Futures of International Players Bright
This year’s NBA All-Star game featured only two international players, Marc Gasol and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The later was in the starting lineup of the Team East and has managed to put on an impressive performance. The Greece international managed to score the most points of all the players from his side.
The Spaniard, on the other hand, wasn’t as impressive, especially not when compared to his teammates from Team West. Marc’s older brother, Pau Gasol, had much more success in the past, appearing in 6 All-Star Games in his career. In fact, Pau has played in more All-Star Games than any other international player.
Speaking of previous All-Star Games, an interesting fact is that only 17 international players have featured in them in the whole history of the competition. But what about the future? Is it fair to say that things will change anytime soon?
They might, judging by what happened in this year’s Rising Stars Challenge. The 2017 game saw Team World beating Team USA by 150-141. Two Nuggets’ players were in the spotlight that evening. Canadian guard Jamal Murray managed to score 36 points, while Serbian center Nikola Jokic had 12 points, with 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
The second-best scorer in the Team World was Buddy Hield from Bahamas, who scored 28 points in the game. Latvian forward, Kristaps Porzingis was equally impressive, scoring 24 points and making 10 rebounds.
It seems that these international players have bright future in the NBA, but what about basketball in other parts of the world? Is there a competition that can come even close to the NBA?
The toughest basketball competition outside of the United States is EuroLeague. However, for a number of top-quality players, EuroLeague is just a getaway competition to the NBA.
Right now, the strongest team in EuroLeague is CSKA Moscow. It seems likely that the Russian team will win this year’s competition, with the odds being around +200. The team has been in an impressive form lately, so betting on them seems as a good choice. On top of everything, some bookies even give away free bets for those who decide to bet on CSKA to win the EuroLeague.
One of the reasons why CSKA seems so mighty at the moment is that the power-forward Kyle Hines has been sensational. Hines is one of the four Americans in the rooster of CSKA, all of which are rumored to move back across the ocean in the next season.
In fact, the story of Kyle Hines is a great indicator of the difference in quality between NBA and EuroLeague. One of the best players of the EuroLeague wasn’t even drafted in the NBA. Instead, he moved to Europe directly from his college team UNC Greensboro.