2023 World Cup: Top 20 players in the tournament



2023 World Cup: Top 20 players in the tournament

The highly anticipated 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup has arrived, and Team USA is determined to secure the gold medal after their disappointment in the 2019 World Cup in China.

Although notable stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant will be absent from the tournament, it is worth noting that 57 NBA players will be competing on the global stage.

In light of this, our team of writers and editors has carefully projected the Top 23 players for the World Cup, many of whom are NBA talents. This selection has been the result of a thorough voting process. So, without any further delay, let's dive right into the thrilling action of the tournament.

20- Dillon Brooks (Canada)

Dillon Brooks recently made headlines by signing a lucrative four-year, $86 million contract with the Rockets during the offseason. This deal exceeded many expectations, particularly considering his performance in the playoffs against LeBron James and the Lakers, where he engaged in trash-talk but ultimately struggled on the court.

Now, the focus turns to Brooks' upcoming stint with the Canadian National Team, which has high aspirations for a successful tournament run. It remains to be seen how Brooks will approach his role within the team. Will he demonstrate his abilities as a tough 3-and-D player, contributing on both ends of the court, or will he fall into the trap of being an inefficient shot-chucker? Brooks has shown glimpses of both aspects in his game, which adds an element of intrigue to his contribution with the national team.

As the tournament unfolds, it will be fascinating to observe how Brooks performs and what style of play he brings to the table. His presence could have a significant impact on Canada's chances of going far in the competition.

19- Simone Fontecchio (Italy)

Simone Fontecchio made his transition to the NBA last season following an impressive performance in the 2022 EuroBasket tournament. He had the opportunity to showcase his skills in 52 games for the Utah Jazz, but unfortunately, his performance did not meet expectations. Fontecchio struggled, averaging 6.3 points per game on a subpar 36.9 percent shooting from the field.

However, under the guidance of coach Gianmarco Pozzecco and his high-octane offense, Fontecchio appears to have undergone a transformation. It seems that within Pozzecco's system, Fontecchio has flourished and displayed improved performances.

In terms of FIBA accolades, Fontecchio has earned one Italian Cup title, which highlights his success at the national level.

Fans and observers will be eagerly watching Fontecchio's progress to see if his success in Pozzecco's system will translate into a more impactful NBA career moving forward.

18- Nikola Vucevic (Montenegro)

Nikola Vucevic has been a stalwart center in the NBA for several years, consistently showcasing his skills and making significant contributions to his teams. Despite his success in the league, Vucevic remains dedicated to representing his home country of Montenegro, which has a population of 619,211. Montenegro was previously the smallest country to qualify for the FIBA World Cup until Cape Verde achieved the same feat this year.

At 32 years old, Vucevic continues to prioritize his commitment to the Montenegrin National Team, demonstrating his passion for representing his country on the international stage. His dedication is commendable, considering his already established status in the NBA.

Vucevic recently signed a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls, ensuring his presence with the team until the 2026 offseason. The extension is valued at $60 million, solidifying his future with the Bulls and highlighting the team's confidence in his abilities.

As Vucevic balances his NBA career and national team responsibilities, fans can expect him to continue making valuable contributions on both fronts. His commitment to representing Montenegro serves as a testament to his love for the game and his desire to compete at the highest level.

17-  Patrick Mills (Australia)

Patrick Mills has consistently displayed a different style of play when representing the Australian National Team in FIBA competitions compared to his performances in the NBA. Although the 35-year-old veteran may have encountered some difficulties during Australia's preparatory games this summer, there is a strong belief that he will regain his form once the actual tournament commences.

Throughout the years, Mills has showcased his exceptional basketball skills while competing for the Australian National Team. His leadership and contributions have been instrumental in guiding his team to an Olympic bronze medal finish and securing four FIBA Oceania titles.

As the upcoming summer tournament unfolds, it will be intriguing to observe how Mills adapts to his role within a relatively stacked Australian team. With a talented roster surrounding him, Mills may not have the ball in his hands as frequently as he does in the NBA. It remains to be seen how he will adjust to this dynamic and continue to make an impact on the court.

