The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup is quickly approaching and as Canada continues to prepare with a number of friendly exhibitions, we look ahead towards its opponents during the opening pool play round which begins on Aug. 31 in China.
Canada is a member of Group H and is set to face Australia, Lithuania and Senegal during the first stage. The top two teams from this group will advance to the second stage, in which there will be four groups of four teams that vie to advance to the knockout stage.
With that in mind, here's more on each team that Canada is set to face.
FIBA Ranking: 11
When they play: Sunday, Sept. 1, 3:30 a.m. ET
|Aron Baynes||C||6'10"||Phoenix Suns|
|Andrew Bogut||C||7'0"||Sydney Kings|
|Mitch Creek||F||6'5"||South East Melbourne Phoenix|
|Matthew Dellavedova||G||6'4"||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Cameron Gliddon||G||6'6"||Brisbane Bullets|
|Chris Goulding||G||6'4"||Melbourne United|
|Joe Ingles||F||6'8"||Utah Jazz|
|Nicholas Kay||F/C||6'9"||Perth Wildcats|
|Jock Landale||C||6'11"||Zalgiris Kaunas|
|Patty Mills||G||6'0"||San Antonio Spurs|
|Nathan Sobey||G||6'2"||Brisbane Bullets|
With four players currently on an NBA roster and a total of six players with NBA experience, Australia has a number of names that should be familiar to even the more casual fan. Canada has seen the Aussie Boomers twice already during friendly exhibitions, with the two teams splitting the meetings.
Patty Mills, who scored 20 points in the game Australia lost, stands to be one of the more prolific scorers at the World Cup. The guard matchup between him and Canada's Kevin Pangos should be one to keep an eye on.
FIBA Ranking: 6
When they play: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7:30 a.m. ET
|Arnas Butkevicius||F||6'5"||BC Rytas|
|Martinas Geben||C||6'9"||Juventus Utena|
|Rokas Giedraitis||F||6'7"||ALBA Berlin|
|capMarius Grrigonis||G||6'6"||BC Zalgiris|
|Zygimantas Janavicius||G||6'4"||BC Skycop|
|Paulius Jankunas||F||6'9"||BC Zalgiris|
|Mantas Kalnietis||G||6'5"||Lyon ASVEL|
|Mindaugas Kuzminskas||F||6'9"||AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan|
|Lukas Lekavicius||G||6'0"||Panathinaikos BC OPAP|
|Domantas Sabonis||F||6'10"||Indiana Pacers|
|Renaldas Seibutis||G||6'5"||Tecnyconta Zaragoza|
|Edgaras Ulanovas||F||6'6"||BC Zalgiris|
|Jonas Valanciunas||C||6'11"||Memphis Grizzlies|
With Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas serving as the team's interior anchors, Lithuania has the ability to pound the ball inside and make the most of their size advantage when the opportunity presents itself. It helps that Valanciunas and Sabonis are far from one-dimensional, and their versatility makes things easier for the rest of the team.
Still, it's not just a two-man show and Lithuania is ranked No. 6 in the world for a reason.
Guard Mantas Kalnietis is worth keeping an eye on as he's an elite distributor - at the 2017 EuroBasket, Kalnietis averaged 7.2 assists per game. This will be his second World Cup with Lithuania; after competing on the team that captured Bronze in 2010, Kalnietis missed the 2014 World Cup with an injury. Now, he will again look to make an impact on this team.
FIBA Ranking: 37
When they play: Thursday, Sept. 5, 3:30 a.m. ET
|Moustapha Diop||F||6'9"||Tallinna Kalev|
|Ibrahima Faye||F||6'9"||Antwerp Giants|
|Mouhammad Faye||F/C||6'9"||Crvena Zvezda|
|Makhtar Gueye||F||6'10"||UAB Blazers|
|Hamady N'Diaye||C||7'0"||BCM Gravelines|
|Maurice Ndour||F||6'9"||Valencia Basket|
|Momar Ndoye||F||6'6"||JA Vichy|
|Youssoupha Ndoye||C||6'11"||JL Bourg|
|Lamine Sambe||G||6'2"||ADA Blois|
|Djibril Thiam||F||6'9"||SOPCC Basket|
|Babacar Toure||F/C||6'9"||Fribourg Olympic|
While Senegal is the lowest-ranked team in this group, it still provides a number of unique challenges, specifically due to the size present on the roster. Just three players on the team are shorter than 6'9", meaning the team will have no shortage of length on both the perimeter and the inside.
One name to keep an eye on with Senegal is 6-foot-9 forward Maurice Ndour, who spent part of the 2016-17 NBA season with the New York Knicks. Ndour has made a name for himself as an elite defender - last season, the 27-year-old was named 2019 VTB United League Defensive Player of the Year for his word on the defensive end as a member of Russia's BC UNICS.
In addition to Ndour is 7-footer Hamdy N'Diaye, who appeared in 33 NBA games over a four-year span after being drafted in 2010. The 32-year-old spent the last two seasons of his professional career in Italy and will be playing in France this upcoming season.
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