The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier officially began FIBA World Cup action today. It’s the first time the 21-year-old is participating in an international tournament with the French senior national team. The first of 5 Group A games began Saturday in Granada, Spain against a challenging Brazil squad. The defending EuroBasket champions lost against the Brazilians 65-63 with the help of some horrendous French coaching by Vincent Collet down the stretch. Again, just like in the exhibitions, Fournier was on the bench when France needed a capable 3-point shooter late. Baffling. Evan finished with no points on 0-for-1 shooting from the field in 8 bench minutes.
France jumped out to a 12-3 start thanks to some timely 3-pointers by Nicolas Batum and Thomas Heurtel to set the tone. Brazil did not appear alert. It was strange to see both Charles Kahudi and Edwin Jackson get substituted into the contest before Evan did, something that Coach Collet had done very rarely in exhibition play. Those questionable substitutions played a role in Brazil coming back and making it a tight affair late in the first half.
Fournier didn’t check in until the 3:06 mark of the second period as he played at SG with Batum sliding over to SF. Evan only got one look, a relatively open 3-pointer from the left side that didn’t drop in. Brazil led 28-26 at the break. France shot 43% from the field and only managed 2-for-9 shooting from deep. The most notable thing about Evan’s three minutes was his solid defense. Oh, and his hair bun.
— Adam Papageorgiou (@adamosgp) August 30, 2014
The French were in their sleeved jerseys that are a hint at what the NBA will be seeing in a few years. Brazil was up by 6 when Fournier checked into the game at the 4-minute mark of the third period. Evan barely touched the ball but defended Leandro Barbosa very well. France trailed 46-41 entering the fourth period. In the final 10-minute session, Fournier remained on the court for the first minute before sitting for the rest of the contest. Boris Diaw finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while Batum was the only other Frenchman in double digits with 13 points. Brazil was led by Marcelinho Huertas who tallied 16 points and 5 assists, while Anderson Varejao notched 8 points and 9 rebounds.
France plays a difficult Serbia side on Sunday to continue Group A play. Tip-off is slated for 9:30 a.m. EST and it’ll be shown on NBA TV as well as ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN mobile app. A second consecutive loss for France would make progressing to the Round of 16 all the more tougher.
The ‘MBO’ staff is back to follow up part 1 of our FIBA World Cup roundtable discussion to chat more about this tournament. We examine Maurice Harkless not playing for Puerto Rico, and could Team USA actually lose? Contributing again are Adam Papageorgiou, Brian Serra, Andrew Melnick, and Spenser Strode.
Maurice Harkless changed his mind and is not playing for Puerto Rico. Was that a mistake, and will Maurice regret it?
Adam Papageorgiou: I’ll tell you now that Maurice is still getting hate tweets from a lot of angry Puerto Ricans. If you saw the Team USA exhibition match against P.R. in New York City you would have realized that adding Harkless at small forward (or even as a stretch PF) would put P.R. in the discussion for a podium spot. He’s 21 years old and hopefully has not burned his bridges with the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation for future tourneys.
I know his agent said that Maurice wanted to focus solely on himself and prepare for a very important Magic season, but there’s only so much you can do on your own. You can’t beat international competition where you can learn new things from new coaches and teammates. You’re going up against the best in the world and you can make a name for yourself with solid 2-way play. This would have been the most important event Harkless has participated on a competitive level so far in his career. He’ll regret passing on this opportunity quickly if he gets off to a sluggish start to the Magic season.
Brian Serra: If Harkless had stronger personal ties to Puerto Rico, I may feel differently/stronger about this – but I don’t. He would have spent a month training with inferior competition to play five games and go home. That’s a significant amount of the offseason for a 21-year old with no real connection to the team. Stay home, shoot 1,000 corner 3-pointers a day and get stronger.
