The FIBA World Cup, renamed for its soccer counterpart in an attempt to reflect the prominence of a tournament that has been deemed second rate to the Olympics, announced today a couple of changes that could have a lasting impact on the game.
FIBA has moved the 2018 tournament back a year to avoid competing with the soccer World Cup cycle.
Second, they will increase the field to 32 teams from 24.
The third adjustment, though, could limit the amount of NBA players — or for that matter, some collegiate players — from participating in the qualification tournaments. Per Tom Ziller of SB Nation:
Most importantly, though, is that FIBA will qualify teams for the World Cup and Olympic tournament much as its football brothers do: through multiple qualification periods through the year. These periods will, for the 2019 World Cup, be in November 2017, February 2018, June 2018, September 2018, November 2018 and February 2019.
If you didn’t already notice, the extensive qualification tournaments are schedule to take place during the NBA regular season. If this itenary holds, we might see lesser talented players deciding who qualifies for the World Cup.
If this is to become the best basketball tournament, superseding the Olympics, it would be nice to have the best players in the world playing as much as possible.