The U.S. men’s basketball team will play in a tournament with top-ranked Spain and Slovenia, possibly with Luka Doncic, in mid-August, two weeks before this summer’s FIBA World Cup.
The three nations make up a tournament in Málaga from Aug. 11-13 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish basketball federation.
It should be a key test for the U.S., which won its fourth consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, but lost an Olympic game for the first time since 2004 (to France in group play). The U.S. is expected to qualify for the World Cup next month.
At the last men’s World Cup in 2019, the U.S. lost twice and finished seventh overall, its worst major tournament result ever. That team had just two reigning NBA All-Stars and one player with Olympic experience.
New coach Steve Kerr will hope for a better turnout from the NBA’s best this summer for the World Cup co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, a month before NBA preseason training camps.
This past November, the U.S. men dropped out of the No. 1 spot in FIBA’s world rankings for the first time since 2010. Spain, coming off a European title, displaced the U.S. by a slim margin. The U.S. beat Spain in the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinals.
Doncic led Slovenia to its first Olympic basketball berth in 2021. Slovenia, with a population of 2.1 million, became the smallest nation by current population to participate in an Olympic men’s basketball tournament since Estonia and Latvia in 1936.
The Slovenians beat Argentina and Spain in Olympic group play, then lost in the semifinals to France and the bronze-medal game to Australia.
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