Giannis Antetokounmpo has been included in Greece’s preliminary roster for the basketball World Cup which will take place in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, from 25 August to 10 September 2023.
The NBA star had a cleanup in his left knee some time ago, which left many doubts hanging over his availability. However, for the time being and until further notice, the two-time NBA MVP will participate in the team’s preparation, although his entry date hasn’t been announced.
Giannis’ brothers, forward Thanasis and big man Kostas, are also on the roster.
As expected, guards Kostas Sloukas and Nick Calathes will not be available, for the first time in the last decade. Sloukas had asked to take the summer off, while Calathes followed a few days later, informing Itoudis that he intends to skip the World Cup.
Thomas Walkup will be Greece’s naturalized player in the upcoming tournament and will make his debut, as Tyler Dorsey couldn’t make it.
Greece starts its Word Cup campaign next Monday (July 24) with the first gathering taking place at the OAKA arena.
During the preparation period, Greece will play Slovenia in Ljubljana on August 2. The two teams will square off two days later at OAKA in a game where the Greek federation will honor Nikos Galis.
Greece will play Serbia and Italy for the Acropolis Tournament on August 8 and 10, before traveling to Abu Dhabi for two more friendlies against USA and Germany on August 18-19.
Draw for Greece and the US in the World Cup
Team Greece will face Team US in the group stage. The two teams were drawn in the same group with New Zealand and Jordan and are regarded as favorites to progress to the next round.
The US will open World Cup play against New Zealand on August 26, then face Greece and likely Giannis Antetokounmpo on August 28, and conclude group-stage play August 30 against Jordan.
The Americans are the four-time defending Olympic champions who finished seventh at the most recent World Cup in 2019.
Defending World Cup champion Spain is in Group G, with Iran, Ivory Coast and Brazil as its opening opponents. France is in Group H, along with Canada, Latvia and Lebanon.
The US beat an Antetokounmpo-led Greece 69-53 at the last men’s World Cup in 2019.
The top two teams from each of the eight first-round groups advance to a second round of group play, which determines the quarterfinalists. If seeds hold, the US and Greece would play Lithuania and Montenegro in the second round with the top two teams advancing to the quarters.
Basketball World Cup to be hosted in East Asia
The quadrennial World Cup, which is Aug. 25-Sept. 10, is co-hosted this year by Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.
The top two teams from North and South America — out of the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela — will qualify for the 2024 Paris Games.
The rest can still make it to Paris through one of four last-chance, winner-take-all qualifying tournaments, likely to take place in June 2024.
The US World Cup roster is not expected to be named until after the NBA Finals.
Greece is the only basketball team to have defeated the US during 2005–2016.
Greece have appeared eight times at the FIBA World Cup, with their best result coming in 2006 as runners-up, after beating the US 101–95 in the tournament’s semi-final.