World Watch: Utah Jazz Guys Tuning Up With National Teams

August 8th, 2014 | by Dan Clayton

A hoopless August? No way.

A few Jazz players are keeping busy this summer in preparation for FIBA’s World Cup of Basketball in Spain. And even though that tournament doesn’t start until the very end of August, the exhibition lead-up has some Jazz guys lacing up starting this weekend.

Consider this your guide to when Jazz players suit up for their national teams, representing four different continents.

The whole basketball world is waiting to see more of this guy. (Photo from @ESPNAusNZ.)

The whole basketball world is waiting to see more of this guy. (Photo from @ESPNAusNZ.)


Dante Exum’s Australian Boomers begin a three-week exhibition tour this Friday. They have eight games scheduled in three separate weekend tourneys as part of their tune-up process for the World Cup. Then they begin the Cup with group play in a somewhat forgiving group. Lithuania will be their biggest challenger. Australia came out of the 2013 continental championships ranked 9th in the FIBA bwin World Rankings.

Exhibition (times shown in EDT):

  • Friday 8/8, 9:15 a.m. – Finland… Update: Australia won 100-95, led by Brock Motum’s 17. Exum had 2 pts & either 4 or 5 assists.1
  • Saturday 8/9, 9:15 a.m. – Ukraine… Update: Australia won 75-60, Exum with 14-3-3. Motum w/ 4 pts, 3 reb.
  • Monday 8/11, 12:00 p.m. – Lithuania… Update: Australia lost 78-91, Exum with 5-4-1, Motum with 10 (5/6 FGs).
  • Tuesday 8/12, 12:00 p.m. – Finland… Update: Australia lost 81-87, Exum with 10-1-2, Motum with 12 & 4.
  • Friday 8/15, 12:00 p.m. – Ukraine (in Nice)… Update: Australia won 74-65. Exum with 4-3-3 in 18 reserve minutes, Motum with 11-5.
  • Saturday 8/16, 12:00 p.m. – Phillipines… Update: Australia won 97-75, Exum with 8-5-6 in 21 reserve minutes, Motum w/ 7 & 12.
  • Sunday 8/17, 2:30 p.m. – France… Update: Australia won 76-74, Exum with 2-1-2 (1/8 shooting) in 15 reserve minutes, Motum w/ 6 (no rebounds).
  • Friday 8/22, 2:30 p.m. – Finland… Update: Australia won 80-57. Exum with 0-4-4 in 20:39 off bench, Motum 7 & 4.
  • Sunday 8/24, 1:00 p.m.- France… Update: Australia lost 50-73. Exum with 6-0-1 in 20 bench minutes, Motum 4 & 3.

World Cup Group Play (8/30 through 9/4):

  • Slovenia, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Angola

How much of a role will Exum have? The Patty Mills injury means it will largely be Exum and Matthew Dellavedova manning the point. And since Australia likes to have two handlers on the floor at all times, I imagine that means both these guys will see a ton of minutes. This could be a real coming out party for Exum, who hadn’t played for close to a year until Summer League, but now gets a minimum of 14 games to find his conditioning and comfort zone again.

How much of a role will Brock Motum have? The Jazz aspirant will probably be the 4th or 5th big man in the Boomers’ rotation. I would expect he’ll see a bit more burn during the tune-up matches than in Spain.

Rudy Gobert will be a part of France's second unit. (Image from

Rudy Gobert will be a part of France’s second unit. (Image from


Rudy Gobert’s national team likewise has a full schedule of tune-up games coming up this month. Like Australia, France will spend the next three weekends at tournaments, played throughout France. Then they head into group play in Spain. They come in with a #8 ranking, but got a really tough draw in terms of groups. Spain, Serbia and Brazil are all top 11 teams. This group is rough.

Exhibition (times shown in EDT):

