Just in case you had any doubt the NBA is a global league at the forefront of a global game…
There are a record 92 foreign players on NBA rosters to start the season hailing from 39 countries, the league announced. That is more than 20 percent of the league. The number is up from 84 players last season, and only three teams do not have a foreign player on the roster.
The numbers have grown as other countries have improved their basketball development programs, while at the same time NBA teams have invested more in scouting overseas looking for gems.
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As you might expect France, which just won the European Championships this summer behind Tony Parker, has the most NBA players with 10 (Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Evan Fournier are among the others). Canada now has an impressive eight players, from Steve Nash to the last No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett (and they could add next year’s No. 1 pick as well if that holds to form).
The team with the most foreign players… of course it’s the Spurs with seven. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili are all keys to that team and are foreign born.
Other big names include Kyrie Irving (he has dual United States and Australian citizenship), Serge Ibaka (Congo), Al Horford (Dominican Republic), Dirk Nowtizki (Germany), Luol Deng (Great Britain), and finally Spain gives us Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio.
PBT Podcast: Looking ahead at the NBA playoffs second round
Boston vs. Milwaukee. Philadelphia vs. Toronto. Houston vs. Golden State.
The first round of the NBA playoffs had plenty of emotion — just ask Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook — but it was short, with very possibly only one series going at least six games.
The second round? That’s not going to be so quick, and it is filled with even matchups that present a lot of questions.
Is this the Rockets’ year? They have the formula, can they execute it? The Bucks were the best team in the regular season, but can they carry that elite level into the second round against Boston? Is Toronto the team to beat?
Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports/Real GM/Celticsblog to look ahead at the second round, and even talk a little about what is next for Oklahoma City.
Sebastian Telfair – a high school phenom from Coney Island, N.Y. – was the No. 13 pick in the 2004 NBA draft. He never lived up to the hype, but he still stuck in the NBA for 10 seasons, with the Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, Suns, Celtics, Clippers, Thunder, Raptors and Cavaliers.
He got arrested in 2017 for gun crimes and just his lost his trial.
They’re all only borderline first-round picks. Though I think at least one will get picked in the opening round, this could be the first NBA draft without a senior selected in the first round.
Like most drafts in this era, the top prospects are largely underclassmen. They had to declare for the draft by Sunday. Some will definitely stay in. Others will withdraw by the NBA’s deadline (June 10) or, more importantly, the NCAA’s deadline to retain eligibility (May 29). Unlike previous years, players can hire agents while retaining college eligibility. But they had to enter the pool by now to stay in.
Here are all 2019 early entrants, players who came through the American system followed by international players:
Lakers president Magic Johnson reportedly planned to fire coach Luke Walton and wanted to fire general manager Rob Pelinka. Instead, Johnson resigned with a stunning public announcement without first telling owner Jeanie Buss. Pelinka, who has many detractors throughout the league, is now in charge of the front office. The Lakers reportedly offered to keep Walton, but he bolted for the Kings. The Lakers have no coach. They do have a roster LeBron James described as “[fart noise].” Johnson will reportedly help the team recruit free agents.
Nearly one year after signing LeBron James, the Lakers are a mess.
I think it’s very precarious right now. I think the trust that LeBron James has in the Lakers organization has been damaged – maybe irrevocably. I’m not saying it can’t be repaired. But right now, there’s a tough bridge that has fallen that’s going to be need to be put back together. And that’s going to have to be a proving ground for Jeanie Buss, for Rob Pelinka, for Kurt Rambis, for Linda Rambis – whoever else is involved in this process now. And there’s going to be an initial thing proven with whoever is hired as the coach and then this summer.
LeBron, via Instagram:
Even if LeBron has lost confidence in the Lakers, his denial is important. It means he doesn’t want to escalate this issue.
LeBron, for good reason, holds extreme confidence in himself. I’m sure he believes, as long the Lakers have him, they’ll be alright.
But he can’t do everything, and he knows that, too. He often held the Cavaliers’ feet to the fire. He signed a series of short-term contracts, creating the threat of departure. He demanded Dan Gilbert spend more. He, often passive-aggressively, called on executives, coaches and teammates to perform better.
LeBron hasn’t shown that same urgency in Los Angeles, starting with locking in for three years – longer than any contract in his return to Cleveland.
Maybe this is an older and more mature LeBron trying to present steadiness amid chaos.
Or maybe this is yet another sign LeBron went to Los Angeles with priorities other than winning. After all, the Lakers’ shoddy operation won’t prevent him from enjoying his L.A. lifestyle and Hollywood proximity.