Though there are plenty of fantastic basketball players who haven't played in the NBA and likely won't for either their entire careers or a significant portion of them—Argentina's Facundo Campazzo and Brazil's Marcelo Huertas immediately spring to mind—the Association tends to have the sport's largest collection of talent.
So, how is that being distributed out among the 24 teams set to play in Spain at the 2014 World Cup, an international competition that begins at the end of August?
As John Schuhmann explains for NBA.com, "With the four free agents and 46 guys under contract, there will be a total of 50 current NBA players, representing 22 different teams and 18 different countries, at the World Cup, unless there's an unexpected roster change in the next four days."
Let's break those players—as well as the dozens who used to play in the sport's top league—down by country, using some visual aids.
Will any team come close to touching Team USA's number of NBA talents?
The Argentines would normally have Manu Ginobili on their side, but without the crafty 2-guard who has retired from international competition, they're left without as much NBA talent.
Though Walter Herrmann and Andres Nocioni both have experience in the Association on their resumes, Pablo Prigioni and Luis Scola are the only current players. Yes, that means there are no projected NBA starters who will suit up for Argentina at the World Cup.
We're being generous here.
Dante Exum hasn't played for the Utah Jazz yet, though the lottery pick will likely have a large role with his new team when the NBA season kicks off. Aron Baynes (currently a free agent) and Cameron Bairstow (another rookie, this time with the Chicago Bulls) are also included as current NBA players, joining Matthew Dellavedova to make it four.
In the realm of former players, the Boomers are limited to David Andersen and Nathan Jawai, neither of whom should resonate with anyone but the most hardcore NBA fans.
It's all about the strength of the frontcourt, as Tiago Splitter, Nene and Anderson Varejao will all be sharing time at center for Brazil throughout the 2014 World Cup. Though all are capable starters for their respective teams—the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers—they aren't All-Star-caliber players at this stage of their careers.
Leandro Barbosa, though he hasn't yet found a home for the 2014-15 season, counts as a current NBA player, but Raul Neto does not as there's been no indication he intends to play in the Association, despite being controlled by the Utah Jazz.
As for former players, that pool is limited to Alex Garcia and Marcus Vinicius, whom you might know better as Marquinhos.
Damjan Rudez and Bojan Bogdanovic both count as current players, as they're under contract with and expected to play for the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets, respectively. Though he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers and is certainly an NBA talent, Dario Saric does not gain eligibility for that classification yet.
Sadly, he doesn't count as a player with NBA experience either, unlike Roko Ukic, Oliver Lafayette and Damir Markota.
Consider this one of the graphs that's a bit misleading, given the inability to qualify Saric as anything but a non-NBA player thanks to his decision to remain abroad for at least one more season.
Alphabetically, the Dominican Republic is the first participating nation with only one player who has ever suited up in the NBA.
That would be Francisco Garcia, who spent an injury-plagued 2013-14 campaign with the Houston Rockets. He's a veteran and has fared well during prior international competitions, but he's literally the only NBA talent on the roster.
Make it two in a row.
With Drew Gooden failing to gain clearance on his dual citizenship in time for the World Cup, per Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post, the NBA connections are just dwindling.
"As a kid you always dream of winning the gold medal," Gooden told Castillo prior to his ineligibility ruling. "You think you’re going to be on the Dream Team or one day it be possible that you can do something like that during your career."
Perhaps he'll have a chance somewhere down the road, but for now, Erik Murphy (part of the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Hanno Mottola (played two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks over a decade ago) will have to do some heavy lifting for Finland.
Interestingly enough, France doesn't have any former NBA players other than Mickael Gelabale, who last played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012-13.
But even without Tony Parker suiting up for his country this offseason, choosing to rest and prepare for 2014-15 instead, the French boast a bevy of current members of the Association—Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Evan Fournier, Rudy Gobert and Ian Mahinmi.
That's not including Joffrey Lauvergne, who was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2013 and should eventually make his NBA debut sometime down the road, though it won't come this next season.
There are no All-Stars who call France home, but Diaw is coming off a sensational run with the Spurs, and Batum is versatile enough that he could sneak onto the team in the future if he continues improving for the Portland Trail Blazers.
It's three current players and one former for the Greeks.
Andreas Glyniadakis, the 33-year-old 7-footer who played a baker's dozen games with the Seattle SuperSonics back in 2006-07 (you knew it had to be awhile ago, given that he played for the Sonics) counts as the former, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nick Calathes and Kostas Papanikolaou make up the current group.
Antetokounmpo is the most exciting of the bunch, given his rising stock with the Milwaukee Bucks, but the other two can't be overlooked.
Calathes was a valuable piece for the Memphis Grizzlies before a drug suspension knocked him out of the playoffs, and Papanikolaou—in addition to torturing American spellers—is set to join the Houston Rockets in 2014-15.
The Iranians only boast the services of one former NBA player—Hamed Haddadi.
A 7'2" center, Haddadi last played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns during the 2012-13 season, averaging 2.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game during his split time with the two squads. He's a big presence in the paint, and at 29 years old, he should have plenty left in the tank for the World Cup.
Arsalan Kazemi should eventually make it to the Association after becoming the first Iranian-born player to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected at No. 54 in 2013 and traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. However, he's not there quite yet.
Somewhat surprisingly, given Lithuania's profile in the international world and the enjoyable nature of the team, there are only two NBA players on this squad.
The first is Donatas Motiejunas, a big man on the Houston Rockets who hasn't really blossomed in the NBA quite yet. Then there's Jonas Valanciunas, a promising center on the Toronto Raptors who should one day be an All-Star, perhaps as soon as this coming season.
