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NBA Experience Abound Alongside Wenbanyama For France

Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert will be Olympic teammates this summer.

In the most recent Summer Olympic Games in 2021 (originally scheduled for 2020, but postponed due to COVID), the France men’s basketball team won a silver medal. That team did not have Victor Wembanyama on their roster. With the 2024 Paris Olympic Games set to take place beginning in July, France will look to take home their first Olympic gold medal in men’s basketball.

They would love to do so with the Olympics taking place in their home country. Their 2021 silver medal was the third time the France men’s team received one. Plenty of eyes will be on the 20-year-old Wembanyama during Olympic play as he will be taking part this year. The first overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, Wembanyama recently won the Rookie of the Year in unanimous fashion. France recently named their preliminary roster featuring 19 players. While they will eventually need to trim their roster to 12, NBA fans should recognize many players who potentially could be sharing the court with Wembanyama.

NBA Experience Abound Alongside Wenbanyama For France

Victor Wembanyama Will Have Plenty of Teammates With NBA Experience

The most notable name featured on France’s preliminary roster to play alongside Wembanyama is Rudy Gobert. The 31-year-old won his fourth Defensive Player of the Year this season. That ties him with Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo for the most in NBA history. His Minnesota Timberwolves face a Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Also on the roster is Nicolas Batum of the Philadelphia 76ers. The 35-year-old played 28.3 minutes per game in his first-round matchup with the New York Knicks. Evan Fournier spent more than a full season glued to the bench for the Knicks before they traded him to the Detroit Pistons. It was just two seasons ago though (2021-22) that he set the single-season franchise record for New York for three-pointers made (passed by Donte DiVincenzo this season).

The seventh overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Bilal Coulibaly won’t turn 20 until July 26. He started 15 games for the Washington Wizards this season and averaged 8.4 points. Ousmane Dieng, the 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, is currently outside the playoff rotation for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Three players on the preliminary roster played in the NBA in 2023-24 but ended the season not on a team. They are Theo Maledon, Frank Ntilikina, and Killian Hayes.

France also features many players on the preliminary roster who previously spent time in the NBA. Guerschon Yabusele played 74 total games for the Boston Celtics in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Nando De Colo saw action in 119 NBA games in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Elie Okobo participated in 108 games for the Phoenix Suns in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Jaylen Hoard has 39 games of prior NBA experience, and Vincent Poirier has 32.

USA Will Be the Heavy Favorite to Win Gold

While France has a deep roster, at least on paper, nobody’s roster looks anywhere near as strong as the USA. It was the USA that defeated France in the gold medal game in 2021. USA’s 12-man roster has already been announced. Headed to Paris are Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Jayson Tatum.



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