The NBA held the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament this past weekend, and Luka Dončić made sure that he got his name added to the list of NBA players to compete in the upcoming Summer Olympics. The 2018 Olympic Summer Games will be the first Olympics for the Croatian player, who will once again serve as team captain for the Men’s National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Dallas Mavericks.
Luka Dončić is the name in NBA right now and he is one of the most talented young players in the league. The top-ranked draft prospect for 2017, has been selected as the EuroLeague MVP for the past two seasons, and this season he was named the MVP of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament. In the NBA All-Star game, he logged a triple-double and was named MVP of the Rising Stars game.
This may be more of a basketball question than a soccer question, but here goes: why did the Argentina national team (who Luka Dončić plays on) only have one player playing in either the Olympic qualifying tournaments for the American league or the Champions League?
Luka Doncic leads 23 teams in four cities around the world. At stake? The final four places in the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics. Dallas Mavericks superstar Doncic leads Slovenia at the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in Kaunas, Lithuania. He is one of four NBA players who have played in Kaunas.
There are 26 NBA players participating in the four tournaments. Besides Kaunas, the matches will also take place in Belgrade (Serbia), Split (Croatia) and Victoria (Canada). A total of 11 national teams will represent the NBA at the championships.
Will Doncic be able to take the Slovenian underdogs to Tokyo? Will Serbia manage to qualify for the Olympics without its biggest NBA stars? These and other responses will be discussed on the 4th. July will appear when all four tournaments have been completed.
As the host country of the Olympics, Japan has automatically qualified for the 2020 Games, which will take place in 2021 (a long name, of course, but more accurate). Another seven teams have secured a ticket to the 2019 FIBA World Cup of Basketball in China based on their play. In addition, 16 countries secured places for their national teams in the Olympic qualifiers based on their results at the World Cup.
The seven fields were divided into five FIBA zones: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Spain, the winner, and France, the bronze medalist, captured two Olympic places for Europe. Moreover, the silver medalist Argentina is the second Olympic representative from the Americas, next to the United States, which finished seventh.
The other zones had only one automatic qualifier each. Australia (4th) represented Oceania, Nigeria (17th) came from Africa and Iran (23rd) qualified from Asia.
At the same time, places in the qualifying tournament were awarded to the best 16 teams, which did not automatically get an Olympic place. However, New Zealand was eliminated from the tournament and replaced by the Philippines, and FIBA decided to keep the spot in the Oceania zone.
Luka Doncic of Slovenia celebrates his shot during the final game of the FIBA EuroBasket 2017. Doncic and Slovenia failed to qualify for the FIBA World Basketball Championship 2019 and will participate in the Olympic qualifiers in Lithuania. (Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
According to a FIBA press release, Luka Doncic has an NBA teammate in Slovenia, two-year veteran Vlatko Ciancar of the Denver Nuggets. Host of the Lithuanian tournament Jonas Valanciunas of the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers star Domantis Sabonis will play. Meanwhile, Korea, Venezuela, Angola and Poland have no NBA players on their teams.
Lithuania, ranked eighth, is the highest ranked team in the league according to the FIBA world rankings.
No Olympic qualifying tournament has more NBA participants than the one in Victoria, Canada. More than half of the NBA’s eligible players are in Victoria. Of those 14 players, eight are on the Canadian host team. Leading the way are young New York Knicks star RJ Barrett and Golden State Warriors winger Andrew Wiggins. The rest of the Canadian NBA players: Nickel Alexander-Walker (New Orleans Pelicans), Lugenz Dort (Oklahoma City Thunder), Corey Joseph (Detroit Pistons), Trey Lyles (San Antonio Spurs), Michal Mulder (Warriors) and Dwight Powell (Mavericks).
Tomas Satoranski of the Chicago Bulls leads the Czech national team. Turkey, meanwhile, has a quartet of NBA representatives: Sedi Osman of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ersan Ilyasova of the Utah Jazz, Furkan Korkmaz of the Philadelphia 76ers and Omer Yurceven of the Miami Heat. Greece has no superstar of their own in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Although he’s not a two-time MVP, his younger brother Costas Antitokounmpo of the Los Angeles Lakers is supporting him. Greece leads the Victoria ranking and is currently in 6th place. China and Uruguay complete the picture in Victoria.
Moreover, the Mavericks of Luka Doncic have two players in the tournament in Belgrade. Nicolo Melli and Nico Mannion of the Warriors play for the Italian national team. Meanwhile, big man Boban Marjanovic forms a team with Nemanja Bjelica from Miami. Serbia is without NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. In addition, Bogdan Bogdanovic is still in the playoff race with the Atlanta Hawks. In Belgrade, the number of teams was reduced to five as Senegal was withdrawn from the competition due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Puerto Rico complete the picture of Belgrade. Serbia, ranked No. 5 in the FIBA world rankings, is the highest-ranked team in Olympic qualifying.
Croatian hosts Split, meanwhile, can count on Jaz’s striker Bojan Bogdanovic. Brazil will be represented by the evergreen Anderson Varejao from Cleveland. Germany, meanwhile, has Moritz Wagner of the Orlando Magic and Isaac Bong of the Washington Wizards. Mexico, Russia and Tunisia are also in the running for an Olympic spot in Split. Russia, ranked ninth, is the best team of the tournament, although Italy is 10th and Brazil 11th.
As the NBA enters its second shortened offseason, some superstars are considering the Olympics. Three-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry therefore decided not to travel to Tokyo. Meanwhile, James Harden has turned down a spot on the US national basketball team due to a hamstring injury.
Moreover, Jokic has already informed the Serbian federation that he will not play in Tokyo. In addition, Lakers star Anthony Davis and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell were also eliminated. Chris Paul said the Phoenix Suns can make a strong run in the postseason, while Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry wanted to focus on his upcoming free agency, reports ESPN.
Once a group of 12 teams is determined, the tournament will begin on the 25th. July the men’s basketball tournament in Tokyo. The medal games will be held on the 7th. The month of August will take place.
Information on tournaments and rankings is provided by FIBA.
COMPARED TO: Luka Doncic was not chosen as head coach of the Mavs as Jason Kiddwas named the new coach.
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