The 2019 Basketball World Cup will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and players from the NBA’s Developmental League will comprise most of the early Team USA men’s basketball roster leading up to that tournament, according to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press.
The American team announced a six-member committee on Tuesday to select players — mostly from the D-League — to suit up for the USA team that will fight to qualify for the 2019 Basketball World Cup. If the roster of minor leaguers can get Team USA past that round, a Gregg Popovich-led roster of NBA talent will resume the action in the actual 2019 World Cup.
“This will be an excellent opportunity for NBA D-League players to showcase their talent and experience meaningful and important international competition while representing the United States,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said in a statement.
In the past, qualifiers and international events have been held during the NBA offseason, but some of the qualifying games for the World Cup in China will take place during the NBA season, Mahoney notes. With NBA players unavailable during that time, USA Basketball will look to become one of the 32 clubs that qualifies for the World Cup, even without its A-Team.