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French Connection

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 1/26/2011 1:46:27 PM

Don’t expect Popeye Doyle to be roaming the sidelines of any NBA games but for those that dabble betting hoops, the French connections is alive and well in the league.

Doyle, of course, was Gene Hackman’s character in the celluloid version of the Connection and as the toughest cop around, he kind of has lent that ability to some from France.

Currently there are 11 players that were either born or raised in France in the Association and none get any tougher than Ronny Turiaf, who was born in the French overseas territory of Martinique.

Turiaf made the French Under-18 national team and won a title with other NBA players Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Mickael Pietrus.

Turiaf left France and he was named First Team All WCC at Gonzaga and was the conference Player of the Year.

Ronny was drafted 37th in 2005 and they know he has heart as he had open-heart surgury soon after being drafted by the Lakers.

The 6 foot 10 twenty eight year old started at one point for the Lakers and when L.A. did not match the Warriors $17 million offer, he left for Golden State before being a lynch pin in the trade that brought David Lee from the Knicks.

Now Ronny spells backup for Amar’e Stoudamire in the Big Apple and there may be nobody in the league that is better at hustling and getting to loose balls.

Bettors that gamble on the Knicks, can expect Turiaf to make the difference in close games this season.

The most famous French player in the league is Tony Parker, who has won multiple championships with the San Antonio Spurs and is also known for recently filing for divorce from his actress wife Eva Longoria.

Drafted 28th in 2001, Parker’s Dad played pro ball in France and he was proud when his boy won the Finals MVP in 2007.

Still quick as a cat, he is not always mentioned in the conversation of the best point guards in the league and the confidence he has gotten from Coach Popovich has changed the direction of the Mavs this year. Coach basically handed over the keys of the car to Parker and Manu Ginobili to get out and run and try to get away from the grind it out, half court offence they thrived in for years.

The result, the Spurs are off to their best start ever, figure to be right there in the Western Finals and with Parker’s help, the Spurs have proved to be a great betting tool as they are 25-16-2 in their first 43 games against the spread.

Frenchman and forward/center Diaw had some productive years for the Phoenix Suns but needs to be more aggressive.

Current Phoenix French influence is Pietrus, who has tons of talent but needs to find his niche team at this point in time.

One of the young French up and coming stars is Nicolas Batum for the Portland Trailblazers. The 6-8 small forward was on the champion France FIBA championship squad and was MVP in another European league.

Batum can get his own shot, a trait that is really important and he can play lock-down defense because he is so athletic. He is the entire package and will thrive with experience.

Bettors can’t underestimate the influence of these French players and although some of them have the reputation of being soft, they can change the outcome of games with talent and pure will.

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