Several Utah Jazz players are in the 2016 Rio Olympics, so we have to check in on them and their team’s paths to the medal round (if possible). Also, some random Jazz news . . . but honestly, John Stockton and some great 1992 Dream Team highlights. What else do you want? What else do you need?
The 2016 Rio Olympics are in full swing. The games have started, we all saw that glistening Tongan martial artist, and as of this writing 133 medal have been given out already. According to Wiki (and sorted by medal count, not quality), your Top 10 goes as: the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Italy, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Great Britain, Hungary, and France. Asia and Europe are in the lead with 4.5 of the Top 10 each (I counted .5 for Russia for both continents). It’s not all about wonderful things like beach volleyball and dressage (which I think is like the first dance between a rider and their horse?) — we do know that it is ALL about basketball though.
So far in the Men’s competition we’ve seen some non-surprises (like the United States beating China and Venezuela by a combined +101 points), some “it could happen”s (like Spain losing by two points to Croatia), and some abject “I don’t believe it!”s (like Australia beating France and Serbia).
The Boomers are looking to medal here, which I felt like it was unlikely at the onset. They look like they are in the driver’s seat (of all non-USA teams) in Group A — with games against China (0-2) and Venezuela (0-2) left that should be wins, and a game they can rest during against the USA. Australia could go 4-1 and get a favorable seed in the knock-out stage matching up against the third best team in Group B.
The Olympics have a great legal team, so I can’t really show much — but there’s still this video of Joe Ingles, I guess.
On the flip-side to Australia’s rise seems to be France’s malaise. They are 1-1 with games remaining against the USA, Serbia, and Venezuela. At best 3-2 is what the French team can finish with in the group stage. Rudy Gobert had 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks in their first game; and followed that up with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks against China. France’s team captain Boris Diaw had a 9 / 5 / 2 / 2 / 2 game against Australia; and added 7 / 4 / 5 / 0 / 3 against China.
Rudy isn’t getting a lot of shots, but he is getting to the free throw line, where he is 7/12 right now. It’s not the best conversion rate for free throws, but it’s at least not Shaq-like. The Gobzilla isn’t dominating and I think part of that relates to not playing with France in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament — and the team is re-integrating Xs and Os they they were not physically implementing in his absense. (Specifically on defense how they are forcing to sideline and not into the middle, h/t to MyLo for that.)
Boris does a little of everything and his versatility is something to behold. I do not expect him to average 2.5 blocks a game going forward though. He is making smart decisions on both sides of the ball right now. Moving forward I don’t know if that means he’s going to be playing 20+ mpg for Quin Snyder and the Utah Jazz. I do think that Trey Lyles has more up-side (seeing how the Maple Mamba is 20, and Boris is not). But experience matters when you are in “win now” mode.
France is in “win now” mode too. We’ll see if they re-focus for tournament play.
What about our home team, Brazil?
They are 0-1 after dropping their first game to Lithuania, but you have to figure that the home team and their legion of NBA Players aren’t in this just to host. They want to advance as well! A 6 point loss to a really strong team isn’t anything to be upset about. And you figure that a team with Leandro Barbosa, Nene, Marcelo Huertas, Raul Neto, and company would get you some wins.
Raulzinho put up 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and made a three in Game 1. We look forward to seeing him continue to put his game on display. And honestly, I think he’s better long-term for the Jazz than Shelvin Mack. But I admit to being biased about this.
Just in-case you forgot -- everyone continues to hype up the Jazz. Check it out:
If you were around basketball fandom back in 1992 you know the power of the Dream Team. If not for them we wouldn’t have had some great players coming from other countries today. Basketball’s global popularity owes much to those 12 American men who stepped up and put on a show each time they stepped on the court.
I remember watching these games as a teen, and now I realize that I’m an old fart.
One of these guys, John Stockton (you may not have heard of him) got a chance to talk about the team with Dan Patrick.
Check it out!