The influx of international talent in the NBA has exploded over the last decade. There was a time when international players were rare in the NBA. Now there are few teams, if any, without at least one player born outside of the U.S. The sports website, GoingFor2.com, recently put out its list of the Top 5 internationally born NBA players...

 

Ben Simmons | 76ers | Melbourne, Australia

 

One of two superstars on the Sixers that was born outside the U.S., Simmons is a unique talent with his ability to play the point guard position at 6-foot-10 yet can defend every position on the court, including most centers. After an injury delayed his rookie season by one year, Simmons returned the following year with an excellent rookie season and took home the Rookie of the Year award for the 2017-'18 season. 

 

Nikola Jokic | Nuggets |  Sombor, Serbia

Jokic, or "Joker" as he is aptly named, came into the NBA in the 2015 season, but unlike Simmons, he was not a household NBA name until the 2017-'18 season in which he averaged a double-double for the season and nearly took the Nuggets to the playoffs. He has taken his game to an even higher level for the 2018-'19 season, averaging 19 points, 10 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game and has the Nuggets on top of the Western Conference as of 1/15/19.  

 

Kristaps Porzingis | Knicks |  Liepaja, Latvia

 

Standing 7-foot-3, Porzingis has the rare combination of size, the ability to handle the ball in open court and 3-point range. It's this combination that earned Porzingis the nickname The Unicorn to illustrate just how rare he is. Unfortunately, a season-ending injury in the 2017-'18 season still has him sidelined in 2019, but he is expected to make his return to the court soon.  

 

Joel Embiid | 76ers |  Yaoundé, Cameroon

 

Embiid has become known as "The Process", named after a strategy the 76ers employed for a few years in which they "tanked" their seasons to improve their draft position in order to land as many No. 1 picks as they could. Embiid was one of those such picks. Due to injuries, Embiid had a delayed start to his career missing nearly three full years before he was able to play, but he hasn't looked back since. The combination of he and Ben Simmons has turned the once laughing stock 76ers into legit title contenders. The "Process" won't be complete until they win that coveted championship, but it's starting to look more like "when" then "if" with the way Embiid is playing.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo | Bucks | Athens, Greece

 

The Greek Freak has to be one of the best nicknames of all-time, and it fits Antetokounmpo lives up to it and then some. At 6-foot-11 and a massive wingspan, the 'Freak as taken the NBA by storm and put the once bottom dwelling Bucks on the map to contend. There isn't much he can't do on the basketball court, from lock-down defense to high-flying dunks, Antetokounmpo is a legitimate MVP candidate this season, but more importantly, his Bucks are title contenders. 

Published by silv Watson