2019 Basketball World Cup: missing players don’t affect big basketball nations

2019 Basketball World Cup

The big news over the basketball weekend was, of course, the 2019 Basketball World Cup qualifiers where international hoops came together to continue the path to next year’s tournament. As we already know, the EuroLeague and NBA have not cooperated with FIBA to deliver players to their nations.

That means the best players, the cream of the crop, are not participating in the 2019 Basketball World Cup qualifiers. FIBA wants to bring international basketball nations together and could the best players being missing give other nations a chance? Well, not quite as the global group tables tell us.

Let’s start in Europe, where Spain, France, Greece, and Italy are unbeaten with 4-0 records. The EuroLeague’s best players are not representing their nations, but it seems that hardly matters. It is a similar and compounded situation in North America, where the USA is strolling through its group and is now qualified for the second round.

Yes, we are all used to the USA dominating global hoops, but we are not used to the doing it with non-NBA stars. An 83-75 win over Puerto Rico showed the USA is dominant even when it puts journeymen on the floor.

FIBA’s goal is a noble one, trying to drum up international basketball interest, but it will never be really interesting unless the big players decide to show up. That would take player pressure on franchises and clubs. However, why would a player give an employer that pays its wages an ultimatum? It is one of the big questions facing the sport over the next year.

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