Team USA are finally going to make their much-awaited debut in the 2023 FIBA World Cup this Saturday against New Zealand, who will try everything they can in an attempt to pull off a miracle at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Catch this game live on Saturday, August 26, at 8:40 PM, Manila time

USA (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Jalen Brunson
  • SG: Anthony Edwards
  • SF: Mikal Bridges
  • PF: Paolo Banchero
  • C: Walker Kessler

Team USA can roll with any starting-unit configuration and they still will look formidable, to say the least. Although USA don’t have the flashiest names, it’s still composed of talented players from top to bottom. If they are to get into trouble, it is not going to be in the first game of the tournament against New Zealand. 

The backcourt of Team USA is stacked with Jalen Brunson at the point and Anthony Edwards alongside him as the 2-guard. New Zealand will have trouble all night long dealing with mismatches, quickness, size, and athleticism of the United States. With Mikal Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., Team USA have shut down defensive anchors in the perimeter and at the rim. That’s not to mention the likes of Walker Kessler, who’s got the clear role of protecting the basket and siphoning every miss, and Austin Reaves, who is showing that he’s worth the big contract the Lakers gave him recently. There’s no reason this game against the Tall Blacks will not end in a blowout victory for Team USA.

New Zealand (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Flynn Cameron
  • SG: Shea Ili
  • SF: Reuben Te Rangi
  • PF: Finn Delany
  • C: Isaac Fotu

With Steven Adams unable to join New Zealand in the 2023 FIBA World Cup because of an injury, not one NBA player is going to do the haka before each game for the Tall Blacks. However, that doesn’t mean New Zealand are bereft of quality players. With the Webster brothers, Tai and Corey, also not participating in the World Cup, New Zealand will lean heavily on the pair of Flynn Cameron and Finn Delany. Cameron led New Zealand with 13.3 points and 4.9 assists per game back in the 2022 Asia Cup in Indonesia. 

Delany, on the other hand, showed out in the Tall Blacks’ final game before the World Cup, as he had 13 points to go with six rebounds and six assists in a competitive 88-81 loss to Italy during the Solidarity Cup in Shenzhen, China. Reuben Te Rangi is an x-factor as well for New Zealand. It’s hard to concoct a supporting narrative that would make anyone believe that New Zealand have a shot at beating the Americans, but covering the huge spread is definitely a whole lot closer to reality for them.


Spread: The United States (-35.0) cover the spread.

Over/Under: The total (186.0) hits the Under.