Andrew Melnick: Honestly, Harkless really doesn’t need to play for Puerto Rico. Although it’d be nice to see him in the event, he may be better served remaining in the states and refining his NBA game, which is what Harkless has vowed to do. With the way Harkless shot from the outside during the second half of the season and his talent and length of defense, he may not be far from becoming a very solid player.
Spenser Strode: There’s a difference between training with and being around hungry, young, emerging superstars…and going to international camp with an over-the-hill Carlos Arroyo and questionable locker-room guy in J.J. Barea. Harkless will get more benefit from working with his own Magic teammates (and lifting, shooting, and watching tape of ‘hard-cutting Matt Barnes’) and working towards a more aggressive, confident approach for the upcoming season.
Below is the rest of the Part 2 World Cup discussion.
Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo has continuously stayed busy all offseason in preparation for the ’14-’15 campaign. We’ve already known about Victor’s return to Hoosier Land for an ‘On The Road’ tour, as well as his charity bowling and basketball game in D.C. where Victor grew up and played high school ball. Now there’s video proof of what occurred on these trips.
First we see Indiana Hoosiers Head Coach Tom Crean introduce former players Vic and Cody Zeller. It’s a very solid 14-minute clip that displays Crean’s speaking abilities and passion for his employer and his athletes. ‘Dipo and Zeller also talk a lot with Victor looking all the more comfortable in front of a microphone. It’s mentioned that Victor has gone back to the university five times just this summer. More importantly, Coach Crean and Victor confirm that the 22-year-old is the face and leader of the Magic.
Focusing on the charity weekend, Victor gets interviewed during the bowling session. He mentions how valuable Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn has been to him so far in his career. There’s also some footage of Oladipo playing in the basketball scrimmage.
Believe it or not, we are only 1 month away from NBA training camps beginning. Thankfully, the FIBA World Cup will occupy half of that time beginning August 30th. We already have released the thorough France preview that focuses on Orlando Magic summer acquisition Evan Fournier. The ‘MBO’ staff also got together for a roundtable discussion to chat more about this tournament. It was so good we broke it down into two parts. Contributing are Adam Papageorgiou, Brian Serra, Andrew Melnick, and Spenser Strode.
What are your statistical predictions for Evan Fournier and how far does France advance?
Adam Papageorgiou: If the friendlies mean anything – which often times they don’t since coaching staffs are hiding everything they really plan to do – then Fournier isn’t going to see much crunch time with guys like Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Mickael Gelabale, Florent Pietrus, and Antoine Diot taking up wing minutes. I’ll say Fournier averages 15 minutes and 6 points per game. Evan is going to have to prove his 3-point supremacy and force Coach Vincent Collet to give the 21-year-old more court time. Fournier along with Rudy Gobert are the youngest players on the squad.
As for the French team, they should finish second or third in Group A which means they’ll meet the third or second seed coming out of Group B in the Round of 16. That could be any of Greece, Puerto Rico, Argentina, or Croatia. I’ll say France crashes out in the Quarterfinal match. No Tony Parker and Joakim Noah is going to be too much to overcome and this team has size problems.
Brian Serra: If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I shouldn’t over-hype my expectations for NBA players in international competition. I’ve been burned too many times before and I’m tired of getting caught with the “WHY ISN’T XXXXX PLAYING?!” spewing from my brain. He was a bottom of the roster addition to the team, so that’s where his expectations should be. Any good run he can get, will be welcomed back here stateside. With France likely to finish 3rd or 4th in their group, I foresee an early knockout for the undersized French.
Andrew Melnick: Although I believe the acquisition of Fournier by the Magic was underrated, I don’t see him getting enough time to put up big numbers. Even without Tony Parker, the team is full of talented veterans so it’s tough to see Fournier playing any more than 17-18 minutes a game, meaning he’ll probably put up 5-7 points per game. As for the team, France’s group features Brazil, Serbia and Spain, so it is extremely tough. I’ll say France finishes second or third in their group and bows out in the round of 16.
