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FIBA World Cup 2019: Rui Hachimura plays for Japan, makes Group E fun for Wizards fans!

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Group E of the World Cup will be a Wizards affair, regardless of free agency.

Japan v Iran - FIBA Men’s World Cup Asian Qualifier 2nd Round Group F
Rui Hachimura will likely suit up for Japan in the FIBA World Cup this year.
Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

With Rui Hachimura now playing for the Wizards, fans will get a chance to root for the Japanese national team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Like Tomas Satoransky’s Czech Republic, Japan is in Group E. The remaining teams are the United States and Turkey.

Here are the dates for Japan’s group stage games. All games will be played in Shanghai.

  • Sunday, Sept. 1 vs. Turkey
  • Tuesday, Sept. 3 vs. Czech Republic (Rui Hachimura vs. Tomas Satoransky!)
  • Thursday, Sept. 5 vs. United States.

All game times are to be determined.

How good are the Japanese?

The Japanese made the playoff round in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup but lost to Korea in the playoffs. That said, Hachimura wasn’t on that team. He did play for the team in the World Cup qualifiers, which is how they made it here. Japan is ranked 48th in the world, the lowest in Group E with the United States (No. 1), Turkey (No. 17) and the Czech Republic (No. 24).

Uh, isn’t Bradley Beal playing for Team USA?

Beal was invited to try out for the American World Cup team earlier this month. However, there are many other All-NBA team guards who are trying out for the team like James Harden, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, CJ McCollum and Kemba Walker. Eric Gordon is the remaining guard on the 20-man roster. Based on this list, Beal’s already facing an uphill climb. He will likely get cut based on the resumes of the other players on the list, unless multiple guards voluntarily turn down their spots.

It goes further than that though. Beal was invited to play on the USA Basketball men’s national team for the 2016 Olympics, but turned it down, citing his need to focus on a contract extension. If it came down to a 50/50 decision between Beal and another player who didn’t turn down an invite, the other player will probably get the nod over Beal. If I was the selection committee, I certainly would.

Would I love to see Beal make the team? Absolutely! But I just don’t think it will happen.

Team USA is the favorite in the World Cup. So as Americans, we’re going to root for the Stars and Stripes. As Wizards fans however, we’re going to watch Japan and the Czech Republic (if Satoransky stays in Washington) more closely.