International stars leaving mark on NBA

first_imgLATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “It’s been fun to watch over the last two decades, where the game started internationally and where it is now,” said Dirk Nowitzki, the German who became the biggest star in Dallas Mavericks’ history. “I think the game has grown globally, China, Australia, Africa, Europe, South America. I think we’ve got 150 international players in the league or more. It’s been fun to watch.”Just take a peek at Tuesday’s boxscores to see the impact.— There were six guys with 12 or more rebounds, five of them born outside the U.S.— There were six guys with seven or more assists, all of them born outside the U.S.— There were four guys with three or more blocks, all of them born outside the U.S.ADVERTISEMENT Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Some words from the coach inspire Naomi Osaka’s quarterfinal win TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening The NBA international imprint just keeps getting bigger, providing the sort of transformative impact the likes of which the league probably hasn’t seen since the ABA merger.One of the MVP front-runners at this point is Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has led Milwaukee to the NBA’s best record entering Wednesday. Dallas’ Luka Doncic looks like an overwhelming favorite to become the first Slovenian rookie of the year. Cameroon’s Joel Embiid might be the dominant big man in the league, and keeps getting better for Philadelphia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionThese aren’t just some guys taking up roster spots, either.These are franchise players. At least one-third of the league’s teams have a foreign-born player who would classify as its best, or at least its most important. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte View comments “We just know what this game is about,” Doncic said of the young foreign cluster of stars. “I don’t know if people think international players aren’t that good, but I think we showed up.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting FILE- In this Dec. 22, 2018, file photo Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, left, talks with forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in Miami. In Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have a go-to franchise player capable of getting the team out of any hole. Averaging 26.6 points and 12.8 rebounds, Antetokounmpo was hitting 66 percent of his two-point shots thanks to length and athleticism that makes him nearly unstoppable in the paint. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)Go back to the 1999-2000 NBA season, and there were only two foreign-born players in the NBA who averaged 15 points per game: Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan.This season, there are 24 names on that list — by far the most in league history.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists for Denver, and it might not have even been his best game of the season. Jokic is Serbian — and represents how the game is played today. He’s a 7-footer. Big, fast and skilled. He’s going to be a problem for teams for a long time, and is the biggest reason why the Nuggets entered Wednesday atop the Western Conference.The NBA has utilized a ‘USA vs. The World’ format in what used to be called the rookie game at All-Star weekend since 2014, and maybe it’s time to think about doing something like that in the varsity matchup as well.Think about this possibility: Antetokounmpo, Doncic, Embiid, Jokic and Ben Simmons starting. Select Rudy Gobert, Clint Capela and Nikola Vucevic as the backup big men. Ricky Rubio, Danilo Gallinari, Buddy Hield and Bojan Bogdanovic as backup guards and wings. Jamal Murray, Jonas Valanciunas and Boban Marjanovic would be snubbed on this 12-man mythical roster.And that scenario even has Australian-born Kyrie Irving playing for the U.S. side in this made-up game.The U.S. team led by LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis would probably still win. But it might be worth the NBA taking a look at this sort of format before too long.“You’ve got guys coming from everywhere and anybody now in the world, you know if you work hard you can come play in the NBA,” said Charlotte’s Tony Parker, who was born in Belgium.There’s a myriad of theories on why this is happening.The one that makes the most sense is that the game is basically beamed in real time right now to every phone in the world. Young players like Doncic can see fellow Europeans succeed in the NBA while oohing and aahing over their basketball heroes — and for the Mavericks rookie, it was LeBron. Embiid went slightly more old school, saying his favorite all-timer is former MVP Hakeem Olajuwon. Antetokounmpo modeled some of his game after Scottie Pippen.The seeds have been planted over these last 20 years.It was only a matter of time before they bore this sort of fruit. MOST READlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *