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From rising NBA stars to Latvian free agent. The 5 best young players of the 2023 World Cup

Date: April 15, 2024 Time: 17:55:35

A lot of young talents attended the last World Basketball Championship. For those playing in the NBA, this was a great opportunity to prove themselves on the international stage, for others – a chance to express themselves before the whole world and, perhaps, find a new club or move to a bigger league.

In this article we will talk about those who coped with this task better than others. We present to you the five best young players of the 2023 World Cup.

I would like to say right away that there will not be a single representative of the American team on this list. But we pay tribute to 22-year-old Anthony Edwards in the above “Championship” material:

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Juan Núñez – Spain

Juan Nunez

Photo: FIBA

19 years

Spain, winner of last year’s EuroBasket and the previous World Cup, finished ninth in the 2023 World Cup. The result was affected to a certain extent by the absence of Lorenzo Brown and Ricky Rubio, but it was this that allowed Juan Núñez, of 19 years old, go to the national team for the world championship.

Sergio Scariolo’s coaching staff believes that he will be the team’s main player in the next 10 years:

“We are confident that he will be one of the pillars of our team in the future. We were missing two veteran point guards who helped him get here, but he adjusted. This somewhat sped up the process we were developing for him.

There is no doubt that he will lead this team for the next 10 to 12 years with his leadership, humility, desire to improve and play for the team. He will build the bridge that we are trying to create for new young people,” said the specialist.

In the 2023 World Cup, Núñez became the leader of the Spanish team in average assists: 5.2. In total, he made more assists than points (26 vs. 25). Juan, who also averaged 3.4 rebounds per game, was one of the contenders for the tournament’s rising star award.

Franz Wagner – Germany

Franz Wagner

Photo: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images


At the 2023 World Cup, Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner missed four games due to a minor ankle injury, but still made a huge contribution to Germany’s historic victory.

With an average of 16.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists and 1.3 steals, Franz finished second in scoring and efficiency on his own team, in both cases only behind the tournament’s MVP, Dennis Schröder. In the final against Serbia he was named player of the game with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Wagner is a truly versatile, two-way player. He can handle any defensive role while also being a capable playmaker who can create opportunities for his teammates and attack the rim on his own, which is quite easy for him thanks to his height and athleticism.

Frantz was one of the best second-year players in the NBA last season. At the world championship he managed to prove himself under great pressure and now he will return to Orlando with the spirit of a champion and will surely continue to improve.

Artur Zagar – Latvia

Arturo Zhagar

Photo: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

23 years

Free agent Arturs Žagars was one of the key figures in the Latvian national team, which made a breakthrough in its first World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals and eventually finishing in a respectable fifth place.

Žagar is a combo guard who primarily plays point guard. In attack, he can score points and create opportunities for his teammates, which was especially noticeable during the World Cup. No matter who opposed him in defense, Arthur found the opportunity to organize his team’s attacks.

On average, he made up to 7.4 assists per game, scoring 11 in his first game in the tournament. But in the final meeting with Lithuania, which decided the fate of fifth and sixth place, Žagar set a world record for the number of assists – 17.

“I passed the ball and my teammates made shots. It’s simple,” he said after that meeting.

Arthur was also included in the symbolic second quintet of the tournament and scored 22 points with France, 17 points in the most important game against Brazil and 24 with Germany, where, despite the defeat, he eclipsed Dennis Schröder.

Over the past two years, the defender has been tormented by injuries, and before the start of the tournament, Luca Banchi, who, by the way, was named the best coach of the World Cup, seriously feared for his health:

“It wasn’t until training camp that I realized his body was responding well to stress. Before that, there were questions, but the guy worked seriously in the summer and probably achieved a result that he did not expect from himself. He did a great job “.

Žagar’s good performance at the World Cup reportedly attracted the attention of NBA teams. He attempted to go to the United States in 2019, but was forced to withdraw from the draft due to surgery. But now he has a real chance to receive an invitation from a big club, if not from the NBA, then certainly from Europe.

Nikola Jovic – Serbia

Nicola Jovic

Photo: Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

20 years

Jovic’s debut season in Miami was marked by back problems, which is why he participated in only 15 games, spending an average of 13.5 minutes on the court. But at his first world championship, the player was an integral part of the Serbian team, which ultimately took the silver medal.

Jovic participated in all eight games, where he averaged 10.1 points, three rebounds and 2.6 assists in 24 minutes on the court. He also became the third most efficient basketball player on his team (12.0). Nikola showed his best performance in the game against South Sudan, where he scored 25 points, shooting 100% from the field: nine of nine (including five of five three-pointers).

The Serbian plays like a great forward in the modern sense, and special attention should be paid to his shooting percentage: 56.6% from the field, 42.3% from behind the arc. He showed offensive versatility at the 2023 World Cup and Miami believes Jovic has great potential.

“We are very satisfied with Nikola’s performance at the World Championship. Coach Svetislav Pesic gave him a great opportunity. We saw how hard he works. He showed great potential. Jovic shows great versatility and the coach uses him in various offensive ways. Nikola is one of the youngest players in the tournament, but he plays like a veteran,” said Heat vice president Adam Simon.

Josh Giddy-Australia

Josh Giddy

Photo: Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

20 years

For Australia, the last World Cup ended in disappointment. The team qualified for the 2024 Olympics, but finished the tournament in tenth place with three wins in five matches. But 20-year-old Josh Giddy achieved individual success and received the Rising Star award.

The Oklahoma guard led Australia in points and assists, averaging 19.4 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. Only Drazen Petrovic, Wilfredo Ruiz, Kevin Durant, Yao Ming, John Lucas and Leo Rautins had more success at the U22 World Championship.

Giddy’s weak point remains the three-point shot: at the World Championship he only made 2 of 12 attempts from long distance. However, Josh showed his strengths in all their glory. He is a quality rebounder and playmaker with a high basketball IQ who can also finish drives and force opponents to foul. He also showed some flashes of defensive play, where the young Australian still needs to improve.

Despite his young age, next season will be Giddy’s third in the NBA. Along with Chet Holmgren and another 2023 World Cup star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, he will try to return the Thunder to one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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