Fans and observers will eagerly await Mills' performances, hoping to witness the return of his remarkable FIBA self and the invaluable contributions he brings to the Australian National Team.

16- Willy Hernangomez (Spain) 

Last year, Spain's head coach Sergio Scariolo expressed his dissatisfaction with HoopsHype's rankings, as they did not include any Spanish players among the top players of the EuroBasket tournament prior to its commencement. However, Spain's national team proved the rankings wrong by emerging as the champions, with Willy Hernangomez earning the tournament's MVP title.

Hernangomez, now a player for Barcelona after a successful seven-year stint in the NBA, is expected to take on a key offensive role for the team, along with his brother Juancho, who is known for his "Hustle" style of play.

In terms of FIBA accolades, Spain boasts an impressive record, including one World Cup title, two EuroBasket titles, one Olympic bronze medal, one EuroBasket MVP award, and two Spanish League titles. These accomplishments highlight the team's success on both the international and domestic stages.

As Spain's national team continues to compete, fans will eagerly anticipate the leadership and offensive contributions of Willy Hernangomez, as well as the energy brought by his brother Juancho. Together, they aim to further solidify Spain's standing as a force to be reckoned with in international basketball.

15- Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania)

Jonas Valanciunas, an NBA veteran known for his relentless work ethic, consistently devotes his summers to representing the Lithuanian National Team. However, in the upcoming tournaments, he will have to compete without the presence of Domantas Sabonis, which could have potentially formed a formidable pairing for Lithuania. Unfortunately, their collaboration during the 2022 EuroBasket did not live up to expectations and ultimately proved to be a disappointment for the team.

Valanciunas will now take on a more prominent role as the centerpiece for the Lithuanian National Team. With his skill set and experience, he will be relied upon to lead the team and guide them towards success. Lithuania, a historically strong basketball nation, has not secured a medal since the EuroBasket tournament in 2015. Valanciunas will play a crucial role in their pursuit to return to the podium.

In terms of FIBA accolades, Valanciunas has achieved two EuroBasket silver medals, showcasing his contributions to Lithuania's past successes on the international stage.

As Valanciunas takes on the challenge of leading his national team, fans will eagerly anticipate his performances and hope for a resurgence in Lithuania's medal aspirations. Valanciunas' experience, skills, and determination will be vital as Lithuania seeks to reclaim their position among the top teams in European basketball.

14- Jordan Clarkson (Philippines)

Jordan Clarkson is expected to bring excitement and energy to the upcoming FIBA World Cup, particularly when playing in front of the passionate Filipino crowd in sold-out arenas. Clarkson's dynamic style of play, which often sees him excel coming off the bench in the NBA, could potentially give the Philippines a competitive edge in the tournament.

With Clarkson's scoring ability and offensive firepower, the Philippines has a chance to make an impact and surprise opponents. His performances will be crucial in determining the team's success. Opening night will be particularly compelling, as Clarkson's Philippines faces off against Karl-Anthony Towns' Dominican Republic, making it a must-watch game for viewers. The clash between these two talented players adds an extra layer of intrigue to the matchup.

Fans can anticipate an exciting tournament as they witness Clarkson's explosive plays and his contributions to the Filipino national team. His performances could play a significant role in determining the team's fortunes in the FIBA World Cup.

13- Dennis Schroeder (Germany) 

Dennis Schroeder loves to play the villain role, especially in FIBA tournaments. He talks a lot of trash on the court but sometimes overdoes it. That said, there’s no denying he walks the talk when he wears Germany’s jersey. Schroeder averaged 22.1 points and 7.1 assists per game in last year’s Eurobasket, leading his National Team to the semifinals after beating Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Greece in the quarterfinals. Along with Franz Wagner, he is expected to lead Germany to yet another deep run in a FIBA competition, this time in the World Cup.

