France won the 2013 EuroBasket for the first time in their country’s history and the French want to ride that golden glory with a good performance at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. However, they will have to do it without their superstar point guard Tony Parker, who begged off from the international competition due to injuries.
How will they do in Spain without their best player? Who will step up for Team France?
The good news is that they still have a few of NBA players in their roster that can help them in their bid for a medal in the world championship.
Nicolas Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers averaged over 11 points per game—second to Parker in the scoring department—in the Euro championships but he will be asked to do more scoring but still maintain the versatile numbers of 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocked shots.
Helping Batum in the frontline is veteran NBA champion Boris Diaw, who like Batum filled the stat sheet as well with averages of 11.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals. Another NBA players in the line-up is Ian Mahinmi, a back-up center for the Indiana Pacers.
Other key players to watch for are shooter Evan Fournier, a new addition to the team and Michael Gelabale, a constant contributor in the French NT for many years now. Joining Parker in the sidelines also because of injuries are point guard Nando De Colo and center Alexis Ajinca.
France Roster (Current Club Teams):
Guards - Thomas Heurtel (Laboral Kutza, Spain), Antoine Diot (Strasbourge, France), Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic, United States)
Forwards - Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs, United States), Nicolas Batum (Portland Trail Blazers, United States), Charles Kahudi (Le Mans Sarthe, France), Edwin Jackson (Lyon-Villeurbanne, France), Florence Pietrus (SLUC Nancy, France), Michael Gelabale (BC Khimki, Russia)
Centers – Joffrey Lauvergne (Partizan Belgrade, Serbia), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz, United States), Ian Mahinmi (Indiana Pacers, United States)
France belongs to Group A in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and will face Brazil on Aug. 30; Serbia on Aug.31; Egypt on Sept. 1; Spain on Sept. 3 and Iran on Sept. 4 in the group stage of the competition. The top four teams in the group advance to the next round.
Prediction: France with easy wins over Egypt, Iran and close victories over Brazil and Serbia. Spain gives them one loss in the group stage.