Portland Trailblazers forward Nicolas Batum has confirmed that he will play for France at this summer’s FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
This comes as welcome news for last year’s Eurobasket winners as San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker has confirmed that he is going to take the summer off after the NBA season has finished.
Having Batum in the squad this summer will boost France’s hopes of a podium finish in Spain after he thought about his options for the off-season once Portland were eliminated in the NBA Western Conference Playoffs by Parker and the Spurs.
With Eurobasket MVP Parker choosing to rest, Batum, who has had a solid year with the Trailblazers can play a captain’s role for Les Bleus as they look to get out of a tricky Group A that features hosts Spain; Serbia; Brazil; Iran and Egypt, a pool that many are dubbing “the group of death”.
The forward averaged 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds at Eurobasket last summer, which ended up as the perfect platform for a great season in Oregon with the Blazers, as the 25-year-old, Lisieux-born forward averaged 13 points and 7.5 rebounds, en route to guiding his side to the post-season.
The World Cup runs from August 30 with the Final on September 14.