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31 August
17 September, 2017
9 Tony Parker (FRA)
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No Parker, no worries?

PARIS (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - France begin life without Tony Parker this summer when they compete at FIBA EuroBasket 2017.

Les Bleus will play in Group A against Poland, Greece, Finland, Iceland and Slovenia. Parker, the EuroBasket's all-time leading scorer, walked off the court for the last time in a France shirt at the Rio Olympics.

Who does France coach Vincent Collet turn to now? He has plenty of players to choose from when it comes to selecting his playmakers and shooting guards.

Thomas Heurtel

The Anadolu Efes point guard has already replaced Parker before, at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. What a performance he put on, too! Is Heurtel the most underrated point guard in Europe? At the World Cup three years ago, he averaged 12.6 points per contest over the last five games and had 13 points and 4 assists in a famous Quarter-Final upset of hosts Spain. What makes his 2014 performance all the more impressive is that Nando de Colo was also absent from that tournament due to injury. At the Olympics last year, Heurtel didn't look out of place against the best team in the world, the USA. He almost had a triple-double in a near upset of the Americans in the Preliminary Round. He finished with 18 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds, but France lost, 100-97.

This season with Anadolu Efes, Heurtel has averaged 13.2 points and 5.8 assists per game in the EuroLeague. With the benefit of hindsight, Heurtel was a glaring absentee from the EuroBasket 2015 roster. Maybe he could have made a play or two against Spain in their Semi-Final that would have helped France win. Instead, Spain prevailed in overtime. The smart money is on the Beziers-born whirling dervish Heurtel being in the starting lineup this summer.

Nando de Colo

De Colo is always poetry in motion

De Colo is as slick a ball-handler as there is in international basketball. Everything he does, in fact, oozes with quality. He can dribble, pass and score. Think combo guard. Also consider one very important fact when it comes to the CSKA Moscow playmaker. De Colo has a lot of experience. Will Collet have a starting five with both Heurtel and De Colo in it? De Colo could then switch to the point so Heurtel could have a rest, and exit once Heurtel comes back into the game to have a breather himself. De Colo, as he shows at CSKA with Milos Teodosic, is always about the team being first and has no problem sharing the spotlight in the backcourt.

Antoine Diot

Diot has the trust of Collet

As long as Collet is the coach, Diot has a great shot of making the team. It's been that way since 2009, when Diot came off the bench and sparked France in a come-from-behind victory over Turkey that punched their ticket to the 2010 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Some felt Diot might have been dropped last summer after the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) to make room for Orlando Magic sharpshooter Evan Fournier but Collet only made one change and that was to bring in Rudy Gobert for Adrien Moerman. If Fournier is still upset about not being added to the Olympic roster and chooses not to make himself available this summer, and if Diot returns to full fitness after missing a lot of time due to injury of late, he could be a member of the France roster once again.

Diot helped France qualify for the Rio 2016 Games

Rodrigue Beaubois

One of the most promising careers of any Frenchman was knocked off the rails by injuries. Remember when Beaubois was an emerging star with the Dallas Mavericks? His middle name was "Explosive" because he could go off at any time. With Baskonia this season, Beaubois, a former teammate of De Colo's at Cholet, has shown flashes of his former excellent self and could be invited to training camp. It's not too late for a healthy soon-to-be 29-year-old Beaubois to make an impact with France.

Fabien Causeur

 Causeur would be a tantalizing addition to the backcourt

Similar to Beaubois, Causeur is one of France's biggest talents that the national team has not been able to take advantage of. Much improved since his appearance with France at the 2010 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2012 Olympics, Causeur is an off guard that could bolster the backcourt. He has plenty of experience at the highest level in Europe, too, with Baskonia and now Brose Bamberg. Causeur can beat opponents off the dribble or with his jump shots. Like Beaubois, he can be streaky but always dangerous.

Leo Westermann

 Westermann helped France reach the podium in 2015

The Haguenau-born Westermann came off the bench and helped France finish third at FIBA EuroBasket 2015 and has done well in his career while playing for ASVEL, Partizan, Limoges and currently Zalgiris Kaunas. Though not at the same level as Heurtel and De Colo, Westermann should be in the reckoning for a place on the roster.

Frank Ntilikina

Ntilikina was the MVP of the FIBA U18 European Championship in December

There's no doubt about the talent of Ntilikina, who less than four months ago was the MVP of the FIBA U18 European Championship. No one appreciates what he can do more than his coach at Strasbourg, which happens to be Collet. In an interview with FIBA.com shortly after that U18 title triumph for France, Collet talked about what makes the youngster so good. "Basketball IQ," Collet said. "For such a young guy, he's already playing with the pros, making good decisions. Sometimes he's missing aggression but his basketball IQ is something really special. He looks to be 25 very often." Though set to be a first round draft pick in the NBA this summer, the teenager may not be quite ready to cross the Atlantic. Clearly he has a big future with France. Is now the time to bring him into the fold?

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Luwawu-Cabarrot could make the step up to the senior team

So deep are France that they have an NBA player that, dare we say, many people have not heard of? Luwawu-Cabarrot, 21, played for France's youth teams but hasn't received as much hype as some of his compatriots. He is now logging serious minutes with the Philadelphia 76ers.

In four of his last five games, the shooting guard has scored at least 17 points. With questions about Nicolas Batum's involvement this summer, France are sure to check on Luwawu-Cabarrot's availability.