As the United States Men's National Basketball team prepares for a run at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, it's no surprise that this year's team lacks elite NBA talent. Under the guidance of Gregg Popovich, however, that might not be too big of a deal.
With only two All-Stars on the team in Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton, a handful of countries across the world could actually challenge the U.S. team.
Let's take a closer look:
With a significant amount of NBA talent on its roster, Spain will yet again be the United States' top competition in the FIBA World Cup. Spain boasts a roster that consists of NBA Champion Marc Gasol, Suns point guard Ricky Rubio and both Hernangomez brothers, Juancho and Willy. The Spaniards' ball movement, high basketball IQ and veteran presence could make them a tough out in the tournament.
While Greece may not have the depth or even the basketball culture of a country like Spain, it boasts the most talented player in FIBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks forward and 2018-19 NBA MVP will be accompanied by his brothers, Kostas and Thanasis. Giannis famously said he would exchange his MVP award to win the World Cup title, so seeing if he can live out a second dream this year will be a storyline to look out for.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will attempt to lead the Serbian basketball team to victory after averaging 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists during the NBA season. Behind Antetokounmpo, there's definitely a case to be made for Jokic being the second best player in the competition. Serbia won silver in 2014 without Jokic, in 2016 with Jokic, and will have a great chance to make the podium again this year.
Despite Sixers point guard Ben Simmons' absence this year, Australia still has an impressive group of veterans that could lead the team deep in the tournament. A roster consisting of Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes gives Australia great versatility on both ends of the floor.