2022, the 60 remaining countries in their respective regions continue to compete for a spot at next year’s Men’s World Cup, co-hosted by Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Securing a ticket is not an easy task.
All teams are now in two groups of six, with the exception of the European countries, who have been split into four groups of six. They need to keep winning games to finish in their groups as best as possible to have a shot at the World Cup.
With so much at stake, many countries have scoured their talent pools and sent out invitations to their best to boost their offerings. And with the National Basketball Association (NBA) season not scheduled to begin until October 18, those competing in the United States’ major league are gearing up for a slice of international glory.
As the clock counts down to the start of the window, most teams have announced who they’ve invited to their long rosters, and there are a few names that fans of the NBA will be more than familiar with.
Below we run the rule on some of the headline names before window 4 starts.
Note: Final rosters will be confirmed after technical meetings held before the start of each game.
MORE: 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers: Window 4 Previews, Schedules & Stars to Watch
Giannis Antetokounmpo in action for Greece at the 2019 FIBA World Cup
Image from 2019 Getty Images
1- Giannis Antetokounmpo – Greece
Two-time NBA MVP and championship winner with the Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the crown jewel in Greece’s squad for World Cup qualifiers and the EuroBasket that takes place immediately afterwards.
The 7-foot-10 giant, affectionately known as the “Greek Freak,” joins the group to try to improve his country’s chances of going to another world after winning the flagship show back in 2019. event had attended.
For those wondering how the 27-year-old forward hopes to break through to the national team, Antetokounmpo was instrumental in Greece’s victory over reigning world champions Spain in a friendly organized ahead of the qualifiers.
On his 50th appearance, Antetokounmpo scored 31 points in just 20 minutes, giving him his all-time high score. The Greek squad recorded seven out of ten free throws, nine out of ten doubles and two out of three three-pointers.
Giannis is joined by the Dallas Mavericks guard Tyler Dorsey as well as Kostas et al Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
2- Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier – France
France will have a roster full of NBA stars for qualifiers and then the EuroBasket.
That Tokyo 2020 The Olympic silver medalists have a roster with the newly signed Minnesota Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert, New York Knicks’ Evan FournierAtlanta Hawks Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Theo Maledon of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The superstar duo and known best friends, Gobert and Fournier, have both signaled their intention to earn France some international silver to end the nine-year drought since the country last won a major basketball title.
Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic during a friendly match between Serbia and Slovenia in August 2022
Image from 2022 Getty Images
3- Nikola Jokic – Serbia
The two-time reigning NBA MVP, when it comes to leading from the front, doesn’t get any better than Serbia’s Nikola Jokić.
Having last represented his team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, Jokic has made it his team’s mission to take Serbia to the next event. It’s a promise that comes with many expectations, not least because the Serbs failed to make it to the Tokyo Olympics after falling at the final hurdle against Italy in 2020.
Jokic, known as the ‘Joker’, will be crucial for his country.
This year, in his seventh NBA season, the 27-year-old confirmed his third All-NBA First Team selection in four years; his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance; was the first in NBA history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists by a single player and received the honor of becoming the 13th consecutive MVP winner in league history.
Chimezie Metu defends Nicolo Melli at Tokyo 2020 in 2021
Image from 2021 Getty Images
4- Chimezie Metu and Josh Okogie – Nigeria
Nigeria’s D’Tigers will compete in the African qualifier hoping to be joined by both Chimezie Metu and Josh Okogie after both players were officially invited to the squad.
Metu of the Sacramento Kings was slapped on the back after an impressive performance against Uganda in Window 3, while Okogie, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, also took the call.
Should both players make the final squad, Nigeria hope they are at their best.
Not only are the team a result that will carry them into the second round with two wins from four games, but they also have to take on a previously unbeaten Côte d’Ivoire in their opening game. Then they meet Guinea and Angola.
It will be a tall mountain to climb, but for the Nigerian team that made it to Tokyo 2020, securing back-to-back World Cup appearances is a point of pride and one they will fight for.
Watanabe Yuta in action at the FIBA Asia Cup in July 2022
Image from 2022 Getty Images
5- Watanabe Yuta – Japan
The star of the Toronto Raptors Watanabe Yuta is a name that cannot be missing from Japan’s tentative list.
While the country may have already qualified for 2023 by being one of the competition’s co-hosts, the Akatsuki Five still take qualifiers seriously, which means they’re inviting the big guns like Watanabe.
The 27-year-old suffered a sprained ankle that kept him from playing at the 2022 Asian Cup last month, but it seems he is now fully fit after being named alongside his team-mates from the tournament: Hariomoto Tenketsu, Suda Yutaroh, Togashi Yuki, Yoshii Hirotaka, Nishida yudai, inoue Soichiroand Kawamura Yuki.
6- Luka Doncic – Slovenia
Slovenian superstar Dallas Mavericks is fresh from lighting Window 3 Luke Doncic will remain in the squad for window 4 of World Cup qualifiers.
The 24-year-old immediately turned things around for his country in July, guiding Slovenia to two crucial wins over Sweden and Croatia.
Doncic’s performance over the Scandinavian country was particularly impressive. The point guard accumulated 31 points, took 10 rebounds and produced six assists to fend off the opponent and win 84-81.
Doncic made no secret of his ambition to win silver in his national jersey Goran Dragic who just signed with the Chicago Bulls, and Denver Nuggets’ Vlatko Cancarwill be an important piece of the puzzle for Slovenia as they bid for a World Cup spot and go the distance at the EuroBasket shortly after the end of qualifying.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in action for the Oklahoma City Thunder
Image from 2021 Getty Images
7- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Canada
After Canada missed Tokyo 2020, Canada had made it their mission to bolster their international basketball program, and that included signing 14 players by then Paris 2024.
14 of them, including Jamal Murray and RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder has become a standout team for his country as they have gone through all qualifying windows undefeated.
Maintaining its winning streak is now the priority for Canada, which is committing its Window 4 resources beyond the FIBA AmeriCup, which takes place in September.
Window 3 MVP Gilgeous-Alexander is already growing into his role for Team Canada alongside other NBA teammates Kelly Olynyk (Detroit piston), Nickelil Alexander Walker (Utah jazz) and Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), who are expected to join the roster for the next two game days.
How to watch: 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers Window 4
Some of Window 4’s games can be viewed through FIBA’s broadcast partners around the world.
For live videos and highlights, online fans can follow the action at Courtside 1891. More information on how to play can be found there.
Some geographic restrictions may apply.