What 5 Utah Jazz players are playing in the FIBA World Cup

Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz.
Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz. /

The Utah Jazz has five players in the FIBA World Cup, but who is playing in it?

It’s fair to say the Utah Jazz are ready for a big year in 2023-2024. The team has three young rookies and the arrival of John Collins to help lift them from a 37-win season, to possibly a playoff birth. And if not, at the very least, a play-in appearance.

But before we get to the postseason or even the regular season, we have to go through the FIBA World Cup.

The FIBA World Cup will see the Utah Jazz send five of their very best players to compete against one another in the upcoming international tournament. The competition has risks, absolutely, namely injury but it will also help the players as well. It’ll showcase the talents of the Jazz for the upcoming season and could help refine the game of some of the younger players who are taking part in the tournament

But who from the Utah Jazz are playing in the FIBA World Cup, and with whom are they playing for? Let’s break it down.

First up is Jordan Clarkson, the Jazz’s multi-functional guard. He’s going to be competing for the Philippines alongside Kai Sotto, a young prospect who many think may excel in the NBA, and June Mar Fajardo, a towering center with some serious size to contend with. Clarkson will be the team’s primary focus on offense.

Joining him in the FIBA World Cup will be Walker Kessler, playing for Team USA. We’ve already spoken about Kessler, and what he brings to the table for Team USA. That said, his involvement should give the Jazz faithful some optimism due to the step in competition he’s going to be going up against.  A good run by Kessler will give fans a lot to think about heading into the regular season.

Another player helping out his homeland is small forward Simone Fontecchio out of Italy. He’ll partner up with former New Orleans Pelicans Nicolo Melli, and former second-round draft pick Nico Mannion. Fontechio, like Clarkson, will be the team’s primary focus on offense.

Next up for Canada is Kelly Olynyk, who has the most noteworthy names outside of the U.S. Jamal Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will headline the roster, with Olynyk a likely starter for them at center.

Lastly is Lauri Markkanen, the Jazz’s star player, and he’ll be representing Finland. Finland’s team isn’t as robust as other teams, but they do carry an intriguing prospect in Federiko Federiko, a young prospect currently playing college ball at Pitt. Markkanen, like Fontecchio, and Clarkson, will be the battery that powers his respective team.

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