Spenser Strode: Look, he ain’t that great. The France team ain’t that great. I would be surprised if Fournier tallies more than 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists per tournament game. Based on the draw, I think France advances from Group A as the 3rd seed. I see France getting to the final 8, in a squeaker, and then bowing out.
Below is the rest of the Part 1 World Cup discussion.
Orlando Magic fans craving basketball have been granted a gift. For the next 2 weeks they can watch their own Evan Fournier participate for France in the FIBA World Cup. The tournament – which is more important than the Olympics – has 24 countries competing from August 30th through September 14th in Spain. The last World Cup – then called the World Championships – occurred in Turkey in 2010 and was won by the U.S. with Kevin Durant taking home the MVP honor. Because Team USA is the main draw again this year, we Americans are very fortunate that all 63 FIBA World Cup matches will be shown online at ESPN3.com with a large portion of the contests – including all Team USA games – being televised on ESPN, ESPN 2, and NBA TV. So get your DVRs ready if you can’t watch live during the late morning or afternoon.
France isn’t the same squad that won EuroBasket last year in Slovenia. Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Kevin Seraphin, Alexis Ajinca, and Nando De Colo all are not on Coach Vincent Collet’s roster this year either due to injury or because the players did not make themselves available to join the national team. The French still have a competitive roster as they’ll lean heavily on current NBAers like Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Rudy Gobert, Ian Mahinmi, and Fournier. Also, don’t discount the importance of Mickael Gelabale, Florent Pietrus, Joffrey Lauvergne, Thomas Heurtel, and Antoine Diot. The French will most likely utilize a 10 or 11-man rotation with all of the above players being used.
The French can still win a podium spot, but Batum is going to have to be one of the tournament’s top scorers while Diaw is going to have to put up close to triple-double stat lines. Batum and Fournier have been having some fun throughout their time together this offseason that included ‘selfie vengeance’. Ideally, it would be outstanding if the two played together on the wing positions as much as possible.
Below we’ll see how Evan did in preparation for the tourney as well as break down France’s World Cup schedule.
The Orlando Magic have announced that Bill Peterson will be Head Coach of its D-League team, the Erie BayHawks. As usual with Magic team policy, terms of the signing are unknown at this time. Orlando GM Rob Hennigan discussed the addition of Peterson.
“We are excited to welcome Bill (Peterson) and his family,” said Hennigan. “Bill’s passion for teaching and development fit seamlessly into our vision of creating a culture of collaboration and synergy between the Orlando Magic and Erie Bayhawks. His wealth of knowledge and experience will help our players fulfill their ultimate basketball potential.”
Peterson spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks (2007-2013) and served as Associate Head Coach at Colorado State University (2000-2007). Prior to his time at CSU, Peterson was a player development coach and scout for the Dallas Mavericks (1998-2000). He helped develop younger players like Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Michael Finley and Greg Buckner. He also served as a special assistant with the Golden State Warriors and worked with Sarunas Marciulionis, one of the first international players to compete in the NBA.
Peterson held head coaching positions at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (1994-1997) and Union College (1983-1987). He worked as the Assistant Head Coach at McNeese State (1987-1994) and at Bossier Parish Community College (1997-1999). Peterson began coaching in ’78-’79 as a student assistant at St. Petersburg Junior College and went on to serve as a graduate assistant at Louisiana Tech, where he coached Karl Malone from ’80 to ’83. Peterson is a graduate of Eckerd College and holds a master’s degree in physical education and human relations from Louisiana Tech University.
BayHawks majority owner Steve Demetriou also commented on Peterson:
“When speaking with Bill, it’s clear that he’s committed to developing our players and has a strong desire to win,” said BayHawks majority owner Steve Demetriou. “We’re looking forward to him becoming a part of the Erie community and leading our team as we begin our new affiliation with the Orlando Magic.”
