The 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup will get underway on Saturday from China with the United States the overwhelming favorites to win their third straight championship. The Americans are in Group E with Turkey, the Czech Republic and Japan. The Japanese are the only team in the tournament that has already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. They got an automatic berth because they are hosting next summer’s Olympiad.
The United States are in the position to qualify for the Olympic Games if they finish in the top two among all countries in the Americas at the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup. The other teams from the Americas competing in China over the next two weeks are Venezuela, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Canada.
The United States have all of their Group E matches at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. They open up the tournament against the Czech Republic on September 1. They then play Turkey on September 3 and then Japan on September 5. The top two teams from each pool advance to the second round. The best teams from the United States’ pool will play the top two teams in Group F. From there, eight teams will remain and there will be a traditional quarterfinals, semifinals, gold medal game and a bronze medal game.
The United States have announced their 12 man roster. The players are Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes of Ames, IA; Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown of Marietta, GA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris of Chelan, WA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez of Fresno, CA; Bucks forward Khris Middleton of Charleston, SC; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell of Elmsford, NY; Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee of Warsaw, IN; Celtics center Marcus Smart of Flower Mound, TX; Celtics forward Jayson Tatum of St. Louis, MO; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner of Bedford, TX; Celtics guard Kemba Walker of Bronx, NY and San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White of Parker, CO.
The top two offensive players on Team USA are Walker and Mitchell. Walker averaged 25.6 points per game for the Charlotte Hornets last season and Mitchell averaged 23.8 points per game with the Utah Jazz.