Team USA are the favorites to win the FIBA World Cup at 4/9 odds, while NBA star Nikola Jokic and Serbia is the second-highest favorite on the board at 2/1 odds to win the World Cup according to the Westgate Super Book in Las Vegas.
The FIBA World Cup begins at the end of the summer in China. The first game for Team USA tips off on September 1 against the Czech Republic in Shanghai.
FIBA WORLD CUP ODDS:
The World Cup consists of 32 teams this time around. Teams are divided into 8 groups consisting of four teams. Team USA is in Group E with Turkey, Japan, and the Czech Republic.
China, the host country, is in Group A with the Ivory Coast, Poland, and Venezuela. China is one of the long shots on the board at 500/1 odds to win the FIBA World Cup.
Team USA Schedule
Team USA is currently in training camp in Las Vegas. Head coach Gregg Popovich is trying to narrow his team down, which he said is tough because they have a mix of tough-as-nails veterans (Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker) and a group talented young players on the verge of superstardom (Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum).
“Everyone that wants to be here, is here,” said Popovich. “That is what makes selecting the team so hard.”
TEAM USA SCRIMMAGE SCHEDULE
9 Aug – White vs. Blue
16 Aug – USA vs. Spain
22 Aug – USA vs. Australia
24 Aug – USA vs. Australia
26 Aug – USA vs. Canada
Team USA caught a lot of heat in the press because of the big names skipping the World Cup this year. That list includes LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Damian Lillard.
Team USA plays several exhibition games leading up to the World Cup in China. There’s the highly anticipated Blue vs. White scrimmage featuring the Select Team.
The Select Team is a group of young NBA players that are helping Team USA prep for the World Cup. Team USA president Jerry Colangelo uses the Select Team as a stepping stone for the main squad, while giving young NBA players international hoops experience for the first time.
Jokic Leads Serbia
Serbia boasts one of the best teams in the world right now. They have a mix of NBA players and stars playing in Europe.
Nikola Jokic developed into one of the best centers in the NBA this season averaging 20.1 points per game, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists with the Denver Nuggets. He carried the Nugs in the postseason after an exciting seven-game series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Nemanja Bjelica started most of the season on a young Sacramento Kings squad. Bjelica averaged 9.8 points per game with the Kings, and he’s expected to start at power forward for Serbia.
SERBIA PROJECTED STARTERS:
Nikola Jokic (C)
Nemanja Bjelica (PF)
Vladimir Lucic (SF)
Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG)
Milos Teodosic (PG)
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Bjelica’s teammate in Sacramento, is Serbia’s deep threat at shooting guard. Bogdanovich averaged 14.1 points with the Kings as their sixth man.
Point guard Milos Teodosic struggled with a foot injury during his time with the LA Clippers. He also plays in the Italian League, but he’s one of the toughest point guards in the World Cup. The captain of Serbia led them to a Silver Medal and runner-up finish in the 2014 World Cup.
Rounding out the starting five is swing man Vladimir Lucic, who plays pro ball in Germany with Bayern Munich.