  • Update: As Audiris points out in the comments, France began exhibition with a win over Belgium on July 29. Gobert had 16 & 6 w/ 2 blocks. I hadn’t included anything that happened previous to the original writing of this post. For more on that game, check out Audiris’ comment below.
  • Friday 8/8, 2:30 p.m. – Croatia… Update: France won 81-71, Gobert w/ 7 pts & 5 reb in 18 minutes.
  • Saturday 8/9, 1:00 p.m.  – Greece… Update: France won 81-73, Gobert w/ 13 & 10 in 20 minutes.
  • Sunday 8/10, 2:30 p.m. – Serbia… Update: France lost 69-79, Gobert w/ 6 & 4 in 13 minutes.
  • Friday 8/15, 2:30 p.m. – Philippines… Update: France won 75-68, Gobert w/ 2 & 0 in 6 minutes.
  • Saturday 8/16, 2:30 p.m. – Ukraine… Update: France lost 56-63, Gobert w/ 8 & 5 (4/4 FGs) in 14:30 as starter.
  • Sunday 8/17, 2:30 p.m. – Australia… Update: France lost 74-76, Gobert w/ 0 & 1 in 5:25 off the bench.
  • Saturday 8/23, 2:30 p.m. – Finland… Update France won 74-69, Gobert w/ 2 & 4 in 10 minutes.
  • Sunday 8/24, 1:00 p.m. – Australia… Update: France won 73-50, Gobert w/ 2 & 7 (4 blks) in 15 minutes.

World Cup Group Play (8/30 through 9/4):

  • Brazil, Serbia, Egypt, Spain, Iran

How much of a role will Gobert have? There aren’t a ton of large bodies after that. Gobert will probably play a decent role off the bench, and he may see the court even more during the exhibition matches.


Hayward hopes to lock up a Team USA spot. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Hayward hopes to lock up a Team USA spot. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


Team USA has a shorter slate of friendly games than the other two, and then they’ll head into a group that includes only one other real power, and Turkey is a bit decimated due to injuries. USA still ranks #1 in the bwin rankings, which were last updated after last year’s continentals.

Exhibition (times shown in EDT):

  • Saturday 8/16, 9:00 p.m. – Brazil… Update: USA won 95-78, Hayward DNP-CD.
  • Wednesday 8/20, 7:00 p.m. – Dominican Republic… Update: USA won 105-62, Hayward w/ 4-1-1 and 2 stls in 14 min.
  • Friday 8/22, 7:00 p.m. – Puerto Rico… Update: Hayward with another DNP, after which he was released.
  • Tuesday 8/26 2:00 p.m. – Slovenia… Update: Who cares?!?! Just kidding, see below.

World Cup Group Play (8/30 through 9/4):

  • Finland, Turkey, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, Ukraine

How much of a role will Hayward have? Update: After being on the Team USA roster for three exhibition games (and playing in one of them), Hayward was part of the team’s final cuts ahead of their trip to Spain, being officially released early in the morning on August 23, hours after the exhibition win over Puerto Rico. Per ESPN’s Marc Stein, Hayward was the first of those final four cuts to learn his fate, because he had seen the writing on the wall and had asked about his status. Therefore, Hayward will not make the trip to Spain with the rest of Coach K’s crew.


* * *

Note: I left Enes Kanter off this list because, last we heard, he was not planning to play  with the Turkish National Team. He is, however, still on their official FIBA roster, which needs to be trimmed from 21 to 12 at some point. My guess: we won’t see Kanter in Spain. Update: Kanter no longer appears on the roster page at the TBF website.

Here are some national teams that include players whose draft rights are held by the Jazz. Keep an eye on these teams as well.


Raul Neto and his countrymen will look to provide some small degree of consolation for what happened in that other World Cup. Brazil is currently ranked #10 by FIBA, but they did not get an easy group once FIBA play starts. They’ll have to run a gauntlet of good programs to get into bracket play.

Exhibition (times shown in EDT):

Details of Brazil’s exhibition schedule are spotty, but I do know they start play Friday at the 3 Nations (or Nacion3s) tournament in Argentina and then have the ESPN-televised exhibition in Chicago against Team USA. If you know more details, let me know and I’ll add it to the page.

  • Friday 8/8, 8:30 p.m. – Argentina (3 Naciones tournament)… Update: Brazil lost 80-85, 3 points for Neto.
  • Sunday 8/10, 6:00 p.m. – Mexico (3 Naciones tournament)… Update: Brazil won 68-56, 7 points for Neto.
  • Saturday 8/16, 9:00 p.m. – USA… Update: Brazil lost 78-95. Neto with 6 pts, 4 ast, 3 reb.
  • Thursday 8/21 – Lithuania… Update: Brazil lost 61-64, Neto with 2 pts and 2 ast.
  • Friday 8/22 – Slovenia… Update: Brazil won 88-84, Neto with 4 pts and 2 ast.
  • Saturday 8/23 – Iran… Update: Brazil won 92-52, Neto with 10 pts and 3 ast.
  • Tuesday 8/26 – Mexico (in Granada)

World Cup Group Play (8/30 through 9/4):

  • France, Iran, Spain, Serbia, Egypt

How much of a role will Neto have? Neto has moved into the starting lineup for Brazil. At the South American Championships that concluded last week, Neto averaged more than 25 minutes per contest, best on the squad. I imagine he’ll continue to have a big role for Brazil across the Atlantic.



