Serbia vs. Greece at sold-out Stark Arena last week was the game of the summer, so far. But it might not be the final time that Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two players responsible for the last four NBA MVP awards, match up against one another this offseason.

EuroBasket 2022, otherwise known as the European Championships, tips off Thursday morning, and Serbia and Greece could be on a collision course to meet in the Gold Medal game Sunday, September 18 in Berlin. If both teams win their respective groups they’ll be placed on the opposite sides of the bracket from one another for EuroBasket’s knockout round.

A rematch? Forty more minutes of the two best players in the world representing their home countries?

Sign me up.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the competition that typically takes place every two years but hasn’t been played since 2017 due to COVID.

The Basics

The Nuggets will be represented at EuroBasket by two players, Jokic and Vlatko Cancar who’s suiting up for Slovenia. In total, the tournament features 24 teams separated into four different groups. Nuggets fans will need to pay closest attention to Groups B and D.

Teams play five games over seven days — a ridiculous schedule that includes two sets of back-to-backs — and the top-4 teams from each group move onto the knockout round beginning September 10 or 11. If Serbia and Slovenia each win their group, both teams would be lined up to play one another in the semifinals.

Group B: Slovenia, France, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Hungary

(Games take place in Cologne, Germany)

First matchup: Slovenia vs. Lithuania (Thursday, 9:15 am MT)

Slovenia finds itself in the group of death at EuroBasket. France, Lithuania and Germany could all put up a fight against Luka Doncic and Co. Slovenia should still advance out of pool play, but it won’t be easy.

Group D: Serbia, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Israel, Netherlands

(Games take place in Prague, Czech Republic)

First matchup: Serbia vs. Netherlands (Friday, 12 pm MT)

Serbia will likely breeze through Group D and should go undefeated. Jokic should have plenty of opportunities to rest over the next week and get ready for the knockout round.

Who’s Playing?

(with DraftKings Sportsbook odds to win EuroBasket)

Team Serbia (+380)

Starting 5 | G: Vasilije Micic, G: Vanja Marinkovic, F: Vladimir Lucic, F: Nikola Kalinic, C: Nikola Jokic

Others to know | G: Ognjen Jaramaz, C: Nikola Milutinov, F: Marko Guduric

Jokic is of course the key to Team Serbia’s gold medal hopes, but there’s ample talent around him., Micic, Serbia’s dynamic 6-5 point guard, also runs the show and is coming off a career year in Turkey where he won Euro League MVP. He’s regarded as one of the best players in the world that’s not currently in the NBA. Lucic is another name to know for Team Serbia. He’s a steady and relaible two-way player and strong off-ball mover who at 6-8 is a staple in all of Serbia’s best lineups. Lucic played a team-high 40 minutes against Greece. Off the bench, Milutinov is one of the best backup centers at EuroBasket and can feast on some second units while Jaramaz is a fearless, change-of-pace backup point guard who shined last week in Serbia’s win over Greece. Nemanja Bjelica has been ruled out of EuroBasket due to injury, but there’s enough here for Serbia to make a deep tournament run.

Team Slovenia (+400)

Starting 5 | G: Luka Doncic, G: Goran Dragic, G: Zoran Dragic, F: Vlatko Cancar, C: Mike Tobey

Others to watch | G: Aleksej Nikolic, G: Jaka Blazic, F: Edo Muric, C: Ziga Dimec

Slovenia has incredible guard play and a solid frontcourt. Doncic is the betting favorite for EuroBasket MVP and could lead the tournament in total points scored. While Serbia plays a much more free-flowing style, Slovenia puts to ball in Doncic hands and lets him create on most possessions. Goran and Zoran Dragic bring veteran leadership and Cancar has shined for Slovenia on the national stage before. Eventually, teams are going to load up to stop Doncic, and Slovenia’s fate could come down to their role players making shots. There’s an opportunity here for Cancar to play a featured role, just like he did on Slovenia’s 2020 Olympic team that lost in the bronze medal game to Australia.

Other Teams to Watch and Notable Players

(with DraftKings Sportsbook odds to win EuroBasket)

France (+400): Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, Theo Maledon, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Vincent Poirier, Elie Okobo, Guerschon Yabusele

Greece (+400): Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Tyler Dorsey, Nick Calathes, Kostas Papanikolaou, Georgios Papagiannis

Lithuania (+1000): Domantas Sabonis, Jonas Valanciunas, Ignas Brazdeikis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas,

Spain (+1400): Juancho Hernangomez, Willy Hernangomez, Usman Garuba, Rudy Fernandez

Italy (+1400): Simone Fontecchio, Nico Mannion, Nicolo Melli

Turkey (+1500): Cedi Osman, Alperen Sengun, Shane Larkin

Germany (+1800): Dennis Schroder, Franz Wagner, Daniel Theis

Croatia (+2000): Bojan Bogdanovic, Ivica Zubac, Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja

Finland (+5000): Lauri Markkanan

Georgia (+6500): Goga Bitadze, Sandro Mamukelashvili

Bosnia and Herzegovina (+15000): Jusuf Nurkic

Author

Harrison Wind is the Denver Nuggets beat reporter for DNVR Nuggets. The University of Colorado alum grew up in Boulder and has covered the Nuggets for the last three seasons. You can hear him every weekday on the DNVR Nuggets podcast. Follow Harrison on Twitter - @HarrisonWind

>
X