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NBA: 5 Stars to Lookout For In the 2019 FIBA World Cup


NBA: 5 Stars to Lookout For In the 2019 FIBA World Cup

With the FIBA World Cup just a few weeks away, all participating national teams have been preparing fervently for one of the biggest stages in basketball.

Many NBA players have set aside their vacation time in the offseason to make a name for themselves while representing their respective countries.

Even if Team USA are the prohibitive favourites of winning it all once again in China, expect a lot of up-and-coming teams to try and give them a run for their money.

Here at SBOBET, we feature some of the players that are set to make waves in the said tournament.

Nikola Jokic, Serbia

Nikola Jokic is expected to carry the offensive cudgels for a strong Serbia squad that boasts the likes of fellow NBA-ers Bogdan Bogdanovic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica.

The Denver Nuggets main man in the middle emerged as one of the brightest young stars in the league thanks to his uncanny passing ability and a vaunted arsenal on offence.

After being picked 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, the seven-footer worked his way up for a then-rebuilding Nuggets team.

Just last season, Jokic led Denver to as far as the Western Conference semifinals – the farthest the team has ever been since their 2009 playoff run. He even made the All-Star and All-NBA First Team that year as well.

With him leading the way, Serbia is looking to stake their claim at the gold after their maiden finish in the 2016 Olympics. They will face Italy, Angola, and the Philippines in Group D.

Nikola Vucevic, Montenegro

Another NBA star to look out for in the World Cup is Nikola Vucevic, who is tasked to bring Montenegro to new heights.

Vucevic made strides in the last NBA season, where he led the Magic to a playoff berth after a seven-year drought. He signed a lucrative $100M max deal with the team last month, increasing their NBA 2019 odds of going far in the playoffs next season.

The eight-year journeyman churned out a strong 2019 season, tallying norms of 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per contest. He even made the All-Star team for the first time in his career as well.

The Orlando Magic slot man will be an integral part for the Montenegro national team looking to make some noise despite being dubbed as underdogs.

Marc Gasol, Spain

Even if he’s not what he used to be, Marc Gasol remains one of the prominent players in FIBA history playing for Team Spain.

Fresh from winning his first NBA championship, the younger Gasol will provide leadership and heft for Spain as they’ll try to win their first World Cup crown after 13 years.

The 34 -year-old is a post-up monster as he can pick on his smaller defenders with a variety of post moves. He is also an intelligent defender who uses his size well to anchor the defence. From time to time, he can shoot the long ball to keep opposing defences honest.

Gasol will be backed up with the likes of Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez, and the Hernangomez brothers. Spain is slated a Group C along with Iran, Puerto Rico, and Tunisia.

Kemba Walker, USA

Despite several players pulling out, the Gregg Popovich-mentored team won’t be short of NBA-calibre talents in the World Cup.

Team USA will be captained by point guard Kemba Walker, who has transferred from the Hornets to the Celtics this summer. After years of being mired with mediocrity, Walker will now have a chance to advance further in the playoffs under the tutelage of Brad Stevens.

The New York native will make his first appearance for Team USA. He is a three-time All-Star and is one of the more explosive guards in the game today.

Walker is a solid scorer and can knock down the outside shot. But more importantly, he is an underrated passer and defender despite being undersized.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a mainstay for Greece for quite some time, but this will probably be the first time where he’ll get to lead the national team.

He will be joined with brothers Thanasis and Kostas, along with former NBA players Nick Calathes and Kostas Papanikolaou.

The rangy forward is coming off an MVP season after he towed the Milwaukee Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals. He is a three-time All-Star and is part of the NBA All-Defensive Team multiple times.

The 24-year-old can wreak havoc on both ends. He can score easily in the paint with his strength and he can pose as a lockdown defender with his IQ and size.

With his long strides and jaw-dropping dunks — expect Antetokounmpo to provide more NBA 2019 highlights – especially if he develops a lethal three-point shot.

 

 

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