NBA Power Rankings: The All-Overseas Team
With a compromise to the NBA lockout nowhere in sight, many players have entertained the idea of going overseas. Some have already signed, some are looking for somewhere to go and others are playfully poking at the possibility.
We have already seen superstar guard Deron Williams jump ship to Turkey, along with New Jersey teammate Sasha Vujacic and Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova. Other players such as Nenad Krstic, Timofey Mozgov and Chris Quinn bolted to Russia. Further talent in the likes of Nicolas Batum, Jordan Farmar, Hilton Armstrong and Von Wafer have packed their bags for France, Israel and Italy.
Until the owners reach a deal with the National Basketball Players Association, we could be watching more guys taking off overseas.
So in light of NBA players bringing their talents overseas, here is a team of the top overseas players who brought their talents to the NBA.
*All players are active.
PG Steve Nash
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
2010-2011 Stats: 14.7 PPG, 11.4 APG, 3.5 RPG, 90.4 FT%
Let's kick this off with some trivia, shall we?
Which player led the entire NBA in assists at the age of 37 during the 2010-2011 season?
If you answered Steve Nash, you are correct. If you didn't answer with Steve Nash, then you need to get your head examined because this is his slide.
Quite frankly, Nash needs no introduction or explanation for why he is my choice for starting point guard. The man has two NBA MVP awards, seven All-Star selections and three first-team selections.
The fact that you can make an argument for him being the league's best point guard at 37 years old is astonishing.
Team Role: Starting point guard
SG Manu Ginobili
Birthplace: Bahia Blanca, Argentina
2010-2011 Stats: 17.4 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Few players are as clutch as Argentinean legend Manu Ginobili.
As the third head of San Antonio's three-headed monster, Manu has helped push the Spurs to three NBA championships in his 10-year career. Ginobili has always given Gregg Popovich his best effort, whether it be on offense or defense.
If you need a clutch shot or a key defensive stop, Ginobili is one of very few prime choices you can look to in the NBA today.
Team Role: Starting shooting guard
SF Dirk Nowitzki
Birthplace: Wurzburg, West Germany
2010-2011 Stats: 23.0 PPG, 2.6 APG, 7.0 RPG, 51.7 FG%
Just like his All-Overseas teammate Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki needs no explanation here.
German Moses, as the YouTube sensation Flula calls him, has solidified himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game. In 2011 he averaged over 20 points per game for the 11th time in his career, went to his 10th consecutive All-Star game and finally captured the NBA championship after leading his Mavs over the Miami Heat.
When it's all said and done, Dirk could very well be the greatest foreign-born player in the history of the NBA.
Team Role: Starting small forward, team captain
You may be asking why I have Dirk slotted at small forward. It's just a simple move to make room for another skilled seven-footer. And his name is...
PF Pau Gasol
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
2010-2011 Stats: 18.8 PPG, 3.2 APG, 9.1 RPG, 52.9 FG%
Pau Gasol was always a special star. But when he stepped into the Hollywood light, that star shined even brighter.
The 7'0" Spaniard was an All-Star talent while in Memphis and developed into the league's best big man with his move to Los Angeles. In three-and-a-half seasons with the Lakers, Gasol has averaged 18.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Pau was also the instrumental piece of the Lakers' two championships in 2009 and 2010.
Not only is Gasol one of the most skilled big men in the NBA, but he is one of the most skilled players, period.
Team Role: Starting power forward
C Al Horford
Birthplace: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
2010-2011 Stats: 15.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 9.3 RPG, 55.7 FG%
Al Horford is truly one of the NBA's fastest rising stars. The 6'10" big man has been nothing but a consistent player ever since he entered the league back in 2007.
Horford has never failed to average at least 10 points and nine rebounds per game in his four professional seasons. His field-goal percentage continues to rise every year, his scoring has gone up at a steady rate and he is quickly developing into one of the NBA's best centers.
Team Role: Starting center
Bench: G Tony Parker
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium
2010-2011 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.2 SPG
We may not know which team Tony Parker will play for if there is an NBA season. However, I know that he is a no-brainer for this one.
This 29-year-old guard has accomplished plenty in his 10 seasons as a San Antonio Spur. He is a three-time NBA champion, a three-time All-Star and was named the Finals MVP in 2007.
Parker doesn't exactly put up the prettiest numbers amongst point guards, but his basketball intelligence and pure skill make him an incredibly valuable playmaker. He can destroy teams with his fast-break game, fool defenses with his impeccable court vision and dazzle the opposition with his quick moves to the basketball.
