Detroit Pistons: Is France the next basketball powerhouse?

Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

At least two of the Detroit Pistons were happy when France was able to outplay Team USA down the stretch and hold on for a 83-76 victory in the opening game of the Tokyo Olympics.

Team France is good, with several NBA players including Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert,  guard Evan Fournier and forward Nic Batum.

But that doesn’t mean this wasn’t an embarrassing loss for the U.S., who were the favorites coming into the Olympics and will be considered complete failures if they end up with anything other than gold.

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Coach Gregg Popovich is taking heat for his rotations, which didn’t include Piston Jerami Grant in the first game, and for running an offense that his team is not happy with. Pop doesn’t have a great record in international play and will definitely be the scapegoat if the U.S. can’t figure this out.

The rest of the world has caught up to the U.S., with international talent dappling the NBA and a bunch of teams that are no longer intimidated by the mighty USA.

France has a chance to win the gold themselves, but the future for France might be even brighter than just this Olympics, as French basketball is on the verge of becoming a world powerhouse.

Detroit Pistons: The best French players are on the way

To show you how far French basketball has come, the Detroit Pistons have a young French duo in Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya who didn’t even get invited to the team.

Both are raw prospects that need more developmental time, but by next Olympics, which happens to be in Paris, they could be very good players who are ready to take France to the next level.

That’s not to mention 17-year-old Victor Wembanyama, who is one of the most hyped prospects in the world right now, a 7-footer with legit guard skills who scout Mike Schmitz called “The most intriguing long-term prospect I’ve ever evaluated.”

Considering Doumbouya and Hayes are 20 and 19, respectively, the best may be yet to come for Team France, who has their eye on the gold in the Tokyo Olympics, but also one on the future.

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