Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns all still have a chance to play in next summer’s Paris Olympics.
But at least two of those stars won’t get there.
FIBA held the Olympic qualifying tournament draws for the final four spots left in the Paris Games field on Monday — with Slovenia, Greece and the Dominican Republic all getting slotted into the same event. That means, at most, only one of those nations will make it to the Olympics.
Doncic has been Slovenia’s best player for years, Antetokounmpo is the best player for Greece and Towns led the Dominican Republic to a strong showing at the World Cup this past summer.
“These tournaments are something else,” FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis said.
“They are six-team tournaments, every game counts, you have 12 of the top 20 teams in the world playing there. Each game could be a quarterfinal of the World Cup or a quarterfinal of the Olympics.” There are eight teams already with berths for the 12-team Olympic men’s field. France qualified as the host nation, and seven other teams — the four-time defending gold medallist US, World Cup champion Germany, Canada, Japan, South Sudan, Serbia and Australia — qualified based on their finishes at this past summer’s World Cup in the Philippines.
The format for the qualifying events is simple: four tournaments, to be hosted by Spain, Greece, Latvia and Puerto Rico over July 2-7, 2024. There are six teams in each tournament, and it’s winner-take-all — each event sending one team to the Paris Games.
The four host sites were chosen by FIBA earlier Monday, before the draw was held.
In the qualifying tournaments, each team plays two games against its own group, and the top two teams in each group move into a semifinal. First-place teams from Group A would play second-place teams from Group B, and vice-versa, at each site. Those semifinal winners will meet to decide the Olympic spot.
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