at The Painted Area
a EuroBasket Group B preview. Games begin on Wednesday.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum will start for France, which is in this group. Here are a few snips from Aych's preview.
This could be one of the better French rosters assembled in awhile thanks to Tony Parker returning and the inclusion of Joakim Noah. This year's team looks better on paper than the '09 team that finished 5th--and might have finished higher if they did not have to play Spain in the quarters, France's only loss of Euro '09.
Les Bleus have the distinct advantage of being one of the most athletic teams in Europe. France uses this fact effectively to create havoc defensively. Boris Diaw, Nic Batum, Mickael Gelabale and Florent Pietrus are all good defenders who can guard multiple positions, and switch assignments. They have the ability to create turnovers, which should come in handy to create transition offensive opportunities.
Nic Batum will start at SF, but might also see minutes at the 2-spot. France will also have Batum handle the ball a little--run him in p/n/r or isos. The explosive young Blazer loves driving the baseline. Batum gives France another quality defender who can guard four positions. Batum is coming off a down shooting year--34% in NBA, 32% at '10 Worlds--after nailing 40% of his threes in '09-10.
If you haven't already, bookmark The Painted Area. It will be an especially valuable resource over the next month or so. Here's their top-down EuroBasket overview
if you're interested.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter