Brooklyn Nets rookie Dzanan Musa will get his first game action since June 3 when he suits up for Bosnia and Herzegovina in FIBA World Cup quaifying play.
The Brooklyn Nets are roughly three weeks away from opening training camp for the 2018-19 season, but first-round pick Dzanan Musa is going to get some game action next weekend for the national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to Eurohoops, Musa has committed to play Sept. 13 against Finland in Espoo, Finland. and on Sept. 16 in Sarajevo for a home match against the Czech Republic.
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Bosnia advanced to the second round of FIBA World Cup 2019 European Qualifying despite going just 2-4 in group play. They were able to advance ahead of Belgium, which was 1-5 in first-round competition.
Also advancing from Group E was France and Russia and will be joined in the new Group K in the second round by the Czech Republic, Finland and Bulgaria. The results from the first round carry over to the second, so that 2-4 record stands.
Musa did not play earlier this summer when Bosnia completed the group stage, as he was still negotiating his buyout from Croatian club Cedevita in order to sign with the Nets.
He was also held out of Summer League action by Brooklyn after the longest season of his three-year pro career with Cedevita. Musa played 1,642 minutes in 71 games last season, finishing on June 3.
Musa was sorely missed by Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last window, as they were pummeled by France 102-52 at Mejdan Arena in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 29 before heading to Antwerp, Belgium, on July 2 and a 79-77 loss to the hosts.
Musa leads Bosnia in scoring in qualifying play thus far, averaging 15.3 points per game, including a 26-point outburst against Russia in a 70-53 loss at Perm, Russia on Feb. 25.
The Eurohoops report said Musa will be getting some big help this month, as Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic will also play for Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be the first Nurkic has suited up for the national team since the EuroBasket Qualifiers in 2016.
Musa is also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 30:20 minutes per game, shooting .385/.276/.565 in the four games he’s played.
The last time Nurkic suited up for the Bosnian national team, he put up 19.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 29:04 minutes per game over four games, shooting .414/0-for-1/.690. He got to the foul line 42 times in four games.
Musa and Nurkic are among six current or recent NBA players born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but only three represent the nation in international play.
Veteran Mirza Teletovic, a former member of the Brooklyn Nets, was the national team captain for several years, but is not on the roster for the qualifiers.
While France (6-0) and the Czech Republic (5-1) appear to be all but locked into the World Cup field (the top three teams in each of Europe’s four groups advance), but it will be a tight race for the final slot.
Russia and Finland are each 3-3 entering second-round play, while Bulgaria is 2-4. Bosnia and Herzegovina, also 2-4, will have difficulty overcoming tiebreakers as they are currently minus-81 in group play, thanks in large part to that 50-point loss to France earlier this summer.
Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to take advantage of having their two NBA players for this window, as the next two qualifying sessions are set for Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 and Feb. 21 and 24, making it highly unlikely Musa or Nurkic will be available.