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NBA hopefuls from outside competing in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup

May 3, 2023

For the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in the Philippines, international NBA players Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Karl-Anthony Towns are among the top contenders.

Following the draw ceremony on Saturday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Serbia and Greece were placed in Groups B and C, respectively. Jokic and Antetokounmpo, who have two MVP awards to their names from the previous four NBA seasons, will be able to play in Manila.

When they play their games in Group C in the Philippines, the United States is anticipated to bring an all-NBA team.

Jokic, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, may participate in a game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, and Antetokounmpo, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, may face Team USA because they are in the same group that will compete at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Jokic and Antetokounmpo have frequently played for their country, even at the World Cup in China in 2019.

If Towns follows through on his intention to represent the Dominican Republic in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, he might also be traveling to Manila.

Towns was recorded on a podcast expressing his desire to represent the Dominicana, the nation from which his mother is originally from and who he saw play in the 2013 FIBA Americas before being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015.

For Gilas Pilipinas, who will play the Dominican Republic on August 25 in the opening games of Group A, that could be problematic.

If the big man for the Sacramento Kings decides to represent Lithuania, which is in Group D and will compete at the Mall of Asia Arena, Domantas Sabonis might also play in Manila.

Danilo Gallinari might also play for Italy when they take on Gilas Pilipinas, but that would depend on how well he recovers from having torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the 2017 Eurobasket.

Following his time with the country in the 2022 Eurobasket and the Utah Jazz in the NBA season, Simone Fontecchio might also play for Italy.

Bruno Fernando, a center for the Houston Rockets who is from Angola, has the option of playing for his home nation versus Gilas Pilipinas.

Wenyan Gabriel, a big man for the Los Angeles Lakers, is from South Sudan, which will compete in Group B, but he has not yet represented his country’s national team.

Nikola Vucevic, a center with the Chicago Bulls who competes in Group D, is a Montenegrin who last competed for his nation in the 2017 Eurobasket.

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