FIBA accolades: One Eurobasket bronze medal

12- Tyrese Haliburton (USA) 

Tyrese Haliburton is expected to play a key role for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, even if he initially comes off the bench. While he may not start every game, don't be surprised to see him on the floor during critical moments when the game is on the line. Haliburton's versatility and playmaking abilities make him a valuable asset for coach Steve Kerr.

As a skilled playmaker, Haliburton has the potential to lead Team USA in assists, showcasing his ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. His court vision and basketball IQ contribute to his effectiveness in setting up his teammates and orchestrating the offense.

Defensively, Haliburton's length and quick hands can be significant assets for Team USA. His ability to disrupt passing lanes and generate steals can lead to fast-break opportunities and defensive stops, adding value to the team's overall success.

While Haliburton may not have a guaranteed starting role, his impact on the court, particularly in clutch situations, shouldn't be underestimated. His playmaking and defensive contributions could be crucial for Team USA's potential run for a gold medal in the tournament.

11- Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia)

With Nikola Jokic opting to sit out the tournament, Bogdan Bogdanovic is set to take on a primary role as the go-to player for the Serbian National Team in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. Known for his scoring prowess in the NBA, averaging 14 points per game, Bogdanovic has the potential to increase his scoring output to 20-plus points per game during the tournament.

As the focal point of Serbia's offense, Bogdanovic will shoulder the responsibility of leading the team and delivering strong performances. Given Serbia's recent disappointments in international competitions, there will be added pressure on him to help the team meet expectations.

During crunch time and pivotal moments, Bogdanovic can be expected to have the ball in his hands, as he possesses the skills and experience to make crucial plays for his team. His ability to score from various positions on the court and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates will be vital to Serbia's success.

In terms of FIBA accolades, Bogdanovic's resume includes an Olympic silver medal, a World Cup silver medal, a EuroBasket silver medal, and an Euroleague title. He has also been recognized as the top scorer in the World Cup and has earned a spot in the World Cup All-Tournament Team.

As Serbia looks to make a strong statement in the World Cup, Bogdan Bogdanovic's offensive prowess and leadership will be central to their aspirations. Fans can anticipate him stepping up and delivering impactful performances on the international stage.

10- RJ Barrett (Canada)

RJ Barrett, at the age of 23, is regarded as one of the premier young wing players in the NBA. Beyond his accomplishments in the league, Barrett is also carrying on a family legacy as he represents his country on the international stage. His father, Rowan Barrett, holds a significant role as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Canada Basketball, and he dedicated numerous summers to the Canadian National Team when other prominent Canadian stars chose not to participate in FIBA competitions.

As RJ Barrett takes the baton from his father, he does so with immense pride and a commitment to upholding the family tradition. His presence on the national team signifies his dedication to Canadian basketball and his desire to contribute to its success. With his talent, skills, and passion for the game, Barrett is poised to play a vital role in Canada's pursuit of a deep tournament run and potentially a medal.

As one of the rising stars in the NBA, Barrett's inclusion on the Canadian National Team adds a significant boost to their chances in international competitions. Fans and supporters can expect him to showcase his abilities and make a significant impact, both offensively and defensively, in his quest to help Canada achieve success on the global basketball stage.

9 - Rudy Gobert (France)

Rudy Gobert, the talented French center, boasts an impressive collection of five medals representing his national team. However, the highly coveted gold medal has so far eluded him. Gobert has come agonizingly close to achieving this feat, with two silver medals, one from a loss to Team USA in the 2020 Olympics and another in a surprising defeat against underdog Spain in the previous year's EuroBasket.

If France is to break their gold medal curse and emerge victorious in future tournaments, Gobert will have to assert himself as the best center in the competition, or at least perform at an elite level. His impact on both ends of the court will be vital to France's success. Gobert's defensive prowess, shot-blocking ability, and rebounding skills make him a force to be reckoned with in international competition.

Although currently ranked at No. 12 overall, Gobert's value to the French national team extends beyond individual rankings. His contributions on the court, particularly in the paint, are crucial to the team's success. With his continued growth and impact, Gobert has the potential to elevate France's chances of securing the elusive gold medal.

