Nicolas Batum will participate in the FIBA EuroBasket, which begins tomorrow. He will represent France with NBA teammates Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nando Del Colo, and Johan Petro, as well as a slew of his other countrymen.
Batum is currently recovering from a mild ankle sprain that should not affect his play. I consider France and Spain to be the heavy favorites, as they boast the most elite levels of talent. Victor Claver will play for the Spanish team that also includes Ricky Rubio, José Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, and Marc Gasol.
Joel Freeland opted to forgo EuroBasket this year in order to focus on his role with the Blazers, though he would have represented Great Britain (now void of NBA talent).
If you have an unfulfilled need for basketball and a strong internet connection, ESPN3 (aka WatchESPN.com) will have coverage of the tournament beginning at 5:30 a.m. (PST) tomorrow. Tune in at 8:45 a.m. to support Victor Claver and the Spanish team and tune in at noon to support Nicolas Batum and the French team.
Or, if your interests extend beyond the Blazers, you can check any time in the morning really. The earliest game begins at 5:30 a.m. and the latest begins at 12:00 p.m. Personally, I would like to see what Jonas Valanciunas of Lithuania can do. The schedule can be found here.
The first round lasts through September 9th and the tournament itself lasts through September 22nd. That should help ease the pain inflicted by the offseason dry spell. Pre-season begins just two weeks later on October 7th. Between now and then, it is likely that a Blazer will add a prestigious, European basketball title to their resumé.