The FIBA Asia Cup 2017 makes history when it tips off on August 8 at Nouhad Nawfal Stadium in Beirut, Lebanon.
This year's tournament is a joint Asia-Oceania showdown featuring 16 teams over four pools, including a newcomer in New Zealand and a global force in Australia.
To celebrate the occasion, FIBA's official draw for the tournament on May 30 included a new logo, mascot and FIBA Asia Cup trophy:
With the teams slotted into place and the schedule set, let's break down the when and how before looking at a preview of the upcoming group play.
FIBA Asia Cup 2017
Date: August 8-20
Location: Nouhad Nawfal Stadium, Beirut, Lebanon
Live Stream: FIBA.com / LiveBasketball.TV
Group C is a great place to start when it comes to breaking down the tournament, because it not only features the host team, but one of the dangerous newcomers to the scene.
Said newcomer is New Zealand, which kicks off the action overall with an encounter against Kazakhstan. The Tall Blacks have eyes set on a deep run to the podium in this tournament in large part because of deep shooting from Shea Ili, even if some of the country's best players aren't making the trip to Beirut.
Like New Zealand getting a bit of a softball to start the tournament against a depleted Kazakhstan squad, host Lebanon should come out firing against Korea and make a strong bid for a podium spot thanks to a farewell tour of sorts from Fadi El Khatib and what should be another strong showing from Ali Haidar:
"It’s going to be very tough matching up against great teams," Haidar said back in March, according to FIBA.com. "But with proper preparation, especially with a good naturalized player, we should be able to compete. I believe we can shock the world, not just Asian teams."
If it weren't for the host team and the newcomer in Group C, though, most of the attention would go to Group B, the aptly nicknamed "Group of Death."
Qatar is one of the four powerhouses in the group, boasting a strong balance of experience and athletic upside. Iraq perhaps isn't as strong but comes close while touting the exact opposite makeup thanks to the individual play of Kevin Galloway, who propelled the country to serious contention in last year's Asia Challenge.
Even without June Mar Fajardo, Gilas Pilipinas will look to put up a strong fight, though without a big presence in the paint, handling the size of China will be more difficult than ever. According to FIBA, China trots out the tallest team in the competition, even without Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi.
Group A is more lopsided. India has a former NBA talent in Satnam Singh and little else, Syria hasn't played at this level since 2011 and Jordan, like a few other teams, is missing enough talent to have a troublesome outlook.
Then there's Iran. Hamed Haddadi might not be able to give it a go due to injury, but the rest of the starting lineup can work the paint well, and the team is a transitional power as younger guys start to take the torch and run with it.
In Group D, Australia is the main attraction. Chinese Taipei won't have Quincy Davis. Japan is still getting its footing under it with new head coach Julio Lamas at the helm. Australia, though, is a favorite to finish at the top of the podium because of the international experience on the roster, such as center David Andersen, a player fresh off a showing at the Rio Olympics.
Mitchell Creek was one of a few Boomers who took to social media to celebrate his team's debut:
Australia, favorite or not alongside a handful of others, is a good personification of the almost infectious enthusiasm each team taking part in the tournament offers up.
With a blend of all styles of international ball set to collide on the hardwood, the week and change the tournament commands the spotlight for is a good time for fans seeking to quench their basketball thirst.
Information courtesy of FIBA unless otherwise specified.