The Best Foreign-Born Players in the NBA|
With the Olympics just a few days away our thoughts turned to the subject of internationally-born NBA players, some of who are playing in London, others of whom are not. So here's our 12-man roster of the best foreign-born players in the Association at the moment; just think what this team could do when we backed 'em with our free NBA picks.
There's a lot to choose from at the guards spots.
Canadian Steve Nash, now of the Los Angeles Lakers, may be 38 years old, but we figure he's got a couple of productive seasons left in him, especially now that he's got a realistic chance at a ring. It will be very interesting to see how he meshes with Kobe this upcoming season in LA.
Frenchman Tony Parker may be 30, and with some mileage on him, but he just put up some of the better numbers of his career last year, averaging 18 points and a career-high eight assists per game. Now, if he could just steer clear of the bar fights...
Luol Deng from the Sudan deserves a mention for his all-around game that we think will eventually help Derrick Rose and the Bulls reach the NBA Finals.
But as far as an up-and-coming foreigner goes we like Spaniard Ricky Rubio, who pulled off the near-unthinkable last season and had the Minnesota Timberwolves in the hunt for a playoff spot. With Rubio running the show and dishing out eight assists per game last year Minnesota was 21-20; after he went down and out for the season with that nasty knee injury the 'Wolves went 5-20. In playing just 41 games Rubio finished second in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting.
Nearer the basket, at least some of the time, we've got the Big German, Dirk Nowitzki, maybe the greatest international NBA player of all-time. Nowitzki is now 34 years old, but he hasn't taken the beating others who play nearer the basket have. So we figure he's got at least a few good NBA seasons left in him.
There's also the Spanish Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc, one of whom gets a good share of limelight playing with the Lakers, the other of whom gets practically no notice, but should, playing in Memphis.
Luis Scola, the Argentinian now of the Phoenix Suns, had great success in Europe, and was actually drafted by the Spurs. But he made a name for himself with the Houston Rockets, topping out at 18 points and eight rebounds per game two seasons ago.
Also down low we've got the Polish Marcin Gortat, who just went 15/10 last year for Phoenix; Australian Andrew Bogut, now of Golden State, who went 16/10 and 13/11 his last two full seasons with the Bucks; and Al Horford, the Dominican-born former Florida Gator who just went 12/7 for the Hawks.
Finally, there's Argentinian Manu Ginobili, our glue-guy to hold things together. Few players have experienced the level of world-wide success as Ginobili, with European championships, Olympic gold medals and NBA titles. His mileage is adding up, too, but there's no way we could create this team and leave him off it.