Gobert's FIBA accolades include one Olympic silver medal, two World Cup bronze medals, one EuroBasket silver medal, and one EuroBasket bronze medal. These accomplishments highlight his consistent role in France's strong performances on the international stage.

As Gobert continues to lead the French national team, fans and supporters will eagerly anticipate his dominant play and hope that he can help guide France to the ultimate goal of winning the gold medal in future tournaments.

8- Brandon Ingram (USA)

Brandon Ingram was initially projected to fill the stretch four role for Team USA, similar to how Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony have played in the past. However, his performances in the preparation games were reportedly underwhelming. Despite this, Ingram's undeniable talent ensures that he will still have a significant role on the team.

Ingram's scoring ability is a testament to his talent. Averaging 25 points per game in the NBA last season showcases his offensive capabilities. While he may not have found his rhythm during the preparation games, his scoring prowess and skill set make him a valuable asset to Team USA.

It's important to note that exhibition games may not always accurately reflect a player's potential or performance in the actual tournament. Sometimes players take time to adjust to the team dynamics and find their rhythm within the system. Given Ingram's talent and previous achievements, it is reasonable to expect him to contribute significantly when the stakes are higher in the tournament.

Despite a less than stellar showing in the preparation games, Ingram's offensive abilities and overall talent should secure him an important role on the team. Team USA will likely look to harness his scoring prowess and utilize his skills to their advantage as they compete for success in the tournament.

7- Franz Wagner (Germany)

Franz Wagner, at the age of 21, is quickly emerging as one of the top European basketball players. Following his strong showing in the EuroBasket tournament last year with Germany, Wagner continued to impress during his second year in the NBA, increasing his scoring average to 18 points per game. His performance in the upcoming World Cup will likely play a crucial role in determining Germany's success in the tournament.

With his well-rounded skill set and versatility, Wagner has the potential to make a significant impact for Germany. His scoring ability, defensive prowess, and basketball IQ make him a valuable asset on both ends of the court. As he continues to develop and gain experience, Wagner's contributions to the team are expected to be instrumental.

While Wagner's individual achievements and growth are noteworthy, his success in the World Cup will depend on how well he can integrate with the rest of the German team. Basketball is a team sport, and the collective effort will ultimately determine Germany's performance in the tournament. Nonetheless, Wagner's scoring ability and overall skill set make him a player to watch and someone who could significantly influence Germany's journey in the World Cup.

In terms of FIBA accolades, Wagner has already secured a EuroBasket bronze medal, demonstrating his ability to perform on the international stage. As he enters the World Cup, fans and supporters can look forward to witnessing his continued development and his potential impact on Germany's success in the tournament.

6- Mikal Bridges (USA) 

Following his mid-season trade to the Nets, Mikal Bridges displayed his impressive skill set in Brooklyn, averaging 26 points per game. With his offensive versatility and defensive length, Bridges brings a unique set of abilities to Team USA, providing them with numerous options in closely contested matches. The main question now is whether he can carry over his strong late-season performance to the World Cup stage, especially considering the presence of other NBA stars on the team. All eyes will be on Bridges to see if he can maintain his momentum and deliver a stellar performance in the tournament.

5- Jaren Jackson Jr. (USA)

With a formidable Defensive Player of the Year, Steve Kerr has found the missing piece he was looking for despite the lack of size. Dominating opponents defensively in the NBA, one can only imagine the terror he will unleash on FIBA ball. In Team USA's last preparatory game against Germany for the World Cup, he showcased his defensive prowess by recording an impressive six blocks. It won't be surprising if he emerges as the tournament leader in that category.

4- Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic)

After a decade, Karl-Anthony Towns makes a comeback to his National Team. The Dominican Republic, fueled by their surprising victory over Argentina in February, has earned their spot in the FIBA World Cup, where they will have the chance to exhibit their talent on a global scale. With Towns joining the team, driven by the desire to pay tribute to his late mother, all attention will be focused on him as people eagerly anticipate how far he can lead his team. Currently ranked at No. 10 in FIBA's latest power rankings, the Dominican Republic carries a solid position as they enter the competition.

3- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada) 

With Jamal Murray opting not to participate in the FIBA World Cup, the responsibility of leading the Canadian national team now falls on the shoulders of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. While Murray's absence may initially seem like a setback for Canada, it could also have its advantages by avoiding potential issues of ball dominance and creating a more cohesive team dynamic.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's emergence as the primary playmaker for Canada provides an opportunity for the team to find a balanced and collective approach on the court. With Gilgeous-Alexander at the helm, Canada can focus on developing a cohesive playing style that maximizes the strengths of the entire roster, rather than relying heavily on one player.

While challenging Team USA for the gold medal is undoubtedly a formidable task, it is not an impossible goal for Canada. The Canadian team has shown steady improvement and boasts a talented roster that includes NBA players and rising stars. The absence of Murray may necessitate a more team-oriented approach, where each player contributes to the overall success of the team.

Ultimately, Canada's chances of challenging Team USA for the gold will depend on various factors, such as the team's chemistry, coaching strategies, and the performances of individual players. While it is challenging to predict the outcome of international tournaments, the potential for Canada to make a strong push and compete against the top teams exists.

Fans and supporters can look forward to witnessing the growth and development of the Canadian team as they strive to achieve success in the FIBA World Cup. The absence of Murray may present challenges, but it also provides an opportunity for Canada to showcase their collective strength and potentially make a deep run in the tournament.

2-  Anthony Edwards (USA)

Anthony Edwards, at just 22 years old, is generating significant buzz and is widely regarded as a rising star in the NBA. His performance in the preparation games has been impressive, and he appears motivated to assume a leadership role on his team. The hype surrounding Edwards is strong, with endorsements from notable figures such as head coach Steve Kerr, who has labeled him as "unquestionably the guy."

The praise from former NBA players and coaches further validates Edwards' potential and impact on the league. Kendrick Perkins' statement about him becoming the face of the NBA and Erik Spoelstra drawing comparisons to Dwyane Wade's game highlight the high regard in which he is held by those in the basketball community.

Edwards' readiness to take the next big step in his career is evident in his performances and the confidence he exudes on the court. As he continues to develop, his skills, athleticism, and scoring ability have the potential to propel him to new heights.

While it's important to temper expectations and allow young players to grow, Edwards' early success and the positive evaluations from influential figures in the NBA indicate that he is on a promising trajectory. Fans and observers can eagerly anticipate his continued growth and the impact he will make as he establishes himself as a key player in the league.

1- Luka Doncic (Slovenia)

Luka Doncic, undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the world, is expected to lead Slovenia's national team and put up impressive numbers in the upcoming tournament. His performances in last year's EuroBasket, where he averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, highlight his ability to dominate games at the international level. However, the extent to which those numbers will translate into team success remains uncertain, especially with the absence of Vlatko Cancar, who is considered one of Slovenia's key players.

Cancar's unfortunate injury, tearing his ACL during a preparation game against Greece, poses a challenge for Slovenia's aspirations in the tournament. Without Cancar, Doncic will likely have to shoulder an even greater load and play at an MVP level to propel the team to a deep run. His leadership, scoring ability, playmaking skills, and basketball IQ will be crucial in overcoming the absence of a key teammate.

Slovenia's historical performance in international tournaments, having never advanced past the quarterfinals, adds to the pressure on Doncic to lead the team to unprecedented success. If he can maintain or even elevate his level of play, Slovenia's chances of making a deep run will significantly improve.

In terms of FIBA accolades, Doncic has already achieved impressive milestones, including a EuroBasket gold medal, an Euroleague title, an Euroleague MVP award, and an Euroleague Final Four MVP award. These accolades underscore his ability to excel in high-stakes international competitions.

Fans and basketball enthusiasts can anticipate Doncic's extraordinary talent and leadership to be on full display during the tournament. As he strives to guide Slovenia to new heights, his individual brilliance and impact on the team's performance will be crucial factors in determining their success in the quest for a deep run in the tournament.

Sport Globel