Three Pacers, Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia), Cory Joseph (Canada) and Ben Moore (United States), will be suiting up for their respective home countries when the second round of qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup opens play on September 13.
For Bogdanovic, who joins fellow NBA players Dario Saric (Sixers), Ante Zizic (Cavaliers), and Ivica Zubac (Lakers), the next two games carry extra weight because the composition of Croatia’s roster will be decidedly weaker during the windows slated for November and February and his countrymen are already on the bubble in Group J after going 3-3 through the first round of qualifying.
In June, Indiana’s starting wing averaged 17 points on rocky shooting (34.8 percent), doing a sizable chunk of his damage from the free throw line (15-17), to spearhead critical wins over Italy and Romania to advance to the second round,
Croatia will play host to group-leader Lithuania (6-0) on September 14 before making a trip to Gdansk for a meeting with Poland (3-3) the following Monday (Sept. 17).
Lithuania’s squad doesn’t include any NBA players for the upcoming cycle, which means Domantas Sabonis won’t be on hand for the head-to-head clash against his teammate with the Pacers.
In the European Tournament, the three highest-placed teams from each of four groups will qualify for the 2019 World Cup in China.
As for the Americas qualifiers, Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Khem Birch and Justin Jackson (Orlando Magic), and Cory Joseph (Pacers) highlight the Canadian National Team, which posted a 5-1 record in the first round and now joins Venezuela (5-1), Brazil (5-1), the Dominican Republic (4-2), Virgin Islands (2-4), and Chile (1-5) in Group F.
Joseph scored 11 points and dished at least five assists in each of Canada’s final two games of the prior round and finished plus-61 in 52 minutes of action.
The Canadians, without Andrew Wiggins or Jamal Murray, face Brazil on September 13 in Laval and will head south of multiple borders for a match-up with Chile on September 17.
Ben Moore, who recently signed a one-year, partially guaranteed contract with the Pacers, is among the cast expected to carry the torch in Group E (Argentina, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Panama, and Mexico) for America’s star-studded talent pool in the run-up to the World Cup.
Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner were participants at Team USA’s two-day minicamp earlier in the summer.
Mexico stunned the United States, 78-70, in the first round of qualifiers, dropping the American National Team to a 5-1 record which carries over and currently places them into a first-place tie with Argentina (5-1).
Team USA will compete in second-round games against Uruguay (Sept. 14) at Cox Pavilion and Panama (Sept. 17) in Panama City.
After playing six games across three separate windows in September, November and February, the three highest-placed teams from both groups as well as the best fourth-place team will punch their tickets to China.
As it pertains to the Pacers, Bogdanovic, Joseph and Moore will have less than a week to recharge their batteries before reporting for Media Day on Monday, September 24.