They are 35 NBA players to participate in the EuroBasket, which takes place from September 1 to 18. Among them, three of the four best basketball players of the last season. Focus on five stars of the American league who should shine on the European courts in the next two weeks.
If Joel Embiid, the star of the Philadelphia Sixers, has not yet joined the France team after his naturalization, several of the best players in the NBA, American basketball league are present on the German, Italian, Georgians and Czechs, in order to compete in the EuroBasket, which starts this Thursday 1er September, for two weeks of competition, until September 18.
1. Nikola Jokic
Double MVP (Most Valuable Player, best player of the season) in title, the pivot of the Denver Nuggets will undoubtedly speak about his class, his vision of the game and his exceptional technical qualities on the grounds of Europe. Having become one of the most effective players in the NBA, he seems to be at the top of his game. Silver medalist with Serbia at the 2016 Olympic Games, at the end of his first year across the Atlantic, the 27-year-old is approaching the tournament this time in an undeniable leadership role. Without the back of the Atlanta Hawks Bogdan Bogdanovic, convalescing after knee surgery and the leader Milos Teodosic, dismissed by the coach, the Serbian team must get rid of Poland, Finland or Israel in the first round. Absent from the Tokyo Olympics, Jokic wants to do better than at the 2019 World Cup where he only won fifth place.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Another double MVP, the Greek interior hopes to strike a first big blow on the international scene. Eleventh of a 2019 World Cup, in a slower and tighter FIBA game where he had not managed to be as dominant as he has been with the Milwaukee Bucks for more than five years now, the champion NBA 2021 looks set to deliver some very high-level performances outside of the United States. The 26-year-old has just scored 40 points against Nikola Jokic’s Serbia then 26 points against Belgium in the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. Supported by his brother Thanasis, the « Greek Freak » will notably face Ukraine, the Italy and Croatia in the group stage.
3. Luka Doncic
The Slovenian prodigy is probably revengeful. Beaten by France at the very end of the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics last summer, his selection then lost bronze against Australia. Conference finalist with the Dallas Mavericks against the future champions of Golden State this season, Luka Doncic will find France in a strong group B which also includes Lithuania and Bosnia. At only 23 years old, the versatile fullback has already largely proven that he can perform in FIBA: winner of the last Euro, he was also elected MVP of the Euroleague won in 2018 with Real Madrid. The native of Ljubljana can rely on a former All-Star NBA at his side in the person of Goran Dragic.
4. Rudy Gobert
Four players selected by Vincent Collet for this Euro play in the NBA: Evan Fournier, Timothée Luwawu-Cabarrot, Théo Maledon and Rudy Gobert. The pivot from Saint-Quentin, recently transferred from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves, will be one of the keystones of the French system. The triple defender of the year will be keen to repeat some of the performances achieved on the international scene, such as in the victory over the United States at the 2019 World Cup (21 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks), to help the tricolor training to hold its rank: silver medalists in Tokyo, the Blues are expected at the turn.
Read also: NBA. Jokic double MVP, have the Europeans taken power at the expense of the Americans?
5. Domantas Sabonis
A legend of European basketball, his father Arvydas won Euro 1985 with the USSR then finished second in 1995 with Lithuania. Already vice-champion of Europe on his debut in the national team, in 2015, Domantas Sabonis now hopes to be titled in turn. The company promises to be difficult to enter Group B. The Lithuanian racket nevertheless has something to fear since the interior double All-Star of Sacramento evolves alongside the pivot of the New Orleans Pelicans, Jonas Valanciunas.
— FIBA (@FIBA) August 30, 2022
In other selections, several players well known to NBA fans should also shine. Jusuf Nurkic, the pivot of the Portland Trail Blazers has returned to a very good level after a serious injury, the former teammate of Rudy Gobert in Utah, Bojan Bogdanovic, comes out of a season with more than 18 points on average and Denis Schröder is one of the spearheads of a German selection which has a lot to do in Group B. On the Finnish side, Lauri Markannen has just concluded a very good year with Cleveland and his partner Cedi Osman, NBA 2018 finalist with Lebron James, wants defend the chances of an attractive Turkish selection on paper.