FIBA World Cup — No one wants James — The poor Nets

Fri, Aug 25th, 2023

  The Opening Tip

  • The FIBA World Cup started this morning 
  • The James Harden saga reminds us of a vintage NBA moment
  • Giannis is flexing his player-empowerment muscle

1. FIBA World Cup FAQs

The 2023 FIBA World Cup began this morning. You might’ve vaguely heard it’s happening. You probably have some questions. Let’s get into it.

What is the 2023 FIBA World Cup? It’s the World Cup, except for basketball. And also, it’s less cool than the Olympics, which is the reverse of soccer. It’s still cool, though. 

  • Team USA details: It’s definitely not our A team, but there’s some legit star power: Anthony Edwards, Brandon Ingram, Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Tyrese Haliburton, and more. Here’s the full roster. We’re also pretty heavily favored

How’d we do last time? We sucked! Seriously -- we finished 7th at the 2019 World Cup, which Gregg Popovich bullied us all into forgetting. Spain won, while Argentina, France, Australia, Serbia and the Czech Republic all finished ahead of us. 

  • Which other stars are playing? There’s no Giannis (Greece), Jokic (Serbia) or Embiid (a national team free-agent), but Luka (Slovenia), SGA (Canada), Gobert (France) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic) are all playing. 

Who should we take seriously? The Canadiens have serious star power, though no Jamal Murray. They also just whooped France this morning. Otherwise, Germany (the Wagners, Dennis Schroder, Daniel Theis, etc) and Australia (Patty Mills, Josh Giddy, Matisse Thybulle, etc) have the most NBA players. 

  • Where is this thing? The Philippines, which is one of the most basketball-crazy countries in the world.

How to watch: Every game is on ESPN+, which you likely got duped into buying as part of some bundle recently.

[More: Reddit’s World Cup hub]

2. Daily GIF: The Philippines’ favorite son

The Philippines and Dominican Republic played a tight, competitive game this morning, which Karl-Anthony Towns and DR won, 87-81.

Alas, Filipino legend Jordan Clarkson finished with 28, including this transition dunk.

[WATCH: DR vs. Philippines highlights]

3. Trivia time

Four active No. 1 picks have won a championship. Name them.

Answer at the bottom.

Hint: Dwight Howard = not active.

4. James Harden is Paul Pierce’s headband

This entire James Harden melodrama — which began with him opting into the final year of his deal in July in hopes of being traded, and domino’d two weeks ago into him telling a bunch of (presumably confused) teenagers in China that Daryl Morey is a liar who he’ll never play for again — all boils down to one fact: no one wants James Harden. 

  • The Clippers are the only team that has shown a drop of interest, and they aren’t even willing to negotiate a trade including Terrance Mann.  

And, so, back to the original point: Paul Pierce is the 76ers. The fan is the rest of the NBA. And James Harden is Paul Pierce’s headband.

5. Life comes at you fast

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

 

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. 

 

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

 

Kevin Durant. 

 

Nic Claxton, Cam Johnson and Royce O’Neale.

6.  Quick Hits

  • Giannis is starting to put pressure on Milwaukee’s front office. 
  • The Knicks are suing the Raptors, claiming an ex-employee now in Toronto fwd’d himself 1000s of confidential Knicks documents on his way out. 
  • Update on Lillard-Heat trade talks: There’s no update.
  • A couple in China got married in Bradley Beal jerseys. 
  • Nikola Jokic has not stopped partying since winning the title.

7.  Reads

  • The NBA’s new CBA changes the game for rebuilding teams [The Ringer]
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo wants it all. Even if it’s not in Milwaukee. [New York Times]
  • The NBA’s in-season tournament, explained [ESPN]

Trivia answer: LeBron, Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Davis


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