Orlando Magic rookie Elfrid Payton already has one of the most talked about hairstyles in the NBA. From his struggles with hats, to the background and significance of why he grows it, to even his hairdo being a question on Yahoo! Answers’ beauty and style section, Elfrid’s curls have caught plenty of people’s attention.
So what happens when we quickly photoshop Elfrid’s hair onto the heads of his Magic teammates? You be the judge of the results.
Below you’ll find the rest of the Orlando players and an extra surprise or two.
The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier and his eleven French national team comrades have concluded their month long Blue-White Tour that prepared the squad for the FIBA World Cup. In Strasbourg on Sunday, France defeated Australia 73-50. Evan finished with 3 points and a rebound on 1-for-5 shooting (1-of-4 on 3s) in 16 minutes of bench action, but the stat line doesn’t give him enough credit for his floor spacing.
Before the start of the fourth period, Evan was only 0-for-2 in just a handful of minutes. In the huddle before the final 10-minute session began, Coach Vincent Collet drew up a few plays for Evan to get the ball and hopefully hoist up some shots. It worked. Evan with some swift passing and screen run-offs was able to get some decent looks on the perimeter. He missed four deep looks but he was able to draw out defenders which opened up the paint for teammates.
On one play, Fournier came off a right side curl, caught a pass and pump faked Brad Newley almost out of his sneakers. Newley tried to recover but grabbed Evan for a foul. Fournier made the shot from just inside the 3-point line, but for some inexplicable reason the ref didn’t give him the and-1 claiming the foul was on the floor.
Aron Baynes was the only Australian who scored in double figures with 17 points. Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum managed 6 points and 1 rebound on 3-for-5 shooting in 20 minutes off the Aussie bench. Exum had a transition dunk. Other than that, Dante primarily focused on not making mistakes which he accomplished.
So with that, we can focus on games that will actually count. France’s World Cup play begins in Spain on August 30th. Be on the lookout for a formal preview for Evan. That path to a podium spot will be difficult for sure.
We’re one week away from the start of the FIBA World Cup in Spain. The French national basketball team is in Strasbourg this weekend for a 2-day exhibition series. On Saturday they defeated Finland 74-69. France finished the game on a 17-2 run in the last four minutes to nab the victory. Finland doesn’t sound like a basketball power, but they were a pleasant 2013 EuroBasket surprise and it looks like they’ll be poised to impress again. The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier only played 6 minutes and scored 3 points on 1-for-3 shooting, but sat the entire second half.
Evan didn’t really have a good second period, but didn’t warrant being benched the rest of the game. He committed a turnover when Finland trapped him just past halfcourt. Evan then missed an open 3-pointer and was also forced into a tough running floater with the shot clock winding down. Finland went on a 17-2 run of their own in the third quarter to make it an even contest heading into the final ten minutes. Nicolas Batum led all scorers with 28 points. Boris Diaw tallied 10 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds.
The French team wore white sleeved jerseys that actually looked pretty decent. Something for Magic fans to keep an eye out in the future. France will play Australia once again on Sunday in the last exhibition contest of the Blue-White Tour before the World Cup starts on August 30th. Dante Exum was miserable in last week’s meeting.
Below is part 4 of the French Basketball Federation’s summer series on the national team. This episode doesn’t show much of Fournier, but there is a lot of English dialect spoken when the Larry O’Brien trophy makes a visit as well as when FIBA referees come in to give the French squad a seminar on defensive fouls.
Magic @ Portland Trail Blazers – Lost 125-119 in Overtime
21 points, 12 assists, 3 rebounds, 7-for-21 FGs
It’s all about the feat achieved in this case. Jameer would take first place on the Magic’s all-time assists list, surpassing Scott Skiles and his tally of 2,776 assists. Nelson departed Orlando with 3,501 dishes, a number that won’t be reached for a very long time. Jameer has notched 12+ assists eighteen times in his Magic career.
Below you’ll find the rest of the Top 10.