Dragic, Bogdanovic, and the FIBA World Cup

by Matt Petersen

On Saturday, dozens of NBA players will temporarily trade their NBA threads for international uniforms to play in the FIBA World Cup.

Two of the exchanged jerseys are purple and orange. Suns star guard Goran Dragic will once again represent his native nation of Slovenia, while recent 27th overall pick Bogdan Bogdanovic will do the same for Serbia.

How will the two Suns representatives fare on an international stage? Here's a brief look at their teams' respective outlooks.

Dragic and Slovenia

The Suns' 6-3 guard was exceptional in guiding the EuroBasket2013 host country to a surprising quarterfinals berth last summer, and he'll be expected to be similarly lethal in an even bigger arena.

He'll be joined by his brother Zoran, who provides another feisty, breakneck guard on the perimeter. The duo were the top two scorers for the team last year.

Their frontcourt, however, has been heavily hit by injuries and retirement. Former NBA-er Bostjan Nachbar has moved on from international competition. Mobile and effective big men Gasper Vidmar and Mirza Begic are also out.

Outlook: The Dragic brothers will once again be relied upon for scoring, whether it's doing it themselves or creating opportunities for others. Goran in particular will be the target for opposing defenses.

Slovenia, however, was slated in a particularly friendly Group D that includes Angola, Australia, Korea, Lithuania and Mexico. Dragic's crew has more than a decent chance at finishing in the top four and advancing to the elimination rounds.

Bogdanovic and Serbia

Phoenix's last first-round pick from this summer has been a rising prospect in Serbia from some time. Bogdanovic was Serbia's third-leading scorer at EuroBasket2013, thanks in large part to his 41.9-percent clip from three-point range.

The Serbians (who ironically played Dragic and Slovenia in their final EuroBasket game a year ago) also return their other top scorers, former NBA center Nenad Krstic and blossoming forward Nemanja Bjelica.

They will, however, be without promising youngster and Golden State guard Nemanja Nedovic, who is nursing a right foot injury.

Outlook: Serbia drew the FIBA version of the group of death. Group A includes 2012 Olympic silver medalist Spain, EuroBasket2013 champion France and NBA-heavy Brazil. Bogdanovic and company will need to take care of business against Iran and Egypt. Throw in an upset against one of the other top three teams, and Serbia should find itself advancing to the elimination round.

Related Content