Walker Kessler has committed to play for Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler has committed to play for Team USA's FIBA World Cup team this summer in the Philippines, sources tell ESPN. Kessler had an All-Rookie season, averaging 9.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2023
The World Cup will be held in the Philippines, with games beginning on August 25th, 2023. Team USA’s roster is going young, as often happens with the World Cup. Most of the biggest American stars choose either to not play national basketball, or to wait for the Olympics. Players known to be committed thus far include Kessler, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Brandon Ingram, Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jalen Brunson, Austin Reaves, and Bobby Portis. Despite none of the big names joining as of yet, this is still a very talented team. Kessler could have a starting spot if the coaching staff chooses to play Jackson at the four, or he could be the backup center. Either way, expect significant minutes for the young big man.
Kessler just finished an excellent rookie campaign in which he made the All-Rookie First Team, was top-five in the league in blocks, and led the Utah Jazz’ defense all year. Getting international experience can help him continue to build off a fantastic start to his career.
Playing for national teams can be incredibly helpful for the development of young players. Utah’s Lauri Markkanen just won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award after a sensational offseason playing for Finland’s national team. Hopefully Kessler can follow Markkanen’s footsteps and take his national team experience and push himself to another level in the NBA.