The Washington Wizards will officially have one rostered player participating in the 2023 FIBA World Cup set to begin on Friday.
Xavier Cooks was named as part of the final 12 players representing Team Australia. Cooks joins a formidable Boomers squad that features several NBA players such as Josh Giddey, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, and Dyson Daniels.
Australia is the third-ranked nation in the FIBA men’s basketball rankings heading into the tournament. It’s no surprise that the Boomers are considered one of the favorites to win it all. They begin their tournament on Friday, August 25 with a 3 a.m. ET clash against Finland in Okinawa, Japan.
Not too long ago, the Wizards looked poised to be well-represented at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Last year’s roster featured a trio of international studs in Kristaps Porzingis, Rui Hachimura, and Deni Avdija. All three players are considered by many as the clear-cut most talented players on their respective national teams.
Porzingis’ Latvia and Hachimura’s Japan were able to qualify for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. However, Avdija’s Israel side fell short of qualification last year.
Beyond the fact that KP and Rui have both since been traded by the Wizards, neither of them are playing in the World Cup at all. Porzingis is dealing with a bout of plantar fasciitis, while Hachimura has opted to focus on the upcoming NBA season.
Bilal Coulibaly could be a potential cornerstone for Team France throughout the next decade. However, the 19-year-old has yet to play for the senior squad and will need a few years of seasoning before the Les Bleus rely on him. It will likely take a rapid rise for Coulibaly to be featured on the roster for the 2024 Olympics set in his native France.
Other international players on the Wizards roster sitting out the 2023 FIBA World Cup include Danilo Gallinari (Italy), Eugene Omoruyi (Canada), and Tristan Vukcevic (potentially Serbia).
Aside from Team USA, which team/s do you consider to be among the most intriguing to follow heading into tournament?