A shoutout to Gaboshyn for letting us know!
Washington Wizards forward Kristaps Porzingis will represent the Latvia men’s national basketball team in this summer’s FIBA World Cup Qualifier window in August. The news was reported as early as last June by Lukas Katilius of Basketnews.com while the NBA Draft was preoccupying our minds.
Latvia is in Group I of the second round of qualifiers with Greece, Turkey, Belgium, Serbia and Great Britain (the team does not go by “United Kingdom”) with a 3-1 record, tied for first place with Greece.
The games Latvia will play in August are on the 25th vs. Turkey and and the 28th vs. Great Britain.
The Latvians are ranked 26th in the world for men’s basketball and could play above their weight if Porzingis and other NBA players, like now Dallas Mavericks forward Davis Bertans, develop chemistry and play consistently for the national team when possible. Bertans did play for the national team in their June/July window, which included wins against Serbia and Slovakia to finish the first round of qualifiers.
Unlike the rest of their World Cup qualifying group however, Latvia will not be in this year’s EuroBasket, so expect this ranking to drop this fall.
Best of luck to KP and the Laser in the next qualification window!