On Saturday, the first FIBA World Cup begins with 12 games, highlighted by the United States and Finland at 3:30 PM Eastern, and Iran and Spain at 4PM Eastern. While many people will have their eyes locked on those two games, some will be watching elsewhere. While the Magic don’t have anyone on the US roster, swingman Evan Fournier is lacing them up for the French National Team.
Through the team’s warmups, Fournier has seen his playing time and production on the court fluctuate. With Tony Parker choosing not to play, it seemed like Fournier could see a bump in minutes. However, with the likes of Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw, along with point guards Thomas Heurtel and Antonie Diot, Fournier hasn’t seen the minutes increase that one could’ve expected.
While his playing time has been inconsistent, Fournier could still make an impact for the French over the next few weeks. He’s a solid three-point shooter, and can help handle the ball some to let players, like Batum, play more off the ball. Fournier overall still lacks some polish in his offensive game, but at just 21 years of age, has a lot of time and room to grow.
This is a great opportunity for one of the Magic’s newest members. He’s shown some flashes the last two seasons with the Denver Nuggets, but overall hasn’t put up the numbers that he could. Getting more playing time and honing his craft is something that could be invaluable come the season.
He may be the only Magic man getting ready to lace them up in Spain, but he wasn’t the only to represent his country this offseason. Andrew Nicholson was part of Canada’s team which played 11 games earlier this month. Nicholson was up and down for much of the time, but ended up putting together a string of good games at the end of their trip. It could be big for Nicholson, who struggled much of last season, to get some good confidence going heading into the season.
France will play at least five games in the group stage, facing the likes of Spain, Brazil, Egypt, Iran and Serbia. If they finish in the top four in their group, they’ll move on the the second round next weekend. You can watch all the World Cup games on ESPN3.Com.