Group H – Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Rudy Gobert
The last group will once again feature two Minnesota Timberwolves players going head-to-head. Group H will include the national teams from France and Canada.
For team Canada, Nickeil Alexander-Walker will do what he does best and provide energy off the bench. His play on both sides of the floor will boost the second unit, as head coach Jordi Fernandez will most likely start a lineup that includes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, Dillon Brooks and Dwight Powell, with the final starting position bouncing between Lu Dort, Kelly Olynyk and Nickeil.
As for Les Bleus, Rudy Gobert headlines the squad yet again. Early reports of Joel Embiid’s French nationalization fell through for the World Cup, and Victor Wembanyama opted to rest ahead of his rookie season in the NBA. The Stifle Tower will be followed by Evan Fournier, Nic Batum and Guerschon Yabusele, who had a fantastic season for Real Madrid.
Talent most certainly isn’t missing for this matchup. France achieved a second place finish in last year’s EuroBasket and a second place finish in the Olympics in 2021, not to mention a third place finish in the previous edition of the FIBA World Cup as well.
Canada, however, is a pretty young team who hasn’t played a lot together. The names on the roster might make the team sound more experienced than they actually are collectively. Canada’s previously mentioned loss against the Dominican Republic might cause them to have a pretty big chip on their shoulder considering the big names on their roster.
The two teams will face off on the inaugural day of the tournament, August 25 at around 8:30am EST. The remainder of France’s schedule will feature games against a Kristaps Porzingis-less Latvia in their first ever World Cup appearance on August 27. Canada will finish out their slate on the same day against Lebanon.