2016 Manila #FIBAOQT Scouting Report: The Blues of France

(Image from FIBA)
The 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) that will be held here in Manila is just around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to get a better of feel of each of the teams taking part and playing for one of three remaining wild card tickets to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In this part, let’s focus on the Blues (Les Bleus) of France.

FIBA Rank: 5

Latest FIBA performance
- 3rd in Eurobasket 2015. 8-1 win-loss record. They swept their first 7 games then lost to eventual champion Spain in the semis before beating Serbia in the 3rd place game.

Latest tune-up games
- France had a recent tune-up series with Latvia, going 1-1. FRA lost to LAT, 76-75 and then won the second game, 89-72. They recently played Serbia as well, losing, 77-79. They will play Serbia again on June 25 before their last friendly against Japan on June 28.

Current Roster:
Thomas Huertel - 6’2 - G
Adrien Moerman - 6’9 - F
Edwin Jackson - 6’3 - G
Boris Diaw - 6’8 - F/C
Florent Pietrus - 6’7 - F
Tony Parker - 6’1 - G
Alexis Ajinca - 7’1 - C
Nicolas Batum - 6’8 - F
Rodrigue Beaubois - 6’0 - G
Nando de Colo - 6’5 - G
Antoine Diot - 6’4 - G
Mickael Gelabale - 6’7 - F
Charles Kahudi - 6’6 - F
Joffrey Lauvergne - 6’10 - F/C
Kim Tillie - 6’11 - C

Key Players:
The star: Tony Parker - Without a doubt, Parker will be the biggest draw for France, and he will be their biggest offensive weapon. At 34, Parker may be on the final leg of his international career, but he can still be a force of nature when he’s healthy and focused. His match-up with Jason Castro will be one to watch.

The veteran: Boris Diaw - This experienced big man will offer his versatility in trying to help FRA punch their #Rio2016 tickets. He is a very good two way player, and, even if he has certainly lost a lot of athleticism, he can still be an effective facilitator on the floor.

A photo posted by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

The breakout: There are two potential breakout stars here — Nicolas Batum (All-Tournament Team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup) and Nando de Colo (All-Tournament Team in Eurobasket 2015 and 2016 Euroleague MVP). Batum, if he does go through and join the squad, is the most versatile player on this team, and he can take over on both ends with his length, athleticism, and shooting. de Colo, meanwhile, is expected to be the heir apparent to Parker as FRA’s #1 guard. He isn’t as quick as Parker, but he has a better shooting touch, and he’s bigger, too. He normed around 24 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal while shooting 53% from the field and 46% from downtown in the Euroleague.

A photo posted by Nicolas Batum (@nicbatum88) on

A photo posted by FFBB (@ffbb_officiel) on

Outlook: Going by their ranking alone, FRA is the heavy favorite to make it out of the Manila OQT and qualify for Rio. Even without Batum and their other NBA stars (e.g. Rudy Gobert, Ian Mahinmi, Evan Fournier), this will still be a very very tough team to beat. If Batum does join, though, then FRA just legitimizes their status as this OQT’s superpower. Heck, if not for that one loss to ESP in Eurobasket 2015, this team would be in the Olympics already.




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