Ed note: Fronting, and added some notes on the schedule and other national teams - Albert
Summer league is over. Free Agency is mostly over. Football season isn't here yet and you jonesing for some basketball?
I give you .... The Polish Hammer.. I mean Machine.. who will headline the Polish national team as they try to gain an Olympic berth in FIBA EuroBasket 2015 among 24 other national teams in Europe.
Other NBA players of interest at EuroBasket 2015 - Dirk, Paul Gasol, Tony Parker, Greek Freak,and yes,you can even catch Jan Vesely and Tomás Satoransky (Czech Republic).
At some point down the road Ves and Thomas could go against Gortat.
Games start: Saturday, September 5
Team Poland's Schedule
EuroBasket's games will be played in France, Croatia, Germany, and Latvia. Poland is in Group A, where games will be played in Montpelier, France. The Polish team is currently ranked 40th by FIBA and will play in a group that includes Bosnia (58th), Russia (6th), France (5th), Israel (38th), and Finland (35th). Here is the complete schedule:
|Saturday, September 5||Bosnia||9 a.m.||LiveBasketball.TV/ESPN3 (subscription required)|
|Sunday, September 6||Russia||9 a.m.||LiveBasketball.TV/ESPN3 (subscription required)|
|Monday, September 7||France||5 p.m.||LiveBasketball.TV/ESPN3 (subscription required)|
|Wednesday, September 9||Israel||11:30 a.m.||LiveBasketball.TV/ESPN3 (subscription required)|
|Thursday, September 10||Finland||9 a.m.||LiveBasketball.TV/ESPN3 (subscription required)|
What's at stake in EuroBasket?
The bottom line is that the top two teams -- or the teams in the championship game -- will get an automatic berth to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Based on FIBA rankings alone, Team Poland is a clear underdog to France and Russia, who have stronger teams all around, but Gortat should be able to lead them into the knockout stage. Beyond that, it will be an uphill climb, but you never know.
Who are the other teams in FIBA EuroBasket?
Here are the teams in Groups B-D:
Group B - games played in Berlin, Germany
Group B is really stacked as there are three national teams ranked in the Top 10. Iceland is going to have a rough week to say the least....
Group C - games played in Zagreb, Croatia
|Netherlands (a/k/a Holland)||T-86|
This is another pretty stacked group where there are three of the Top 15 teams in the world. The Dutch and the Macedonians are likely headed for an early exit though you never know what's going to actually happen on gameday.
Last week, the Dutch gave Team Turkey a BIG scare when they lost 95-94 in double overtime in the Acropolis Tournament in Greece, but it's gonna be hard for them to beat Georgia on Saturday. The Georgians will have Mavericks big man Zaza Pachulia playing for them by the way.
Group D - games played in Riga, Latvia
The obvious team we're going to keep an eye on is the Czech team, where Tomas Satoransky (and former Wizard Jan Vesely) play. Lithuania is the only team that is the clear favorite to advance to the knockout stage. Pretty much every other spot is up for grabs based on looking solely at rankings.
The Czechs' first game will be this Saturday, September 5 against Team Estonia.