Team Role: Second point guard
Bench: G Jose Juan Barea
Birthplace: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
2010-2011 Stats: 9.5 PPG 3.9 APG 2.0 RPG .847 FT%
Here's a contradiction if I've ever seen one. No, I'm not talking about Starburst and how it's a "juicy contradiction." I'm talking about the play of Mavs guard Jose Juan Barea.
Better known as J.J., Barea is listed at a measly 6'0" tall (a little generous if you ask me). Although he wasn't given the gift of height, Barea's play cannot be overstated. He might be a bit small, but his impact off the bench is simply huge.
J.J. provided an enormous spark off Rick Carlisle's bench and was an intricate piece in the Mavs' 2011 championship run. He dismantled teams with his deceiving moves, his impressive handle and his unbelievable quickness.
Barea's postseason work on the pick-and-roll was perhaps the most notable part of his game. He simply dismantled defenses in those situations and rarely came up short for Dallas as a playmaker off the pine.
Team Role: Second point guard or shooting guard, hell-raiser
For lack of a better term, Barea would be this team's hell-raiser.
Bench: G/F Hedo Turkoglu
Birthplace: Gaziosmanpasa, Istanbul, Turkey
2010-2011 Stats: 11.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.6 RPG, 41.0 3P%
With Hedo Turkoglu, you get a little bit of everything. The man can score, rebound, dish and play some airtight defense.
For the purposes of this team, Turkoglu's services would best be used off the bench. He can come in as a three-point shooting threat, and you can confidently throw him on the opposition's best offensive player.
Team Role: Shooter, defender off the bench
Bench: G/F Luol Deng
Birthplace: Wau, Sudan
2010-2011 Stats: 17.4 PPG, 2.8 APG, 5.8 RPG, 46.0 FG%
Luol Deng has always been a hot commodity in the NBA. He hasn't chalked up incredible numbers or proven himself to be one of the best this game has to offer. But Deng seems to be heading in the right direction after his 2010-2011 season.
As an intricate piece in the Bulls' 62-win season, Deng served as a steady and reliable scoring dose for Tom Thibodeau. He played a career-high 39.1 minutes per game, started all 82 games and averaged a very respectable 17.4 points per.
Team Role: Second shooting guard or small forward, providing both steady offense and above-average defense
Bench: F Luis Scola
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
2010-2011 Stats: 18.3 PPG, 2.5 APG, 8.2 RPG, 50.4 FG%
If Luis Scola isn't the most underrated player in the NBA, he has to be pretty damn close to it. Houston's largest Argentinean was arguably the Rockets' most valuable player over the last two seasons. From 2009 to 2011, Scola has averaged 17.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He has also shot the ball at an efficient rate, averaging a 51.5 percent clip in his career.
With Yao Ming out, Scola has provided the Houston Rockets with a credible presence down low.
Team Role: Second power forward
Bench: F/C Marc Gasol
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
2010-2011 Stats: 11.7 PPG, 2.5 APG, 7.0 RPG, 1.7 BPG
When and if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, Marc Gasol may be the most sought-after commodity on the free-agent market. He has incredible power, a towering stature and a better toolbox than most of the NBA's centers. Marc has averaged 12.6 points, 7.8 boards and 1.4 blocks per game over his brief three-year career.
He might be a bit raw as of now, but Pau's little brother could be challenging him very soon.
Team Role: Third center or power forward
Bench: C Nene
Birthplace: Sao Carlos, Brazil
2010-2011 Stats: 14.5 PPG, 2.0 APG, 7.6 RPG, 61.5 FG%
Speaking of underrated players, I'd like to introduce you to Nene.
As the man in the middle for Denver, Nene has become a force to be reckoned with. His numbers aren't exactly sparkling ones, but his performance in the low post shouldn't be overlooked.
The Brazilian center turned in one of his best seasons yet during the 2010-2011 campaign. He missed his career high in points by a tenth of a point, his rebound mark by two-tenths and his block mark by three-tenths. But he did reach a new career high in field-goal percentage with a ridiculous 61.5 percent.
Team Role: Second center
G Jose Calderon, Spain
G Ben Gordon, Great Britain
G Leandro Barbosa, Brazil
F Andrei Kirilenko, Russia
F Carlos Boozer, West Germany
F Serge Ibaka, Congo
C Marcin Gortat, Poland
C Andrew Bogut, Australia