Team USA stands to face several strong sides at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball later this month and in September. One of those teams is France, surprise winners of last summer's EuroBasket tournament. While the French do not feature longtime star and leader Tony Parker and therefore figure not to match their EuroBasket performance, a team with players like Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw, and Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi would figure to pose some difficulties for many opponents.
If one moment from a Sunday exhibition between France and the Philippines is any evidence, though, then there's a pretty simple way to defend Mahinmi — send him to the free-throw line. In the third quarter of the game in Antibes on the Mediterranean Sea, Mahinmi went to the charity stripe for two shots. Neither went very well.
There's not really an effective way to put a silver lining around consecutively airballed free throws, but Mahinmi can take some solace in knowing that it was probably an isolated incident. In six NBA seasons, Mahinmi has shot 65.1 percent from the line with no season mark ever dipping under 60 percent. Those aren't good stats, but they're certainly not embarrassing for a 6-11 big man not known for his on-ball skills.
It remains to be seen if Mahinmi will turn around his free-throw shooting in FIBA play, although France went on to win 75-68 with a game-closing 20-8 run and several missed free throws from the Philippines in the final minutes. As far as I know, those misses have not become viral sensations.
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