Big names in the NBA – including Tony Parker and Andrew Wiggins – may suit up for their native countries in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament, which will award a spot in the Rio Olympics, this July.
With the draw for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament already over, basketball fans in the Philippines will get to witness high-caliber basketball from top basketball nations Senegal, Turkey, New Zealand, France, and Canada in what shapes up to be the ‘group of death’ in the competition.
Basing from the lineups of the said nations during their previous stints in their respective continental championships, Filipino aficionados will get their money’s worth in watching all five days of basketball action at the Mall of Asia Arena this July.
France – ranked fifth in the world and finished third in Eurobasket – have several NBA veterans in their pool including Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier, Denver Nuggets forward Joffrey Lauvergne, Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, and San Antonio Spurs teammates Boris Diaw and Tony Parker.
This is on top of their reserve players Kevin Seraphin (New York Knicks), Alexis Ajinca (New Orleans Pelicans), and Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls). Two other players – Rodrigue Beaubois and Mickael Gelabale – also have previous NBA experiences.
Canada – ranked 26th in the world and third in the FIBA Americas Championship – will have eight players in current NBA rosters: Kelly Olynyk (Boston Celtics), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), Robert Sacre (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Bennett and Cory Joseph (Toronto Raptors), and Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves).
Additionally, Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Joel Anthony (Detroit Pistons), and Tyler Ennis (Milwaukee Bucks) are also eligible to play for Canada.
Other notable names include Ersan Ilyasova (Detroit Pistons), Furkan Aldemir (Philadelphia 76ers), Enes Kanter (Oklahoma City Thunder), and Omer Asik (New Orleans Pelicans) of Turkey; and Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves) of Senegal.