How FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023 stands after four Masters
13 Jul 2023
MIES (Switzerland) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023 has been electric so far, crisscrossing favorite destinations while venturing into exciting new terrain.
With a short breather until the Edmonton Masters, let's pause and look back at how the World Tour stands after the first four Masters as we hit the quarter mark of the season.
Standouts: Ub Huishan NE (SRB)
These spectacular Serbs are unstoppable having won all four Masters so far this season - a feat they also achieved in 2022.
This has been even more impressive with Ub having tweaked their line up in Manila and Macau, but the changes did not stop them from collecting Ws.
Ub's system and teamwork is simply unmatched and they have a secret ingredient that no one has. But perhaps their success is not some magical potion, but that Ub prepares better and trains harder than anyone else.
Their superior fitness levels were on show in the draining humidity in Macau, where Ub were playing their fifth tournament in three weeks.
Instead of wilting, Ub were stronger than the rest to storm to another title and these dudes quite clearly won't be content until they are deemed 3x3's GOATs.
'Doctor Strange' remains the king of the 3x3 multiverse. He's not ready to hand his crown over to anyone just yet with Stojacic having won two MVPs already this season.
He's leading almost all of the major stats categories, including averaging 6.8 ppg and shooting 78% from ones and 32% from twos.
What separates the No.1 ranked player is his ability to make his teammates better, but also being able to dominate when needed.
Stojacic seems to almost always hit the big shot or make the right play when Ub needs him to come through.
It's why he's the best in the business, as Stojacic is on the right path to the greatest season seen on the World Tour.
Most Improved Player: Nemanja Barac
One of the reasons why Ub have been able to improve is due to the improved play of muscular Nemanja Barac.
He had a dream debut season in 2022, where Barac established himself as a defensive force thanks to his brute strength that resembles a UFC fighter.
But Barac has become so much more in 2023, where he seems to have more bounce as underlined by delivering several thunderous dunks.
He might have gone under the radar previously, lost amid Ub's stars, but not anymore with Barac having claimed his first MVP on the World Tour after dominating Marseille.
If the 33-year-old keeps up his spectacular play then Ub might just continue to roll through the season.
Best newcomers: Ning Zhang/Jimmer Fredette
There have been plenty of amazing debutants this season, but arguably the two best lit up the Macau Masters.
On his World Tour debut, Ning Zhang helped Liman Huishan NE (SRB) reach the final and he became an instant crowd favorite.
The tough Chinese player was always in attack mode as he bulldozed his way to the rim.
As Liman plays more on the World Tour this season, Ning Zhang will be out to prove he's no one-hit wonder with stardom beckoning.
While former NBA player and college favorite Jimmer Fredette didn't disappoint in his World Tour debut in Macau.
He was a walking bucket, but also set up his teammates constantly with sweet dishes.
Fredette appeared to lead newcomers Miami to a deep run when he hit what seemed to be the game-winner against Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) only for the craziest ending imaginable breaking the Americans' hearts.
Fredette was noticeably shattered as he slumped to the ground in disbelief.
But you just know the bitter disappointment will make this cold-blooded assassin more determined as we experienced 'Jimmer Mania' for the first time on the World Tour.