The Top 5 NBA players to watch for the 2019 FIBA World Cup

The 2019 FIBA World Cup is fast approaching with the tournament set to kick off on the final day of August. While the list of NBA players not paying in the international competition far outshines those that are including LeBron James, Ben Simmons, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Jamal Murray, Kelly Olynyk, Zion Williamson, Dzanan Musa and RJ Barrett, have pulled out of the competition due to injury, preparation for the NBA season or just recovery, there are still plenty of class players, and up-and-comers to make the games as eventful and entertaining as ever.

The Top Five NBA Players to Watch

Nikola Jokic This 25-year-old Serbian born machine has just 4 years under his belt but has made a huge impression from the beginning; after starting as a youth player in a men’s basketball team in Serbia, his dominance in the game drew a lot of attention, and he was chosen as a draft and stash player during the 2014 NBA draft, going on to join the Denver Nuggets in June of that year.

Jokic’s impact on the team was immediate, and he helped his team have one of their best-ever seasons. Jokic’s position of center works perfectly, and his offensive abilities are second to none, as a bonus for his team, he passes with utter precision and regularly scores highly with assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece I mean, what else do we have to say about the Greek Freak? The Milwaukee Bucks’ forward and most-recent NBA MVP is participating and will be the problem when any team faces Hellas.

Jayson Tatum, USA Entering the NBA Draft in 2017 at only 19-years-old after playing with the team of Duke University in North Carolina, Tatum was picked to play as guard-forward with the Boston Celtics; this 2019 World Cup is the first time he will compete at a senior international level, and this combined with his young age, which is leading people to question if he is ready, will be a great motivator for Tatum to prove his worth.

Already, Tatum’s offensive versatility has been tough to match as he’s led Team USA in scoring in early scrimmages and exhibitions. While the young, wiry forward’s size and length in defending goes a long way. Tatum’s capability to be a shining star in the tournament is high as he has a lot of potential to release.

Joe Ingles, Australia We’re all very aware of Ingles from his savvy and feisty play with the Utah Jazz, but look for his responsibilities to grow for the Aussies. The Boomers have several NBA players on the roster, including Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, and Matthew Dellavedova, but no one will be more important on the offensive and defensive side as Ingles. The 6-8 forward is in the prime of his career and he’ll set the tone for Team Australia as they’re one of the National Teams favored to grab a medal when the 2019 FIBA World Cup bracket plays out.

Cory Joseph, Canada While certainly not the biggest name on Team Canada, we don’t want to over look veteran point guard Joesph importance to his team during the FIBA World Cup. With eight years of experience, this advantage will come in handy leading a younger Canadian team on the court during the competition. Hopefully, the recent news of his reportedly pulling out of the tourney isn’t true.

Growing up in a basketball focused family, the game has been a big part of his life since childhood, frequently playing in tournaments throughout school and college, where he eventually got his big break back in 2011 when he was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs.

Joseph currently plays for the Sacramento Kings and is the captain of the Canadian National team, as well; it certainly can be said that he will be one of the most experienced players competing in the World Cup, and while he doesn’t get as much opportunity to score, his role in defense is vital and one which he performs well. His high-level ability and steadiness under pressure is clear and makes him one of the most reliable point guards in play.

The World is Watching

All these players excel in their respective teams and positions, and each has a specific advantage. At this point predictions for 2019 FIBA World Cup are really tough. Jokic is fire when it comes to passes, Joseph has so much experience under his belt, and Tatum needs to showcase that he is a player that can be taken seriously and go on to great things. While they are all reliable players who rarely let up, Jokic’s consistency in games makes him a player who can be trusted to win a bet or two for you.

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