FIBA Rankings: TUR - 8, CAN - 26

This is their very first meeting ever at the world level. These are the top two ranked teams in Group A, and this game may well determine who ends up as the top seed from this group entering the next round. CAN may have a lot of NBA talent in its roster, but TUR has a lot of size and experience in its fold. TUR is fighting for respectability after not performing so well in Eurobasket 2015 (14th place), while CAN is hoping to return to form after they were upset by Venezuela in the semis of the 2015 FIBA Americas tournament. 

TUR’s keys to win:
1. Establish inside presence - TUR needs to exploit its edge in size against CAN. With Erden and Asik potentially forming a twin tower combo up front, TUR can make life very difficult for CAN’s bigs.

2. Outside shooting - Shooters like Ali Muhammed, Sinan Guler, and Birkan Batuk need to catch fire for TUR to be able to get the jump on the more athletic Canadians.

3. Limit CAN’s perimeter players - Cory Joseph, Brady Heslip, and Tyler Ennis are going to be vital cogs for CAN in the backcourt, and TUR has to find a way to limit those guys’ ability to make plays and make shots. TUR has bigger guards, though, so they can exploit that size advantage to disrupt passing lanes and obstruct court vision.

CAN’s keys to win:
1. Foul trouble - With TUR being bigger and very aggressive, the danger is for CAN’s frontliners to fall into foul trouble early. That’s something CAN has to be conscious of lest their frontcourt thin out very early.

2. Get out on the break - CAN has a lot of fast and athletic players and they need to take advantage of that. If Joseph, Heslip, and Ennis can dictate the tempo of this game, it’ll be easier for guys like Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson to impose their will.

3. Don’t play catch-up - CAN has a lot of talent, but TUR has been playing together for a longer time so the latter has better chemistry. That means it’ll be tough for CAN if they fall behind and resort to playing catch up. The Canadians need to dictate the tempo early or risk getting behind by a sizeable margin.

TURKEY roster
Ender Arslan - 6’1 - 33
Omer Asik - 7’0 - 29
Birkan Batuk - 6’5 - 26
Semih Erden - 6’11 - 29
Samet Geyik - 6’9 - 23
Sinan Guler - 6’4 - 32
Furkan Korkmaz - 6’8 - 18
Melih Mahmutoglu - 6’3 - 26
Oguz Savas - 6’9 - 28
Kenan Sipahi - 6’6 - 21
Ali Muhammed - 5’11 - 33
Cedi Osman - 6’7 - 21

CANADA roster
Joel Anthony - 6’9 - 33
Anthony Bennett - 6’7 - 23
Khem Birch - 6’9 - 23
Melvin Ejim - 6’6 - 25
Tyler Ennis - 6’2 - 21
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - 6’3 - 17
Brady Heslip - 6’2 - 26
Cory Joseph - 6’4 - 24
Levon Kendall - 6’11 - 32
Philip Scrubb - 6’3 - 23
Thomas Scrubb - 6’5 - 24
Tristan Thompson - 6’9 - 25

Key Players:
Semih Erden - Erden is this team’s #1 option in the paint. His size and ability to finish around the basket are well-known in European circles, but he’ll have to work extra hard against Tristan Thompson.

Omer Asik - Asik won’t drop 20 points on CAN, but his size and defensive instincts make him very dangerous on the boards and protecting the basket. 

Ali Muhammed - Muhammed’s speed, shooting, and playmaking will very crucial in order for TUR’s offense to remain stable throughout the game. His defense will also be tested by the wily and streaky Cory Joseph.

Tristan Thompson - Thompson returns to action for CAN fresh from his title run with the Cavs, and he should be extra pumped. He’s not as big as Erden or Asik, but he is certainly more athletic. His low post game isn’t pretty, but if he can get those offensive boards, TUR will be in trouble. 

Anthony Bennett - Bennett may be a bust in the NBA, but his size and skill-set make him one of the most versatile players for CAN in the international game. He showed good range in the 2015 FIBA Americas, and if he can regain that shooting form, CAN will be in good shape.

Cory Joseph - Joseph’s playmaking and ability to make big shots in big moments will be key for CAN. He is a heck of a smart PG, and that will certainly come into play as he tries to match up with Ali Muhammed. 

Key Match-up: Semih Erden x Tristan Thompson
- It’ll be the battle of the bigs as former Boston Celtic Erden takes on recently-crowned NBA champion Thompson. Erden and Thompson were actually teammates in Cleveland for one season (2011-2012), so that’ll be an interesting angle to look at. Erden has the more polished offensive arsenal and has a couple of inches on TT, but Thompson looks to be the more tenacious rebounder and defender. Whoever plays better should give his team a huge shot in the arm to win.

All images from FIBA.com.




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