12 players to watch at FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final 2021

JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - 3x3's best players will be out for the crown in Jeddah as the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2021 ends in style on December 17-18.

Let's look at 12 players who are sure to light up the season-ending event.

Karlis Lasmanis (Riga) 

It might just be his time. It's certainly Karlis Lasmanis' year. Whatever happens, the 27-year-old will always be a special part of 2021 having hit the game-winner as Latvia won the first ever 3x3 Olympic gold medal.

But Lasmanis is never satisfied. He's 'Batman' after all. With 3x3 GOAT Dusan Bulut absent, Lasmanis knows the title of 'best 3x3 player' is up for grabs and right now he's probably out in front.

If he can capture a third straight MVP, having won in Abu Dhabi and Mexico City, then this 6ft. 7in. (2m) superstar will surely be sitting on the throne.

His biggest competitor might be his teammate Nauris Miezis aka 'Robin' who 12 months ago in Jeddah hit a shot for the ages to claim Riga's first ever World Tour trophy.

He deserves to be on this list too but we can only pick one player per team, so Lasmanis gets the nod because he starts Jeddah as the best player in the game.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Karlis Lasmanis (@klasmanis)


Miroslav Pasajlic (Ub)

New power Ub have lit up 3x3 and we could have chosen Strahinja Stojacic who has taken his electric game to another level or Dejan Majstorovic who issued a timely reminder that he is indeed still the 'Maestro'.

But we just can't forget what Miroslav Pasajlic did in Debrecen, where the dynamo torched opponents to run away with MVP. The 26-year-old is sometimes unpredictable but there aren't too many players who have his skillset.

He’s diminutive but strong and hard to stop when he drives to the rim. If Pasajlic doesn't score then he can dish through his killer passing skills making him a multiple threat on offense.

Pasajlic gives the Serbs more swagger and this season they never finished lower than second in Masters with him in the line-up.

And his rise was confirmed when he won MVP for Serbia at the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 2021.


Stefan Kojic (Liman)

There's been something a little bit off about Liman, who are winless in Masters titles this season. Their best result was finishing runners-up in Prague, where their No.1 player Stefan Kojic missed. Go figure!

It can be a raffle choosing Liman's best player but sharpshooter Kojic gets our vote.

The 29-year-old averages a team best 6.1ppg even though his radar has been a bit off shooting 25% from deep. But Kojic has been doing his thing for a long time and knows how to get it done on the big stage.

Back him to find his best as Liman aim to avenge last year's heartbreak in Jeddah, where he feels so comfortable shooting from deep. 


Thibaut Vervoort (Antwerp)

The best show in 2021 hasn't been Squid Game. Or Succession. It's Thibaut Vervoort aka 'Must See TV' who has helped put Antwerp on the map with his spectacular breakout season.

In his debut on the World Tour, the Belgian sniper averages an insane 6.4ppg, which is second amongst those who have played more than 15 games. Only Lasmanis averages more.

The 24-year-old is a nightmare for opponents as he can attack the rack better than almost all of them but he loves shooting the two-ball. In fact, he shoots twos double the rate of ones and it's easy to see why because the Antwerp Ant-Man can make the logo look like the free-throw line.

All that's missing in such a memorable 2021 is silverware and if he helps Antwerp pull that off then Thibaut Vervoort's show will move to prime time next year.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by FIBA3x3 (@fiba3x3)


Nemanja Draskovic (Jeddah)

This dude has been breathing fire all season. For those who have played more than 10 games, Draskovic has the second highest average at 7.2ppg. And he lights it up from deep at a crazy 42%.

The 30-year-old was possessed in Prague where he won MVP to lead Jeddah to their first ever Masters victory. The 30-year-old Serb topped almost every category to underline his dominance in one of the standout efforts this entire season.

With his home fans willing him on, Draskovic might be even able to raise his game to another level on the biggest stage on the World Tour.


Dimeo van der Horst (Amsterdam Talent&Pro)

Amsterdam Talent&Pro have become a force on the World Tour because they are a four-headed monster. There is no weak line. But Dimeo van der Horst is the difference maker and the guy who can put the whole team on his back if needed.

Strangely, Amsterdam's Masters breakthrough in Doha was achieved without 'Dimes' who has been out to prove his team isn't better without him. The 30-year-old is one of the best finishers and opponents will need to be wary of not giving him space to operate.

Van der Horst will be extra motivated knowing this is his last chance in 2021 for some team success that has eluded him to date.

Aurelijus Pukelis (Sakiai Gulbele)

The Lithuanians have had a disappointing season and it feels like ages ago that they were the hot newcomers taking the World Tour 2019 by storm.

But they did have some success this year with a semi-final finish in Debrecen led by Aurelijus Pikelis, who was one of the best players there with an average of 6.3 ppg.

The 6ft. 8in. (2.05m) player has soft shooting touch for a big fella and is one of the toughest players to stop close to the basket, but also has nice range.

He looms as one of the best big men in Jeddah and will need to be to turn around Sakiai's fortunes.

Kareem Maddox (Princeton)

One thing is for certain. Kareem Maddox will be a strong contender to feature in our top 5 plays in Jeddah. The 6ft. 8in. (2.03m) athletic marvel is sure to have an insane dunk or block in Jeddah as this dude always travels on American Airlines.

It's been a tough season for Princeton, who will represent USA in Jeddah, but Maddox goes in with that winning feeling having won gold at the historic FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup 2021 in Miami.

He will be extra determined having been part of Princeton's runners-up campaign at the World Tour Final 2019. Without main man Robbie Hummel, Maddox will have more burden but it is a responsibility his sizeable shoulders can handle.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by FIBA3x3 (@fiba3x3)


Wes Molteni (Lausanne Sport)

You can count on 'King Wes' being box office material as he leads the always entertaining Lausanne Sport in Jeddah. He's been a human highlight reel for years and the hype man for a team that can always be relied upon putting on a show.

The Swiss have long been unpredictable and have found 2021 tough but they might just be able to pull out a surprise if King Wes can rally the troops like he has so many times over the years.

Luis Hernandez (San Juan PCI Group)

Maybe he's the Dennis Rodman of 3x3 because Luis Hernandez grabs every board. He stole the show in Mexico City where the 6ft. 7in. bull was a force inside with an insane 6.8 rebounds per game, while providing incredible defense too. 

Hernandez has made up for San Juan missing leader Gilberto Clavell with his high-energy and this dude loves entertaining as he finished No.1 in Mexico City with 13 highlights. We could watch his block party all day.  

Opponents are warned - keep this rebounding machine off the glass.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by FIBA3x3 (@fiba3x3)


Filip Kramer (Graz)

Get ready for Kramer Time! He's the strongest Austrian since Arnold and loves nothing more than dunking on sorry defenders. The 6ft. 7in. (2m) explosive player is almost impossible to stop when he has a full head of steam and he's undoubtedly one of the best athletes in Jeddah.

Graz will arrive as the lowest seed but might be able to go on a giant-killing run if they are set to Kramer Time.

Alexander Zuev (Gagarin)

This insanely talented 25-year-old can see the crown in the distance. For a long time, Alexander Zuev has been hyped up as the next big thing in 3x3 but had mixed results along the way.

But it's starting really happen for him after he won an Olympic silver medal starring in Tokyo.

Mirroring Gagarin, his form on the World Tour has been inconsistent but Zuev was sensational in Mexico City as he led the Russians to a semi-final finish. He averaged 6ppg there which was a big increase on his 4.9ppg overall average this season and you feel he can make another jump.

The marksman can do it all and hit shots from every spot on the court. If he makes Jeddah his personal playground then a new 3x3 king might be crowned.