Jazz in Rio: Tracking Utah Players’ Olympic Summers

July 15th, 2016 | by Dan Clayton

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.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!

smh.com.au/Jeffrey Chan

smh.com.au/Jeffrey Chan

Australia followed a relatively easy path to qualification, sweeping a home-and-home set with New Zealand in last year’s two-game FIBA Oceania qualifier. They have a really tough group assignment, though: USA and France are among the three best teams at this thing, and you can’t sleep on basketball-loving Serbia.

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.

Exhibition games

  • 7/12: Pac-12 All-Stars. W 92-83. Ingles had 7 points (3/5), 5 rebounds, 4 assists in 27 minutes.
  • 7/14 vs. Pac-12 All-Stars. W 93-63. Ingles had 8 points (2/4), 2 rebounds and 11 assists in 27 minutes.
  • 7/25: friendly vs. Lithuania – Cancelled due to a leaky roof. Yes, for real.
  • 7/26 vs. Argentina: W 84-83, Joe Ingles DNP (not with team due to the birth of his twin children)
  • 7/28 vs. Brazil: L 67-96, Joe Ingles DNP again
  • 7/30 vs. Lithuania: L 68-81, Ingles 16 pts, 4 reb & 2 stl
  • 8/1 vs. China: W 82-53, Ingles 21 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast.

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.

Olympics

  • 8/6 14:15 France: W 87-66, Ingles 4/2/6
  • 8/8 14:15 Serbia: W 95-80, Ingles 10/3/5
  • 8/10 19:00 USA: L 88-98, Ingles 7/3/1
  • 8/12 14:15 China: W 93-68, Ingles 4/2/4
  • 8/14 19:00 Venezuela: W 81-56, Ingles 11/1/3
  • Quarterfinal 8/17 vs. Lithuania, W 90-64, Ingles 10/2/5
  • Semifinal 8/19 vs. Serbia, L 61-87, Ingles 12/7/1
  • Bronze Medal Game vs. Spain, L 88-89, Ingles 4/5/1

In eight Olympic games, Ingles averaged 7.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Allez les Bleus

(Martin Richard/L'Equipe)

(Martin Richard/L’Equipe)

A tough draw at EuroBasket 2015 pitted France against Spain in the knockout round semifinals last summer, and France’s loss there cost them an automatic Oly berth. France had to go to the Philippines to lay claim to a spot, and they’ll join Team USA in Group A in Rio.

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.

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.

Exhibition games

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.

  • 7/29, L 88-105 vs. Serbia. Gobert with 16 pts (6/6). & 5 reb., Diaw had 7 pts. (3/4) and 7 ast.
  • 7/30, L 70-76 vs. Croatia. Gobert with 6 pts., Diaw with 3.
  • 8/1, L 79-86 vs. Argentina. Gobert 11 pts, Diaw 5.

Gobert averaged 11.0 and Diaw averaged 5.0. (Full stats weren’t available online for two of France’s two friendlies.)

Olympics

  • 8/6 14:15 Australia: L 66-87, Gobert 5/7/0, Diaw 9/5/2
  • 8/8 22:30 China: W 88-60, Gobert 10/8/0 (with 5 blk), Diaw 7/4/5 (3 blk)
  • 8/10 14:15 Serbia: W 76-75, Gobert 3/6/1, Diaw 11/9/9
  • 8/12 22:30 Venezuela: W 96-56, Gobert 3/5/0, Diaw 10/4/0
  • 8/14 14:15 USA: L 97-100, Gobert 6/5/0, Diaw 5/1/7
  • Quarterfinal 8/17 vs. Spain, L 67-92, Gobert 7/12/0, Diaw 8/2/5

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.

Força Brasil

neto bra

ESPN / Getty Images

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

  • 7/23: 90-45 W over Romania, Neto 1 pt, 7 ast, 5 reb
  • 7/25, 96-50 W over Romania, Neto 10 pts, 3 ast, 6 reb
  • 7/28: 96-67 W over Australia, Neto 17 pts, 3 ast, 1 reb
  • 7/30 “Super BRA Challenge,” 91- 52 W vs. China. Neto 2 pts, 6 ast, 3 reb
  • 7/31 “Super BRA Challenge” 64-62 W vs. Lithuania. Neto 11 pts, 2 ast, 3 reb
  • 8/2: 83-69 W over China, Neto 8 pts, 3 ast.

Neto’s averaged 8.2 points off the bench in six friendlies. 

Olympics

  • 8/7 14:15 Lithuania: L 76-82, Neto 14/3/2
  • 8/9 14:15 Spain: W 66-65, Neto 3/1/2
  • 8/11 Croatia: L 76-80, Neto scoreless with 0 ast/reb in 13 minutes
  • 8/13 Argentina: L 107-111, Neto 3/1/4
  • 8/15 Nigeria: W 86-69, Neto 4/2/5

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.

Other Jazz players’ national teams

Photo from gordonhayward20.com

Photo from gordonhayward20.com

Team USA

With baby number two on the way just having destorked, Jazz star Gordon Hayward decided to pass on the invite to join Team USA 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.

Ante Who?

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.

 

 

Dan Clayton

Dan Clayton

Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City, but contributes regularly to Salt City Hoops and BBALLBreakdown.
Dan Clayton

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