Much like the German national team during the great Dirk Nowitzki’s tenure, the Slovenian national team becomes a secondary rooting interest for many Dallas Mavericks fans due to Luka Doncic’s presence on the team. Everything Doncic does is headline news for Mavericks fans.
Immediately following the game 7 loss to the Clippers, in which Doncic was phenomenal, Doncic flew to Slovenia to join the national team in its attempt to qualify for the Olympics. The Slovenian national team will be playing in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Lithuania from June 29th through July 4th.
Slovenia will be in a group with Angola and Poland. The other group will be Lithuania, Korea and Venezuela. Slovenia will have to finish first or second in its group in order to make it to the final stage. This is the current ranking of all men’s national teams by FIBA. Slovenia’s ranking is not representative of their quality with Doncic, as he has not been playing with them recently.
Slovenia will play Angola on June 30th after Angola plays Poland on June 29th. To quote Charles Barkley “Angola’s in trouble.” Then Slovenia will play Poland on the second game of its own back to back on July 1st to finish the group stage.
Provided Slovenia does not get last in its group, it will move on the semifinals on July 3rd. The second place team from Slovenia’s group will play the first place team from the other group. The winner of Slovenia’s group will play the second place team from the other group. The finals will be on July 4th. Hopefully, this will give Mavericks fans something extra to celebrate on Independence Day.
Doncic isn’t the only Maverick who has made his way to Slovenia. Given his importance to the team, Rick Carlisle, Donnie Nelson and Casey Smith have accompanied Doncic to keep an eye on the superstar. Enjoy Doncic’s return to his national team roots and wish him well.