Four Utah Jazz players are doing their part to help the world get through the dog days of the NBA offseason.
Rudy Gobert, Boris Diaw, Raul Neto and Joe Ingles will represent their respective countries in next month’s Summer Olympics in Brazil. Just like we have for the past two years, we’ve put all the information in one place regarding their preparation matches ahead of Rio de Janeiro, and then of course in the Games themselves.
We’ll be updating this throughout July and August, so bookmark this and check back often to see the latest on how your guys are performing around the world.
Jazz player watch
Australia has a growing delegation in the NBA, and six of those players will lace up the sneakers in Rio, including the Jazz’s Joe Ingles. Ingles started in the Boomers’ first exhibition match, so plan on seeing the guy play leading up to Rio and then once the Games start.
Fellow Aussie Dante Exum officially ruled himself out for the Olympics last month, citing his ongoing rehab from an injury he suffered last summer in Australia’s exhibition game against Slovenia.
All told, Ingles averaged 13.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in four friendlies, while also siring 2.0 humans during the same stretch.
In eight Olympic games, Ingles averaged 7.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Jazz player watch
Diaw started and averaged eight points per game as France went 4-0 in Manila to qualify for the Olympics. Rudy skipped the OQT while rehabbing from a late season injury, and remained noncommittal on whether he’d join Les Bleus should they earn a trip to Brazil… until recently.
C’est avec plaisir que j’annonce que je serai présent à Rio avec mes frères pour défendre les couleurs de la France! #RoadToRio 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) July 11, 2016
So the newly united Jazz mates will team up for la Fédération once again. My guess is that Diaw retains his starter spot while Denver center Joffrey Lauvergne moves to the bench for Gobert.
France’s hoops federation finally update its website with the schedule for tuneup matches, all of which will be played in Argentina just before the Games start. They usually post games to the FFBB DailyMotion channel.
Gobert averaged 11.0 and Diaw averaged 5.0. (Full stats weren’t available online for two of France’s two friendlies.)
After losing to Spain, France’s Oly run is over. Gobert averaged 6.7 points and 7.2 rebounds, Diaw averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 assists.
Brazil got its Olympic spot automatically as the host country. They were assigned to Group B for the Games, which they’ll share with heavyweights like Spain, Argentina and Lithuania.
Jazz player watch
Raul Neto skipped last year’s FIBA Americas tournament, which was largely just practice run anyway since Brazil was guaranteed an Oly spot as the host country. It was a smart move for Neto, who was preparing to begin his NBA career, and wound up starting for much of the season.
But he has decided to join his compatriots for what he calls a “unique moment” to take part in the Olympics in his home country. He figures to play a decent role for Brazil, too. A greener Neto played 18 minutes per game for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, both at point and playing off the ball. Brazil has a glut of playmakers on the roster, though, including Marcelo Huertas (Lakers), Leandro Barbosa (recent Phoenix signee) and some combo guards currently playing in Spanish and Brazilian leagues.
Exhibition games (Times TBD)1
Neto’s averaged 8.2 points off the bench in six friendlies.
At 2-3 in group play, Brazil did not qualify for the quarterfinals. Neto averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 assists in 17.9 minutes per game in Rio.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any Utah guys to keep an eye on as the Americans get ready for the Games. Rodney Hood was invited to be a part of the Select Team that trains with the USA Basketball Select Team. He’s one of 25 who will train with the national team when they convene in Las Vegas, July 18-21.
No Lyles, No Pleiss
With Trey Lyles back in Utah for Summer League, Canada failed to get by the French for the lone Oly berth up for grabs at the Philippines installment of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. So Lyles and the rest of the Canucks won’t be in Brazil.
Tibor Pleiss’ German squad didn’t even qualify for the qualifiers. With a 1-4 showing in group play at last year’s EuroBasket, the Germans didn’t advance to bracket play or have the chance to earn a spot in Rio.
The same is true for Joel Bolomboy’s Ukraine, although it’s not clear if the Jazz’s second-rounder would have been involved anyway. He has yet to appear for the Ukrainians in international competition, although WSU’s website reported that he tried out for the senior team in 2014.
I have more of less stopped tracking Jazz draftee Ante Tomic ever since he signed a new multi-year deal with Barcelona. The skilled big guy’s contract should keep him in Spain through the summer of 2018, at which point he’ll be 31, and the history of international rookies jumping to the NBA in their 30s just isn’t all that encouraging.
Still, it’s of nominal interest that his Croatian team just survived a qualifier to join Group B at the Games. Tomic sat out the qualifying tourney in Italy, but may rejoin his squad now that they are in. Update: turns out he didn’t. No Tomic at the Rio Olympics.