Eurobasket is a huge 24-team basketball tournament of nations in Europe every four years, and at the 2022 iteration that is near conclusion, two of the Utah Jazz’s new players, along with Bojan Bogdanovic, performed incredibly well.
Forward Lauri Markkanen was fantastic in leading Finland to the quarterfinals, where it lost to Spain, while Simone Fontecchio was excellent for Italy as it also made the quarterfinals before losing to former Jazz center Rudy Gobert and France.
Bogdanovic was also very good for Croatia, which lost in the round of 16 to Markkanen and Finland.
In a tournament that has featured a ton of NBA talent and All-Stars in Gobert, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic, Markkanen is primed to finish second in scoring behind only Antetokounmpo at 27.9 points per game (the semifinals and final remain).
In three of Finland’s seven games, Markkanen eclipsed the 30-point mark, and in the contest against Croatia, he scored 43 points, which is a Finnish all-time record at a major international tournament.
“He’s really coming into his own,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said earlier this week. “We’re seeing things in him, grabbing rebounds and going coast-to-coast with the dribble. Those are things you haven’t really seen out of Lauri yet, and so we’re excited about his future.”
Fontecchio, a relative unknown in the United States before signing with the Jazz this summer, is primed to finish eighth in scoring at the tournament with an average of 19.4 points per game.
The 6-foot-7 Italian has been billed as an excellent shooter, and he showed that throughout the tournament, as he shot over 45% from beyond the arc. His best scoring outing of the tournament was a 26-point performance against Antetokounmpo and Greece in the group stage.
As for Bogdanovic, he finished right behind Fontecchio in scoring at 19.2 points per game, with a high of 27 on two occasions in back-to-back contests in the group stage, one against Fontecchio and Italy and the second versus Ukraine.
The semifinals of the tournament will be played on Friday in Berlin, with Germany taking on Spain and then Gobert and France facing Poland.
The championship game will be on Sunday in Berlin.