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U.S. men’s basketball team grouped with Giannis’ Greece in FIBA World Cup draw

Steve Kerr

Aug 4, 2021; Saitama, Japan; USA men’s basketball assistant coach Steve Kerr watches as the USA women’s basketball team plays Australia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. men’s basketball team faces Greece (possibly with Giannis Antetokounmpo), New Zealand and Jordan in the first round of group play at this summer’s FIBA World Cup, its first opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The quadrennial World Cup, which is Aug. 25-Sept. 10, is co-hosted this year by Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. As previously decided, the U.S. will play all of its group games in the Philippines, which also hosts all of the knockout games.

The top two teams from each of the eight first-round groups advance to a second round of group play, which determines the quarterfinalists. If seeds hold, the U.S. and Greece would play Lithuania and Montenegro in the second round with the top two teams advancing to the quarters.

The U.S. beat an Antetokounmpo-led Greece 69-53 at the last men’s World Cup in 2019.

The top two teams from North and South America -- out of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela -- will qualify for the 2024 Paris Games.

The rest can still make it to Paris through one of four last-chance, winner-take-all qualifying tournaments, likely to take place in June 2024.

The U.S. World Cup roster is not expected to be named until after the NBA Finals. The head coach is the Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, who succeeded Gregg Popovich after the Tokyo Olympics.

The U.S. is already scheduled to play pre-World Cup games from Aug. 12-20 against Slovenia (possibly with Luka Doncic), world No. 1 Spain, Greece and Germany.

At the 2019 World Cup, the U.S. finished seventh overall (with two losses), marking its worst major tournament result ever. It rebounded to win a fourth consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo.

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.

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