When FIBA changed the qualification system for the 2019 World Cup, most fans did not like having games played outside of the summer months, which is when almost every league is in its offseason. This weekend brings one of only two windows during which qualifier games will be played during the offseason. This means that the best players are much more likely to represent their country, and college and NBA players are littered across national team rosters. Let's take a look at how teams qualify and which teams have notable players.
Each country will play only two games against opponents in their region. There are four regions: Africa, Americas, Europe and Asia. There are a total of six windows, which means everybody plays 12 games. The teams with the best record from each region qualify for the 2019 World Cup. You can find more information about this process here.
Team Canada has plenty of familiar faces
Barrett, the No. 1 player in the 2018 recruiting class and the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, will participate for the Canadian men's national team before joining Duke (which will coincidentally play some exhibition games in Canada later in the summer).
In our internal grass-roots database, Barrett has posted only a 50.6 percent effective field goal percentage over 36 games. His 3-point attempt rate is only 0.22. With a step up in competition, will Barrett look to take a more efficient shot selection instead of going to the basket against grown men?
Barrett won't be the only incoming college freshman on his squad as Nembhard, a future Florida Gator who is ranked 28th in the 2018 class, will join him. For Nembhard, with 25 games logged in our internal grass-roots database, will he get a chance to improve his slightly high turnover percentage (23 percent)?
The rest of the squad features NBA players (or in some cases fringe NBA players) such as Dwight Powell, Kelly Olynyk, Chris Boucher and Anthony Bennett. In preparation for their two qualification games, Canada played China in two exhibition games and won by an average of 35.5 points. Both Barrett and Nembhard got playing time (21.5 and 1.5 minutes, respectively), and Barrett even started one game.
No Deandre Ayton for Bahamas, but some notable college alums
Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings) started the golden age of Bahamian players coming to the NCAA when he played at Oklahoma, and he will also lead the Bahamian national team during its pursuit of 2019 World Cup qualification. Alongside him are LJ Rose (played for Houston and BYU in college, now in the NBA G League), Tum Tum Nairn Jr. (played for Michigan State, is currently a free agent), Travis Munnings (senior at Louisiana Monroe), and Jaron Cornish (senior at Stony Brook). Ayton, the No. 1 pick in last week's NBA draft, will not play.
New Zealand gets help from Virginia, Dartmouth
New Zealand will face Hong Kong on Thursday at 3:10 a.m. ET (on ESPN+) and then face China on Saturday at 11:10 p.m. ET (on ESPN+).
France, Croatia, Australia all have plenty of active NBA players
While none of these countries have active college players suiting up, these are the teams with the most active NBA players. France has Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets), Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), and former NBA player Boris Diaw (now playing in France). Croatia has Dario Saric (Philadelphia 76ers), Bojan Bogdanovic (Indiana Pacers) and Ivica Zubac (Los Angeles Lakers). Australia has Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks), Dillon Brooks (Memphis Grizzlies), and Thon Maker (Bucks).
Other notable players participating