Greece’s prospects for clinching victory in the 2023 FIBA World Cup have been significantly impacted as Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the “Greek Freak,” will not be participating due to his ongoing recovery from minor knee surgery.
Scheduled to kick off on August 26, this year’s FIBA World Cup will once again unfold in Asia, with the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia playing host. The event will feature 32 national teams, and the defending champion is Spain.
Initially, Greece boasted odds of +900 to win the FIBA World Cup, placing them third on DraftKings’ futures chart back in June. However, with Giannis sidelined, Greece’s odds have dwindled to +2200, causing them to fall to the eighth position on the rankings.
The FIBA World Cup’s significance is elevated due to the stakes involved: seven spots for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are up for grabs. France automatically qualifies as the host team, leaving the top seven finishers in the FIBA World Cup to secure Olympic berths. For those who don’t make it into the top seven, alternative avenues must be explored to secure a place in the Olympics.
Giannis’ knee surgery
Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP representing the Milwaukee Bucks, underwent a minor knee surgery in July to address loose cartilage in his left knee. Although Greece had prepared to proceed without Giannis, his absence during training camp and warm-up exhibitions posed a challenge.
In an announcement on his social media, Giannis expressed his disappointment about his inability to compete at the required level in the World Cup due to his ongoing recovery. He emphasized that the decision was based on consultations with medical experts and deemed necessary to ensure his return to peak performance on the basketball court.
Favorable odds for Team USA
Team USA stands as the frontrunner to clinch victory at the 2023 FIBA World Cup with odds of -120. Countries such as Canada (+500), France (+700), Slovenia (+900), Australia (+900), Spain (+1100), and Serbia (+1300) are all ahead of Greece in the futures market.
In Pool C of the FIBA World Cup, Greece and Team USA will face off on August 30. The United States last triumphed in the FIBA World Cup in 2014, securing consecutive wins. Team USA’s victory streak also extends to the 2010 FIBA World Cup, where they emerged victorious against Turkey.
Team USA’s recent appearance in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China ended with a seventh-place finish, a disappointment attributed to injuries despite the roster featuring numerous NBA players. Spain, the reigning FIBA World Cup champion, emerged victorious in the 2019 finals against Argentina. Spain currently holds the sixth spot in the futures chart with odds of +1100 to repeat their success.
Slovenia, led by Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks, is a notable contender with odds of +900. This is in part due to their desire to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.
Serbia’s journey in the World Cup will be without Nikola Jokic, who led the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship in June. Despite his absence, Serbia is positioned at +1300 odds to seize the World Cup victory.
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