basketball FIBA World Cup

FIBA World Cup 2023 missing players: Top NBA stars absent from the tournament

The 2023 FIBA World Cup is just around the corner, and the teams have already announced their final rosters. There will be many NBA stars leading their national teams in the tournament but still, there are plenty of those who could not make it for different reasons. In the following lines, we will take a look at the top 10 FIBA World Cup missing NBA stars.

Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-Photo by Icon sport

Nikola Jokic – Serbia

The two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic is the biggest name on the list of NBA superstars who will miss FIBA World Cup. Jokic is a real hero in his native country of Serbia, but he could not join the team after the long season he had leading the Denver Nuggets to the NBA championship. There is no team in the world that would look the same without a player like Jokic, so Serbia’s chance to win the gold are not as good as they could be with the Joker on the roster.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Greece

After suffering a back injury in the Playoffs last season, the Greek Freak underwent a knee surgery earlier this summer and is not ready to play for Greece at the FIBA World Cup. His brother Thanasis will be on the team but still he cannot take even part of the load Giannis usually does for their national team.

Jamal Murray – Canada

Canada looked like a real contender going into the 2023 FIBA World Cup before the Nuggets point guard had to withdrew from the roster. Just like Jokic, Murray had a long season with the Nuggets and with his injury history, he was aware that he is not at the needed level for a competition like this. Still, Canada has numerous NBA players on the roster such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett and Luguentz Dort and will be one of the contenders for the medals.

Domantas Sabonis – Lithuania

Domantas Sabonis has made an impressive NBA career, making three All-Star appearances, leading the league in rebounds last year and signing a five-year contract extension worth $217 million with the Sacramento Kings. Still, Lithuania is a basketball nation and would love to see their best player on the national team, but this time will have to count only on Jonas Valanciunas as their active NBA player on the team.

Victor Wembanyama – France

Victor Wembanyama
Photo: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Victor Wembanyama is already an NBA superstar even before playing a single game in the big league. The 19-year-old was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the first overall pick at the 2023 NBA Draft and is preparing for his rookie year. The Spurs pulled him out of the Summer League and no one really expected to see him play for France at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Kristaps Porzingis – Latvia

Porzingis had a promising summer as he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Boston Celtics and expected to suit up for the 2023 FIBA World Cup for his country. Unfortunately, the Latvian center is injured again and he definitely did not want to risk making things worse before the NBA season. He is by far the best player in Latvia and the team had slim chances to make a significant result without him.

Ben Simmons – Australia

Ben Simmons has his career on the line after another disappointing NBA season with the Brooklyn Nets. He still has a huge contract with the team but things do not look very promising. This could have been a great opportunity for him to show the world that he is still a top-level player, but instead of playing for Australia, Simmons choose to prepare for the next season away from the spotlight.

Ricky Rubio – Spain

Ricky Rubio
Photo by Herve Bellenger/Icon Sport

Ricky Rubio has been on the international basketball scene for almost two decades and he is a real legend in his country. Rubio led Spain to the gold medal at the previous FIBA World Cup and was named the MVP of the tournament. Earlier this summer, Rubio announced that he would be stepping away from basketball to focus on his mental health.

Rui Hachimura – Japan

The Lakers forward had a solid season in the NBA especially after he moved from Washington to LA. Unfortunately, he is injured and will not have the chance to play in front of the home crowd in Japan. Still, Japan has another NBA player in Yuta Watanabe who signed with the Phoenix Suns this offseason.

Jose Alvarado – Puerto Rico

The 5-foot-11 guard Jose Alvarado is one of the most inspiring stories in the past couple of seasons in the NBA. He is seen as the next Carlos Arroyo in Puerto Rico but he will not be able to play for the national team at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

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