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Italy missing top dribblers?

Paolo Banchero will be sorely missed if he doesn’t suit up for Italy in the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila. Photo by Fernando Medina / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP

Good news for Gilas Pilipinas.

Reports from Italy say that Orlando Magic swingman Paolo Banchero has yet to commit for a stint with the Italian men’s team bound for the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila while Boston Celtics gunner Danilo Gallinari appears to be a long way from suiting up for a game owing to an injury.

The National Basketball Association’s Rookie of the Year for 2022-2023, Banchero, according to the Federazione Italiana Pallacanestro (Italian Basketball Federation) “has been overwhelmed by events in recent months,” president Gianni Petrucci said.

Banchero, 20, who played for Duke University, averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, including forty 20-point games that tied LeBron James during his rookie year.

The NBA’s top draft pick in 2022, the 6-10 Banchero had been selected by the Azzurri to play in the 2022 Euro Basket but wound up not seeing action.

Although he has been quoted in interviews that he would represent Italy, Petrucci reveals that “we are currently on stand-by.”

“If I’m being honest, I feel more pessimistic than optimistic,” added Petrucci

However, according to President of Federazione Italiana Pallacanestro Gianni Petrucci, Italians might have to wait longer to watch Banchero in Italian threads.

“If he won’t be with us for the World Cup, we now hope for the Paris Olympics.”

For Gallinari, the 34-year old veteran has been sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee since September of last year.

He was supposed to serve as an off the bench big man for the Celtics since he was traded from the Atlanta Hawks as he averaged 11.7 points per game while shooting 38 percent from three-point range in his 2021-2022 campaign.

In an interview with The Athletic, Gallinari looked ahead on what the next few months could look like for him.

“I think it’s something, just like every year, where I sit down with the team (Boston Celtics) and see what’s going on.”

“I’m far away from playing a game. I’ve started doing a little bit of contact but not like a game-type of contact,” he said.

Even without the two scorers, Italy still boasts of other NBA standouts like Marco Belinelli and Nico Mannion as well as team captain Michele Vitali.

Italy is bracketed with the Philippines, Angola and the Dominican Republic in Group A.

The tournament will run from 25 August until 10 September.

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