There’s an Iranian player in the NBA, although you’d hardly know it by looking at most Memphis Grizzlies box scores. He played in only 36 games for Memphis last season, and most of his minutes came in garbage time.
But at the FIBA World Championships, Hamed Haddadi is a star.
He has been averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds and almost four blocks a game for Iran so far in the tournament. Heck the 7’2″ center is even 4 of 12 from three. He will be his team’s go-to guy when they take on the USA Thursday.
Haddadi will have a big height advantage going against Lamar Odom, and based on Odom’s recent play, Iran should go right at him. Look for Tyson Chandler and — one can hope — Kevin Love to get their chances against him.
Iran is not going to hang with the USA — they are horribly outmatched from 1 to 12. But Haddadi might open a few eyes in Memphis and earn himself a few more minutes when the NBA season rolls around. Then again, this isn’t Haddadi’s first rodeo; he’s succeeded on the international stage before, but has struggled to find playing time in the NBA nonetheless.