The 2023 FIBA World Cup is now just a few weeks away, and Team USA will be looking to get back on the podium after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the tournament in 2019. Ahead of the event, the Americans will play a series of warm-up games in Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
The first of these pre-World Cup friendlies will be against Slovenia on Saturday. This game was expected to provide the Americans their first real test of the summer, but Luka Doncic will no longer play out of precaution after he took a knock in Slovenia's game against Spain on Friday.
With Doncic out this game has lost most of its luster, but it will still be an important opportunity for new teammates to get some minutes together and build chemistry. Ahead of the action, here's everything you need to know:
Team USA vs. Slovenia
- Date: Saturday, Aug. 12 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Palacio de Deportes Maria Martin Carpena -- Malaga, Spain
- TV channel: FS1 | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
- Odds: Not yet released
New York Knicks
Team USA cruised to a 117-74 victory over Puerto Rico in their first warm-up game for the World Cup, but that was thanks in large part to a massive talent advantage. They won't have quite as big of an edge in this game, but Doncic's absence is significant and will make this a much easier contest.
There are a lot of young players on this team who will be getting their first taste of serious international basketball, which is a different game from the NBA. It will be interesting to see how they handle that environment against a Slovenian side that has far more experience playing together.
Furthermore, it will be worth watching how the minutes distribution starts to shake out as the contests get more competitive. Save for Josh Hart and Walker Kessler, everyone on the roster played between 10-23 minutes against Puerto Rico. That won't remain the same as we get closer to the real tournament, and we'll soon find out who head coach Steve Kerr actually trusts.
This is only an exhibition, so it feels funny making a serious prediction. In any case, we'll take the Americans to win fairly easily now that Doncic is sitting out.