The list of stars suiting up for this year’s FIBA World Cup continues to grow longer.
Just a few weeks after Canada announced that it will be bringing its strongest line-up to date, their FIBA Americas rival the Dominican Republic revealed its extended roster that features active NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns, Al Horford, and Chris Duarte.
If Towns and Horford wind up on their final roster, the Dominican Republic will hold the distinction of being the only team at the World Cup with two multiple time NBA All-Stars suiting up. The 37-year-old Horford has appeared in five NBA All-Star games, most recently in 2018. Meanwhile, that 2018 NBA All-Star game marked Towns’ first appearance and he also made it to the league’s midyear showcase in 2019 and 2022.
These two players will give the Dominican Republic what is arguably the most talented big man duo in the tournament as both possess quality inside-out skill sets on the offensive end of the floor. Their ability to hit shots beyond the three-point line will be especially crucial as well given the zone-heavy style of play in the international game.
The shotmaking brought by Towns, the self-proclaimed “Best Big Man Shooter Ever”, is a major difference maker. He instantly turns the Dominican Republic into a dark horse contender for a medal in this upcoming World Cup as he is arguably the best scorer among all post players participating in this competition.
On the other end of the floor, Horford remains one of the best low post defenders in basketball despite his advanced age. He gives the Dominican Republic a capable defensive presence if they are to face the likes of Greece’s two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, Latvia’s one-time NBA All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, and Lithuania’s 11-year NBA veteran Jonas Valanciunas.
The third NBA player on their team Duarte provides a FIBA-friendly skillset too as a proven three-and-D wing. Recently acquired by the Sacramento Kings via a trade with the Indiana Pacers, the incoming third-year player is likely to draw the assignment of covering the top perimeter players that they face in the World Cup which may include Slovenia’s four-time NBA All-Star Luka Doncic.
These three will join the Dominican Republic’s FIBA mainstays Andres Feliz, Eloy Vargas, and Jean Montero who played a key role in the team’s road to qualifying for this World Cup.
With Team USA fielding a younger team than usual and reigning champion Spain coming in with a group that looks like it is past its prime, there is a legitimate chance for this Dominican Republic squad to make it to the later rounds. Towns and Horford give them a shot on paper, though it remains to be seen how they can fit in, not just with one another, but with their teammates whom they lack an extensive history with.
The World Cup is less than a month away and it is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ones in recent memory based on all of the talented players flying in for this quadrennial festival.