Eurobasket 2013: Jerebko and Datome lead their teams in Slovenia

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Two Pistons players will do the heavy lifting for their teams as Eurobasket gets underway. 24 teams will face off with Greece, France, and Spain looking like the strongest entering the tournament.

Itching to see Pistons play some competitive basketball games? Good news! This week starts a three-week tournament featuring most of the top international players, including Pistons forwards Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome.

The pair will be their respective team's most prominent player, Datome because Italy is decimated by injuries and Jerebko because Sweden is rather weak.

Italy heads to the tournament without Danilo Gallinari (torn ACL), Andrea Bargnani (pneumonia), and a slew of role players. It's been bad enough that coach Simone Pianigiani went as far as to call it a "cursed summer." At full strength Italy likely would have been a top-5 team, but the injury trouble will likely see them as a middle of the road squad.

Datome missed a week with a sprained ankle, but returned to get some exhibition game time and should be ready to go for their opening game. Coming off a MVP season in the Italian league, the newly-signed Piston will be the team's go-to player. Other recognizable names playing alongside Datome include Marco Belinelli and former backup point guard for the Pacers Travis Diener.

Sweden will be carried by their NBA wings Jerebko and Jeff Taylor, who had a nice rookie season last year with the Bobcats.

The games will be televised in the United States on ESPN 3 and NBA TV. The full schedule is available here - Eastern time is six hours behind. Sweden starts off against a tough Greek squad at 11:45 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday and Italy will take on the equally injury-plagued Russians at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Some familiar names playing in Eurobasket 2013 include Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Nando De Colo, and Boris Diaw of France; Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, Marc Gasol, and Ricky Rubio of Spain; Jan Vesely of Czech Republic; Omri Cassipi of Isreal; Jonas Valanciunas, Donatas (not Donuts) Motiejunas, and Linas Kleiza of Lithuania; Nikola Vucevic of Montenegro; Marcin Gortat of Polish Poland; Sergey Karasev and Aleksey Shved of Russia; Nenad Krstic of Serbia; Goran Dragic of Slovena; Omer Asik, Hedo Turkoglu, and Ersan Ilyasova of Turkey.

Note: thanks to silver85 for starting the conversation in the Fanposts.

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