The FIBA World Cup is fast approaching, with national teams around the world entering training camps and playing non-competitive warm-up games. Fortunately, there aren’t many members of the Boston Celtics roster that are set to take part in the tournament.
On July 27, it was reported that Al Horford had been added to the Dominican Republic’s extended World Cup roster. However, it would now appear that Horford won’t be making the trip to Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. According to Dorde Malesevic of BasketballSphere.com both Horford and Chris Duarte have been removed from the Dominican Republic’s roster and won’t be participating in the World Cup.
Horford, 37, spent last season missing the second night of back-to-backs as the Celtics looked to keep their veteran big man fresh throughout the regular season. As such, the Celtics' front office, and their fanbase, will likely be pleased to hear that Horford will be refraining from playing in a tournament that is known for its physicality.
BREAKING: Al Horford and Chris Duarte will not play for Dominican Republic in the upcoming FIBA World Cup.https://t.co/mX1t0YHhMr— Miroslav Dragoljević (@Miroslav_D7) August 2, 2023
Kristaps Porzingis will now be the only member of the Celtics roster that will take part in the FIBA World Cup. Payton Pritchard was part of the Team USA select roster, but will not be traveling to the tournament. Celtics fans will remember Danilo Gallinari’s injury from last year’s EuroBasket competition and will now be keeping a close eye on Porzingis throughout the tournament, which will run between August 25 and September 10.
Nevertheless, with only one member of the roster taking part, the Celtics will stand a good chance of entering training camp with a fully healthy roster, allowing Joe Mazzulla and his coaching staff the opportunity to get the team fully acclimated with the offensive and defensive system the will be tasked with executing throughout the upcoming season.
Horford will likely be a big part of Mazzulla’s plans, given his 3-point shooting and defensive ability, having him ready to go, with a full offseason of rest under his belt, is the ideal scenario for a veteran big man still chasing his first championship ring.