After wins in their opening three games, here's a look at how things are shaping up for Canada at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
It started with a 30-point throttling of pre-tournament Group H favorite France, as Canada never took its foot off the gas, completing a flawless three-game start to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with a 101-75 victory over Latvia in Jakarta, Indonesia Wednesday.
The win clinched Group H for Canada, which is hoping to first improve on its 21st-place showing at the 2019 World Cup, then surpass two sixth-place finishes in 1978 and 1982 for best placing ever, and finally make a run at the first men’s national team medal since a bronze at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 31 points in the NBA last season. His performances with the Thunder have continued into the World Cup, as Gilgeous-Alexander leads Canada in scoring, rebounding and assists. His 22 points a game is good for fifth so far. He had 27 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win over Latvia.
RJ Barrett added 22 points and five rebounds, Kelly Olynyk equaled his World Cup average with 15 points and Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 14 points and five rebounds.
Canada is one of three countries to win each of their three pool play games by at least 20 points, joining USA and Lithuania.
After the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray decided to sit out the World Cup, Canada fell behind France as leaders to win Group H. The team dispelled those concerns in that opening contest. Now, Canada trails only the USA as the favorite to win the World Cup. They are currently listed at +400.
Gilgeous-Alexander is currently listed at +300 to win the World Cup scoring title. Only Slovenia’s Luka Dončić, at -112, has better odds. Dončić currently leads the World Cup in scoring at 30 points a game.
Canada leads the World Cup with 108 points a game, just edging USA’s 106 points per. All of these averages will be tested in the second round.
Canada and Latvia advanced out of Group H into what is now Group K, where the Canadians will take on Group G champions Spain and runner-up Brazil.
Spain is the defending World Cup champion and came into this tournament with +1200 odds to repeat. Those odds have not changed. Brothers and NBA veterans Willy and Juancho Hernangomez have combined for more than 30 points a game.
Brazil is a longshot at +6500, behind Latvia, which is +5000. Yago Santos is leading the Brazilians with 17 points a contest while teammate Bruno Caboclo has averaged 14 points and nearly nine rebounds through three games.
Canada opens with Brazil on Friday, September 1st, at 9:30am ET. The Canadians follow that up with their contest with Spain on Sunday, September 3rd, also at 9:30am ET.