OKC Thunder: 2023 FIBA World Cup Results, Recap And Outlook

Over the course of the past two weeks the 2023 FIBA World Cup has taken place, which is one of the world’s premier basketball events. During this time, 32 teams represented their respective countries on a stage that featured some of the top talent across the globe.

The Oklahoma City Thunder had representation from five players across three teams, each of which finished in the top 10 of the tournament. It was a great opportunity for these individuals to step up and play at an extremely high level ahead of the upcoming season. This was an event that was important due to the ability to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, so there were real stakes on the line.

While the experience that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Josh Giddey, Jack White and Davis Bertans each had was very different, all five of these players left the tournament better than before.

Let’s take a look at each of these players’ performances as well as how their respective teams fared.

Team Results

Canada (6-2)

With a loaded roster, Canada had the talent to win the entire event. However, they ultimately fell in the semifinals against Serbia, missing out on a chance to compete in the championship. Nonetheless, Canada took on the United States in the third place game, winning in overtime and finishing the highest the country ever has at this tournament. This was the most successful Canadian team in history.

Latvia (6-2)

A squad that was one of the most surprising in this event, Latvia proved they have a bright future ahead. After making it to the quarterfinals Latvia lost to Germany, who was undefeated and ultimately made it to the championship game. Considering where Latvia was expected to finish in this tournament, heading back home after earning fifth place is a huge success.

Australia (4-2)

Considering the Boomers were one of the favorites to potentially win this tournament, it was somewhat of a disappointing outcome. They didn’t make it out of the second round after losing to Luka Doncic and Slovenia. With that in mind, Australia still finished in tenth place when it was all said and done and will look to have a better outing next summer in the Olympics.

Individual Performances

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

8 GP | 32.1 MPG | 24.5 PPG | 6.4 APG | 6.4 RPG | 1.6 SPG | 54.4% FG

Following his All-NBA campaign last season, Gilgeous-Alexander took yet another step forward in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He’s always been a productive player, but this performance further proved that the Thunder superstar has what it takes to lead a group at the highest level and have team success. Especially late in games, Gilgeous-Alexander took control of several contests and is primed for an MVP-level campaign in the 2023-24 season.

Lu Dort

6 GP | 24.7 MPG | 8.2 PPG | 4.3 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 34.5% 3PT

It was an inconsistent tournament from Dort offensively, but he was of course able to lean on his defense when it mattered most. As we’ve seen from him for several years now, he’s one of the best perimeter defenders in the game of basketball. Playing a variety of different roles in the event, he found ways to contribute even when the shot wasn’t falling.

Josh Giddey

5 GP | 27.7 MPG | 19.4 PPG | 6.0 APG | 5.0 RPG | 54.2% FG

This tournament gave Giddey the chance to be the headliner of a team. At 20 years old that’s a tough task, but he rose to the occasion. While he was efficient from the floor overall, the rising star shot just 16.7% from deep in the event. He was also turnover prone at time, averaging nearly four per game. Nonetheless, being the headliner of his county’s team at this age comes with growing pains, but it was an experience that will help Giddey tremendously moving forward.

Jack White

5 GP | 7.6 MPG | 2.2 PPG | 1.6 RPG | 83.3% FG

Although he didn’t play much, White made sure he was efficient in the minutes that he was on the court. He showcased his athleticism and ability to clean the glass, pulling down 8.4 rebounds per 40 minutes.

Davis Bertans

8 GP | 25.3 MPG | 12.0 PPG | 3.9 RPG | 1.1 APG | 38.1% 3PT

One of the primary reasons that Latvia exceeded all expectations was because of Bertans. A veteran leader and 3-point sniper, he made some huge shots in this tournament. His ability to shoot over defenders at 6-foot-10 makes him incredibly difficult to defend on the perimeter.

Looking Ahead

NBA training camps will begin later this month, with the preseason kicking off shortly after. The start of the 2023-24 regular season is in roughly six weeks, so the players that competed in this event, along with the other members of the roster, will soon be headed back to Oklahoma City.

For those five that did participate in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, it was a fantastic opportunity to gain experience and for some a chance to play in a different role than at the NBA level. From here, Oklahoma City will look to take another step forward and make the playoffs with a young, rising roster.

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