You may have forgotten about Ante Tomic, but as long as the Jazz hold his rights, I’ll be keeping track of the ACB star. Croatia has slipped to #16 in the FIBA world rankings, but has a solid squad with a lot of NBA talent. Their group includes two of the top five teams, Argentine (3) and Greece (5).

Exhibition (times shown in EDT):

  • Friday 8/8, 2:30 p.m. – France… Update: Croatia lost 71-81, Tomic with 6 & 3 in 21 minutes as starter.
  • Saturday 8/9 – Serbia… Update: Croatia lost 83-84 (OT). Tomic did not play.
  • Sunday 8/10 – Greece… Update: Croatia won, 68-66. Tomic with 4 points.
  • Wednesday 8/20 – Spain… Update: Croatia lost, 64-82. Tomic with 7 points.
  • (Unclear whether there are additional exhibition games scheduled — if you know of any, let me know.)

World Cup Group Play (8/30 through 9/4):

  • Philippines, Argentina, Senegal, Greece, Puerto Rico

How much of a role will Tomic have? Tomic starts and plays big minutes for Croatia. Croatia hasn’t made final cuts and is still traveling with 15 players, but Tomic is a lock to play and a near lock to start.


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, FanRag and BBALLBreakdown.
Dan Clayton


  1. Aged fan says:

    Thanks for this update!

    One (possible) correction: I don’t think Neto’s role on the team (or even the question of whether he will make the team) has been decided yet.

    As I understand it, and I may be wrong here, Brazil had originally chosen ten players (basically all veterans) as locks for their team. At the South American Championships last week, none of those ten played. The players who played (Neto included) were in effect auditioning for the final two spots on the team.

    Then after the championships, instead of adding the final two players to the team, Brazil added four players, including Neto, to go into these exhibitions. So cuts still must be made by Brazil. And since he’s not one of the original ten chosen, Neto is unlikely to play a key role for the team, even if he ends up making it.

    • Dan Clayton says:

      Fair enough, Aged. Although Neto was starting for Brazil during the SA tournament at the end of July, and even though he’s been back to the bench in their first two friendliest, he’s clearly still part of their rotation.

      I’d be shocked if he doesn’t make the final roster, although you’re probably right that it’s premature to predict a major role for him in Spain.

  2. Audiris says:

    France actually kicked off their prep with a victory against Belgium on 29 July. Against an undersized Belgian frontcourt, Rudy Gobert had a field day with 16 pts (5/5, 6/7 FT), 6 rbs and 2 blks.

    Gobert has been the revelation of this year’s French squad. He is taking advantage of the absence of Ajinca (expecting a baby), Petro (injured back) and Noah (doesn’t give a shit) and has become something of a fan favourite. On offence, he is very active, setting picks all the time on top of the arc. With one exception (a nifty turn around baby hook against Belgium) all of his made shots are either of off offensive rebounds, as the roll man, or from passes that free him up under the basket. And he is making his free throws (14 of 18 from the line)

    On two occasions he got the ball at the freethrow line and took a dribble to the basket for a layup/dunk. Although he missed both times, it was good to see that he is not afraid to go for it and he showed some good coordination. The problem was that, once airborn, he does not yet posses the core strength to finish against contact.

    On defence Rudy has done a great job going up for rebounds and blocking shots. Some of the smaller but big interiors (Iannis Boursis) gave him trouble with their physicality, but he kept fighting.

    So far Rudy has come off the bench, but he has clearly outplayed the starter, Indiana Pacers Ian Mihanmi. There is some talk that he might move into the starting lineup soon. Once Boris Diaw returns, he will man the 4 spot, with Florent Petrus (a 6-6 defensive dynamo who fought tooth and nail against Marc Gasol in the 2013 Eurobasket semifinal, despite giving at least half a foot and 50 pounds) as his substitute. So Joffrey Lauvergne (the leading rebounder in Euroleague and a steal in the 2013 2nd round by the Nuggets, whom they pissed off massively by making him an insultingly low offer for next season) will play more at the five, despite being slightly undersized at 6’10. Nevertheless, with the weak performance of Mihanmi (best illustrated by back to back airballs from the freethrow line), Rudy Gobert should get a good 10-15 minutes once the World Cup starts.

    Here is the Youtube link of a alley-oop from Nicolas Batum:


    And here a great block against Greece:

    All of France’s games can be found on streaming sites by the way.

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