We’ve still got half a dozen weeks of NBA summer vacation left, but international basketball is back beginning this weekend.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup kicks off on Aug. 31 in China, with 32 teams vying for the championship. The United States enters as the favorite, as usual, but you never know what will happen once the ball is tipped. Serbia, especially, could give the U.S. a run for its money.

Two Mavericks are taking part in the World Cup this summer: Maxi Kleber (Germany) and Boban Marjanovic (Serbia). This will be the biggest international tournament Kleber has played in for his country, but he appears ready to make an impact. After all, his late-game heroics are partially responsible for Germany’s qualification in the first place.

Dirk Nowitzki was a superstar on the FIBA circuit for many years, but this might be Germany’s deepest roster in recent memory. Expectations are high that Kleber, Dennis Schroder, Daniel Theis, and co. can lead the country out of the group stage and into the knockout round, and France will likely prove to be the toughest test. The top-two teams from each group advance. Here’s Germany’s schedule.

Opponent Date Tipoff Time (CST)
France* Sunday, Sept. 1 7:30 a.m.
Dominican Republic Tuesday, Sept. 3 3:30 a.m.
Jordan Thursday, Sept. 5 3:30 a.m.

*Game will be televised on ESPN+

Marjanovic, meanwhile, will be a key piece of Serbia’s rotation. The European nation is a rising superpower in the international basketball world, winning silver at the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics, and most recently at the 2017 EuroBasket, where Serbia finished runner-up to Luka Doncic and Slovenia. Marjanovic averaged 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game throughout that tournament. (Slovenia, due in part to the controversial qualification schedule, didn’t earn an invitation to the World Cup despite winning the most recent significant international tournament on its own continent.) Led by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, and of course Marjanovic just to name a few, Serbia is widely considered to be the most dangerous threat to the U.S.’s hopes of winning gold.

Naturally, then, Serbia is a heavy favorite to emerge from the group stage as the winner. Facing heavy expectations and drawing huge fan interest, two of the country’s group stage games will be on ESPN+. Here’s their whole schedule.

Opponent Date Tipoff Time (CST)
Angola* Saturday, Aug. 31 2:30 a.m.
Philippines* Monday, Sept. 2 6:30 a.m.
Italy Thursday, Sept. 4 6:30 a.m.

*Game will be televised on ESPN+

From there, the schedule will be determined by group stage results. With both nations facing solid odds of advancing to the knockout rounds, we could be watching Kleber and Marjanovic well into September, which should take us right up to the start of training camp. Before you know it, basketball in Dallas will be back. But in the meantime, let’s see if these international stars can make an impact on the world’s stage.

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