But that's it.
There aren't even any former NBA players on the roster. Not a one.
The Mexican team might not be as strong as the Lithuanian squad, but there's just as much NBA talent on the roster. Well, at least from a quantity perspective.
Motiejunas and Valanciunas win the quality battle in a landslide, of course.
But at least Jorge Guttierez and Gustavo Ayon are players in the Association, though the latter technically remains an unrestricted free agent.
New Zealand is another country with only one NBA player to its credit.
Unfortunately, it's one of the former variety.
Kirk Penney is the lone representative, as the roster is primarily comprised of NBL talents, NZNBL players and three guys in the NCAA—Isaac Fotu (Hawaii), Rob Loe (St. Louis) and Tai Webster (Nebraska). As for Penney, he played a combined six games during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
Believe it or not, the only NBA player on the Philippines roster is...wait for it...Andray Blatche.
The former Brooklyn Nets big man is still working to find a home for the 2014-15 season after an up-and-down 2013-14 campaign, but we'll consider him an NBA talent for all intents and purposes. After all, he hasn't played anywhere else between then and now.
Other than Blatche, though, there are no other NBA players, whether current or former.
J.J. Barea may be a bench player in the Association, but he's a superstar whenever he puts on that Puerto Rico uniform.
He's consistently averaged impressive figures in international competition. At the 2014 Centrobasket Championship, he put up 17.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Before that, he averaged 15.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.2 dimes at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship and 18.2 points, 4.0 boards and 7.8 assists per game at the 2013 Tuto Marchand Continental Cup.
Barea is the only current NBA player on the Puerto Rico roster, but Carlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman aren't too far removed from their careers in the Association. The former last played for the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics during the 2010-11 season, while the latter was part of the New York Knicks in 2011-12.
There's one each for Senegal.
Hamady N'Diaye did play for the Sacramento Kings in 2013-14, but he was waived by the team and ended up with the D-League's Delaware 87ers. Here, we're counting him as a former NBA player, but the 27-year-old 7-footer could certainly work his way back onto an NBA roster.
Gorgui Dieng doesn't have to worry about that, though.
The big Louisville product broke out at the end of his first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he should play far more for Senegal than he did under Rick Adelman, who notoriously avoided playing rookies.
Remember how Bojan Bogdanovic is playing for Croatia?
Well, Bogdan Bogdanovic—who isn't related to Bojan—will be suiting up for Serbia. And he's the better player, as the 22-year-old has consistently been one of the better scorers in European basketball for a few years now.
Miroslav Raduljica, whom Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported was being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, is the other current NBA player who will be on the Serbian roster.
In terms of former players, though, Nenad Krstic counts. The 6'11" center has been one of his country's better players for a while now, and that should continue even though he's been out of the NBA ever since he played for the Boston Celtics in 2010-11.
Slovenia really should be the first country with a 2013-14 All-Star on the roster.
After all, Goran Dragic played well enough to earn a selection last season, but he was kept off the roster partially because he's massively underrated and partially because the Western Conference was ridiculously stacked. Nonetheless, he was often a one-man team for the Phoenix Suns and deserves to be considered an All-Star-caliber talent.
Alas, Dragic still has to be listed under current players, and he's the only one who earns such a designation. Uros Slokar—who played 20 games for the Toronto Raptors in 2006-07—is the former NBA player, and that's where the Association ties draw to a conclusion.
Now we get to one of the big guns.
Up until now, no team has had more NBA players than non-NBA players, even if you combine the current and former players to create one mega-category. But Spain changes that, as it has as many current NBA players as non-NBA guys, and the former Association members push that group over the top.
Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all All-Star talents, though none made the team in 2013-14. Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon and Victor Claver are lower-tier players, but they're still on NBA squads heading into the next season.
Even without Alex Abrines (drafted in 2013) and Sergio Llull (2009) counting, that makes six. And once the roster is trimmed to its final format, the current NBA players should take the lead.
As for the former players, we're looking at Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos Navarro and Sergio Rodriguez.
Though Furkan Aldemir could one day join an NBA squad, there's only one representative, whether talking about the current or former category.
That would be Omer Asik, who sat on the bench for the Houston Rockets last year and will fill a much larger role for the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2014-15 season. The big man is a defensive specialist, and he'll be quite adept at protecting the rim and pulling down rebounds whenever he's on the court.
Of course, he'll be doing so without any other NBA talents alongside him.
Between Pooh Jeter and Viacheslav Kravtsov, the Ukrainians have a pair of former NBA talents, though neither found too much success in the sport's top league. The former played 62 games for the Sacramento Kings in 2010-11, though he came off the bench and wasn't exactly a standout, while the latter played 20 games for the Phoenix Suns this past year before he was waived.
Beyond that, there's no one with NBA experience.
Oleksandr Lypovyy, who last played for BC Donetsk in the Ukranian Superleague, and Sergii Gladyr, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2009, are both worth watching, but neither qualifies as anything other than a non-NBA player.
What's that? A new color?
Every player on the Team USA roster is a current NBA player, so we have to break things down even further. It's time to separate them into All-Stars and players who weren't able to earn that designation during the 2013-14 season. Remember, only 2014 All-Stars qualify in that category, so past berths are irrelevant for these purposes.
That's a pretty impressive figure for the United States, and it bodes well for the country's chances at a gold medal and a successful defense of the top honors that were earned at the 2012 Olympics.
Note: Angola, Egypt and Korea were not represented here, as none of those countries has a single current or former NBA representative.
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