Foreign Players In The NBA – Now And Then

Did you know that since the 2016-17 season, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award has gone to an international player? The same outcome has been real for the Most Valuable Player award since the 2017-18 season. This streak is expected to continue this season, with players like Joel Embiid and Antetokounmpo dominating as MVPs. Why?

Players from across the world that join the NBA have excellent talent. The NBA has amassed players from 39 countries worldwide, and it continues to see a relative uptick in international players. So, in a word, it is right to pay homage to these foreign NBA players. Let’s have a look at who they are:

The Best Of International NBA Players

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

Known as the Greek Freak, Giannis is arguably the best international NBA player. His speed and size have made him formidable in the court. Additionally, his PPG total has continued to rise each year, with an average of two more points this season.

  • Joel Embiid, Cameroon

Even though a foot injury kept him from the game for two years, this Cameroon basketball player is still in the lead as one of the best NBA players. He has an average per game of 11.5 rebounds and 24.1 points. His tenacity has brought the 76ers into the spotlight for being a perennial playoff team.

  • Ben Simmons, Australia

The Australian player deserves to be on this list because he has helped his team turn their tables around with a playoff berth every season he is in the game. Chosen as the number 1 overall pick in 2016, Ben Simmons has proven he is an excellent player who has also improved his shooting ability in each game.

  • Nikola Jokic, Serbia

Nikola is the joker and the lesser athlete in the NBA league, but his high-level game makes up for everything. Serbian Nikola can facilitate for his teammates and score with skill. These talents have seen him play in the All-Star Game for two consecutive seasons. He doesn’t seem to be done because his skill has helped the Nuggets make back-to-back appearances in the past two playoff seasons.  

  • Nikola Vucevic, Montenegro

Montenegro Nikola joined the NBA in 2012 and has been underrated for over a decade. Still, he is an excellent scorer with 10.2 rebounds and an average of 17.0 points per game. Nikola got his first All-Star appearance in 2019.

  • Pascal Siakam, Cameroon

Pascal helped his Toronto team win their first NBA championship last season and won himself the Most Improved player award. His average points per season are 23.6, which has positioned him as an All-Star starter.

  •  Luka Doncic, Slovenia

Luka may be in his second season in the NBA, but at merely 20 years of age, he has managed to outshine some of his international predecessors. He is a starter with an average of 28.7 points and 8.7 assists.

  • Rudy Gobert, France

Ruby’s game name is The Stifle tower, which he was given because of his amazing dominant shot block skill, which has also seen him win The Defensive Player Award of the year twice and the All-Defensive Team Selection thrice. Rudy has managed an average of 2.0 blocks annually and is now in his first All-Star game.


Basketball Without Borders

This is the birthright of foreign players in the NBA. When it started in 2001, the NBA was an independent body operating in the United States seeking to promote basketball as a sport. Now, it has become a tool for helping talented basketball players become active NBA stars. This has been a success since these players continue to outperform their US counterparts. As such, here is an adulation to the foreign players in the NBA now and then.