FIBA World Cup 2023 – Brig’s Guide

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While the NBA and the Euroleague are on hiatus, one of basketball’s premium prizes will be up for grabs starting at 9am on the 25th August.

The Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia will play host to 32 national teams all fighting for glory. While winning it all is the main aim, the competition also offers seven spots to the 2024 Olympic tournament in Paris, the one tournament bigger than the World Cup. 

Headlined by stars like Luka Dončić, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Rudy Gobert, the tournament will run for 17 days, all culminating in Manila for the gold medal match on the 10th of September.

This is Brig’s guide to the FIBA World Cup 2023.

What is the FIBA World Cup?

This tournament began in 1950, and is played every 4 years, barring some exceptions.

The United States are the most successful country in this competition, having won 5 gold medals and 12 medals in total.

Spain are the current holders of the World Cup, having beaten Argentina to the gold medal in 2019.

How will it work?

32 nations have been split into 8 groups. Each team will have three group games.

The Group stage
The group stage (Credit: FIBA)

Groups A-D will be held in Manila, Philippines. Groups E and F will take place in Okinawa, Japan. Groups G and H will be played in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the second group stage. While the bottom two teams will go to the classification stage, where their final positions will be determined.

Following that, the second group stage will have four groups. The top two teams in each group will go to the quarter finals. From then on, it’s a single knockout tournament all the way to the final.

A 3rd place game will also take place to determine the bronze medallists.

Who are the favourites to win it all?


To nobody’s surprise, Team USA will be the team to beat this summer. Despite not bringing their ‘A’ team (usually reserved for the Olympics), their roster is still filled with top NBA talent.

All stars Tyrese Haliburton, Jalen Brunson and Jaren Jackson Jr are the most notable additions. Highflyer Anthony Edwards will also be a player to look out for.

This team will want to prove that the US is still the undisputed number one in world basketball. Anything but gold will be deemed as failure.

Tyrese Haliburton and Jaylen Brunson
Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Brunson (Credit: Gettyimages)


France will still have a bitter taste in their mouth after narrowly losing out on Olympic gold to the US in Japan. They will be more motivated than ever to win this tournament as they prepare to host the Olympics next year.

Led by perennial NBA All-star Rudy Gobert, France possesses an extremely strong roster of players, with the core of that team in 2020, appearing again here.

Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert at Eurobasket (Credit: FIBA)


After capturing Eurobasket gold last summer, Spain will want to build on that momentum heading into the World Cup.

While not possessing the star talent that France and the US have, they must still be considered a favourite. Their national team infrastructure has built a very successful roster over the past decade. They are after all the current competition holders , and will be defending that title over those 17 days.

That argument will be a little bit more difficult to make after their star player, Ricky Rubio, announced he would not be joining the squad for the world cup.

Their hopes will now rest on the Hernangomez brothers and 38-year-old captain Rudy Fernandez, who has already announced his intentions to retire after the 2024 Olympics. This will be his second last chance at success for his country.

Spain after winning the FIBA World Cup in 2019 (Credit: Laureus)

Who are some of the dark horses?


Canada will have the most NBA players in their roster outside of the US. With a backcourt of Shai Gilgous- Alexander and Jamal Murray, they have the strongest backcourt in the whole competition.

Jamal Murray was the second-best scorer in Denver Nuggets, the team that won the NBA Championship this year, while Shai averaged over 30 points in the regular season.

This is by far the strongest team Canada have ever sent out to an international competition. Only their lack of experience, and the country’s previous lack of any success has dropped them down to the dark horse’s tier.

Shai Gilgous-Alexander against Germany in a World Cup warm up game (Credit: Gettyimages)


With the Australian women’s football team’s success at this years World Cup, the Boomers will be keen to ride that high in pursuit of their own world cup. They have always been one of the strongest nations in basketball, their biggest success being their bronze medal in the 2020 Olympics.

Continuation will be Australia’s biggest strength. There are only 3 players from that bronze medallist team that will not play in the World Cup.

They have the perfect blend of veterans and exciting prospects and will hope that propels them to world cup glory.

Players to look out for are Patty Mills, Josh Giddey, and Dyson Daniels.

Josh Giddey
Australia’s Josh Giddey during the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers against Hong Kong (Credit: FIBA)


Germany had a fantastic run in last year’s Eurobasket that culminated in a bronze medal. Isaac Bonga, Moritz Wagner, and David Krämer join the 9 players from that competition.

Their pieces seem to be combining at the perfect time. Filled to the brim with NBA and Euroleague talent, Germany will be a very dangerous team to face.

The success of this team will lie on shoulders of LA Laker and Team Captain Dennis Schroeder. Another key player will be Franz Wagner.  The 21-year-old is the best talent to come out of Germany since Dirk Nowitzki, and he will be keen to announce his name on the global stage.

Germany celebrating their Eurobasket bronze medal (Credit: DPA)

What other players should you look out for?

Arguably the biggest name at this year’s world cup is Luka Dončić. He is one of the best players on the planet and will be leading his Slovenian team. He is the only player in this world cup that can single handedly push his team to the latter stages. That’s how good he is.

Luka Doncic
Slovenia’s Luka Dončić during Eurobasket (Credit: Gettyimages)

Karl Anthony Towns, the NBA all-star big man who can light it up from beyond the arc, will play for the Dominican Republic.

There are still doubts whether Latvia’s Kristaps Porziņģis will be playing, but if he is, he is another big name to look out for.

What about the host nations?

Out of the three host nations, only Japan and the Philippines will be taking part. Both nations love the sport but have not had success on the court to show for it.

Not much is expected from either, but they do have two players who need to carry if they want any success. Jordan Clarkson for the Philippines and Yuta Watanabe for Japan.

Both have been placed in very strong groups, so they will be most likely scrapping it out in the classification stage.

Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson playing for the Philippines (Credit: FIBA)

How will Olympic qualification work?

As previously stated, 7 spots for the Olympic tournament are up for grabs at the World Cup. These will be allocated to the highest placed nations in each region.

Top two teams from Europe, top two teams from America, top team from Asia, top team from Africa, and the top team from Oceania.

The remaining spots will be determined later in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

How can you watch?

To watch the FIBA World Cup in the UK, you will need to buy the World Cup pass on FIBA’s Courtside 1891 streaming platform. You can buy the World Cup pass on the NBA website for £21.99.

The action will tip off at 9am on the 25th of August, with Finland facing Australia, and Italy playing against Angola.

Featured Image Credit: FIBA Basketball

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4th year Journalism student. Covering Stirling Uni FC for the 23/24 season.

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