5 Olympians Playing Oversees Who Are Better Than Chicago Bulls' 12th Man
Olympic basketball is obviously all about the experience: the unity, the love of country and the desire to compete on behalf of something more than yourself.
But for NBA scouts, the Olympics represent a great opportunity to examine just how well potential players will handle themselves on the world's biggest stage.
As a way of measuring the current overseas talent in comparison to the NBA, I took the team with the top record last year in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls, and wondered aloud which of the current, non-NBA Olympians might crack that team's roster.
Here are five current non-NBA players that are better than the Bulls' 12 man (probably Vladimir Radmanovic).
Joe Ingles, G/F, Australia
Sure, he may look like he is in your rec league, but he is actually a professional player with Regal FC Barcelona in the Spanish league.
A swingman by trade, he actually handles the ball very well, and while he isn't the greatest outside shooter, he can score in a lot of ways.
A willing rebounder, Ingles is probably best known as a distributor.
At 6'6", a guy that can play three positions might be worth a look.
Shipeng Wang, SG, China
Like Ingles, Wang is a 6'6" wing player.
But unlike Ingles, Wang can shoot the lights out.
In his most recent game (against Ingles' Australian squad no less), Wang chipped in 21 points on seven for 10 shooting behind the arc.
A veteran of the Chinese basketball league, Wang is slightly older (29) than most prospects being scouted, but he could be a nice spot up shooter.
Marcelinho Huertas, PG, Brazil
There is a lot to love about Huertas' game.
He is your classic past-first point guard.
Lightning quick with great court vision, Huertas also boasts a nice three-point shot and is a pesky, albeit slightly small, defender.
He also is Wang's age (29), so a call from the NBA is probably a long-shot.
He currently plays for Regal FC Barcelona in the Spanish league.
Salah Mejri, F/C, Tunisia
Salah Mejri (shown above doing his best Frankenstein impersonation), is a fairly one-dimensional player.
He is tall and long, so he rebounds and blocks shots.
Though 7'1", he really isn't built too powerfully, so he would likely be pushed around some at the next level.
That being said, he is averaging nearly a double-double in the Olympics and recently blocked seven shots in a game against Argentina.
Macram Ben Romdhane, PF, Tunisia
Macram Ben Romdhane is perhaps the best kept secret in Tunisia.
Though only 6'8", he has shown great toughness and instincts during the Olympics.
Notably, he had a great game against the USA, scoring 22 points to go along with 11 boards.
He is also only 23, so he could end up in the States sooner rather than later.
He currently, like Mejri, plays in the Tunisian league.
Joel Freeland, F, England
Freeland, though probably characterized best as a bruiser, actually has a solid game to him.
6'10" and fairly beefy, Freeland is a solid rebounder, and though somewhat slow afoot, he is a solid defender.
A veteran of the Spanish league, Freeland's biggest obstacle to success at the next level is probably his tendency to commit silly fouls.
That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if he parlays his 25 point performance against Spain into an NBA offer.