Olympic Dream Over For Milwaukee Bucks’ Tyler Ennis And Canada

Mar 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Tyler Ennis (11) looks for an open man during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Tyler Ennis (11) looks for an open man during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Following a defeat to France, the Olympic dream comes to an end for Canada and Milwaukee Bucks guard Tyler Ennis.

Matthew Dellavedova will be the only Milwaukee Bucks representative at the 2016 Olympic Games as Tyler Ennis’ Canada fell short in their qualifying final against France.

It’s only been a couple of days since Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece were eliminated by Croatia at the semi-final stage of the Olympic tournament in Turin, Italy, but in spite of going one step further, Ennis’ journey will also end one step short of booking his plane ticket to Brazil.

As the Philippines’ Olympic qualifying tournament came to a close in Manilla on Sunday, Ennis and his countrymen were faced with the challenge of beating a top class international team, that was jam-packed with NBA pros.

More from Bucks News

Having made an undefeated run to the tournament’s final, it had almost become a non-factor that the Canadians were playing without the help of Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins and Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, but with one look at the French squad ahead of this pivotal matchup it suddenly seemed relevant again.

Even while missing a notable NBA pro of their own like Evan Fournier, the French had a wealth of riches to call upon in qualifying, and arguably all of the players who would make up their strongest lineup were in attendance.

Every player in the French starting five had at some stage played in the NBA. Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Joffrey Lauvergne make up the current contingent playing stateside, and although Nando De Colo has returned to play in Europe in recent seasons, his play earned him the honor of being named Euroleague MVP last season.

The Canadians were always going to be somewhat up against it considering the difference in talent, but perhaps no player was going to have a greater task on their hands than young Bucks guard Tyler Ennis.

Starting at point guard, Ennis was faced with the responsibility of guarding four-time NBA champion Tony Parker, as well as occasionally trying to contain De Colo on switches. That would be a big ask for even a more experienced point guard, and although Ennis battled bravely on this occasion, it ultimately proved to be just too much.

The French would have been in big trouble if not for the contributions of that backcourt duo, as Parker’s 26 points and De Colo’s 22 points combined for almost 58 percent of their team’s total scoring output.

Parker and De Colo would get close to whatever they wanted throughout the duration of the contest, and particularly when the game tightened up in the second half, Parker was able to step up a gear and take control.

On the offensive end, Ennis still had some nice moments though. He’ll return from the Philippines after a solid tournament, with his confidence hopefully buoyed and ready to play a bigger role in Milwaukee next season.

Once again, Ennis’ biggest asset proved to be his turn of pace and ability to get to the rim and finish with ease.

Ennis still doesn’t get as many assists as he probably should, but that isn’t down to a lack of vision. He thrives at kicking out to shooters on drives and maybe that’s something we’ll see more of with greater floor spacing for the Bucks next year.

Then there’s his own shot. Ennis shows signs of a smooth shooting stroke, which would lead you to believe he could be a reliable perimeter shooter, but it doesn’t always transpire in to a regular part of his game. Perhaps with more work when he gets back to North America, this kind of effortless triple can become a more regular feature of his play.

The game finished 83-74 in France’s favor, in spite of Canada cutting the lead back to as little as three points with three minutes remaining.

Next: The Buck Stops Here Roundtable #3: Remaining Free Agency Decisions

For Ennis and Antetokoumpo there will undoubtedly be some disappointment at how their Olympic journeys ended on this occasion, but with both men only 21 years old they can rest assured that their time will come. Now the focus returns to the Bucks.