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The FIBA 2023 Basketball World Cup is gearing up to begin this month, and while no active Phoenix Suns players are on the United States roster, there are plenty of Valley connections scattered throughout international rosters. With no NBA for two more months, watching FIBA basketball tournaments will have to scratch the proverbial itch we are experiencing as we patiently wait for the highly anticipated 2023-24 season. Some late August/early September basketball will have to tide us over until training camp begins.
It all starts with the FIBA Pre-Qualifying tournament next Monday with two members of the Suns, Deandre Ayton and newly acquired Eric Gordon, representing the Bahamas. This tournament is for teams trying to make the 2024 Olympics in Paris but didn’t qualify for the World Cup that takes place later this month. The Bahamas open up against Cuba at 3:10pm Arizona and they will play against other teams in Group A of the Americas tournament, which includes Argentina and Panama.
The FIBA 2023 Basketball World Cup begins on August 25 with 32 countries competing. The tourney will take place in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia for 17 days, ultimately concluding on September 10.
The Suns don’t have too much of a footprint from their current roster in the FIBA World Cup. In fact, the only current member of the Suns to be on a roster is Yuta Watanabe, who will be competing for his home nation of Japan. There are some former Suns who will be suiting up and representing their countries, however, which will surely draw our attention to those games. Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are playing for Team USA, while Jock Landale will be representing his home country of Australia.
As we prepare to watch some international play, which team are you watching with the most intrigue? Are you staying true to your local country, is the development of current players that excites you the most, or is it your affinity for former players that has your interest?