FIBA World Cup: Where SGA, Thunder players stand entering Round 2
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FIBA World Cup: Where SGA, Thunder players stand entering Round 2

Jul 27, 2023

Thunder players, and their respective nations, have fared well in the FIBA World Cup.

Canada, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, went 3-0 in the first-round group stage. Australia, with Thunder players Josh Giddey and Jack White, advanced with a 2-1 record. Latvia, led by Thunder wing Davis Bertans, also went 2-1 to stay alive.

Canada, Australia and Latvia are among the 16 teams remaining as the World Cup moves into Round 2 of group stage, which begins Friday in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

A quick explainer of how the second-round group stage works: The top-two teams from each of the original eight groups advanced, and now they’ve been placed into four new groups of four with their first-round records carrying over.

Group I: Serbia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Puerto Rico

Group J: United States, Lithuania, Greece, Montenegro

Group K: Slovenia, Germany, Australia, Georgia

Group L: Canada, Spain, Brazil, Latvia

Each team will play two second-round group stage games against the two teams in their group they have yet to play. The top-two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals.

Here’s a closer look at how Thunder players have performed so far:

More:OKC Thunder at FIBA World Cup: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey lead way on Day 1

Canada (3-0), led by Gilgeous-Alexander, bludgeoned France, Lebanon and Latvia by an average of 37 points.

The Canadians are legitimate title contenders, knowing they’ll arguably have the best player on the court no matter the matchup.

Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 22 points on 55% shooting in three Round 1 games. He also had eight rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.

Keep in mind that these are 40-minute games, not like 48-minute NBA games, which makes SGA’s stats even more impressive.

SGA is shooting 64% from inside the arc and 88% (15-of-17) from the foul line. If there’s anything to nitpick, it’s that he’s gone 3-of-11 (27%) from 3-point range.

Next up for Canada: vs. Brazil, 8:15 a.m. Friday (ESPN+)

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Dort missed two of Canada’s three games due to some kind of soreness.

In the game he played, against France, Dort had seven points (3-of-12) and five rebounds. He shot 1-of-7 from 3-point range.

Dort, a regular starter for the Thunder, came off the bench for the Canadians.

Dort is expected to play Friday against Brazil.

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Giddey leads Australia in points (19.0) and assists (7.3) per game, and he ranks third on the Boomers in rebounds (5.0) per game. Giddey is shooting 47% from the field, 22% from 3-point range (2-of-9) and 68% (13-of-19) from the free-throw line.

Australia has outscored opponents by an average of nine points per game with Giddey on the floor.

Australia was upset by Germany, but the Aussies advanced with wins against Finland and host nation Japan. Giddey and Co. will have to be sharp in their next game against Luka Doncic and Slovenia.

Next up for Australia: vs. Slovenia, 6:55 a.m. Friday (ESPN+)

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White, who’s on the bubble of making the Thunder’s roster, has only averaged 8.3 minutes per game for Australia. He only played one minute in Australia’s last game, a win over Japan.

White has been efficient in brief stints. He’s shooting 4-of-5 in the tournament, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range.

It’s hard to know what to make of the 6-foot-7 small forward.

More:How to follow OKC Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey & Co. at FIBA World Cup

Latvia is missing its best player in Kristaps Porzingis (plantar fasciitis), leaving Thunder wing Davis Bertans as Latvia’s only NBA player.

And yet Latvia (2-1) managed to advance despite Bertans shooting just 33% (9-of-27) in the first round. Bertans, known as a 3-point specialist, has gone 8-of-24 from behind the arc. Yes, 24 of his 27 field-goal attempts have been from long range.

The Latvians will be even more dangerous if Bertans heats up.

Next up for Latvia: vs. Spain, 4:30 a.m. Friday (ESPN+)

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