The NBA used to be an American-only league. It was extremely difficult for foreign players to make their way to the league, something that has changed throughout the course of the years as the world keeps expanding through technology.
It’s getting more common to see top-tier European, Canadian, African, and even South American prospects make the NBA right now. Players from Australia, Spain, Serbia, and even Japan are taking their talents to the U.S regularly nowadays.
That’s part of the beauty of the NBA, that’s one of the many reasons why it brings people together all over the world. But if it were up to you, which five players would you draft to create the ultimate international team? Let’s have some fun and build or foreign team with a $15 budget:
$5 – Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic, Pascal Siakam, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid
$5 Tier features the cream of the crop. Top-notch players that could turn a franchise around and lead them towards Championship contention, so choose wisely, as it’ll be your building block for the future.
First, we find one of the best playmakers the league has ever seen in Ben Simmons. Add great physical traits, lateral quickness, and terrific defensive instincts and you’ll have the ultimate point guard. Shooting is going to be an issue with him but he’ll make everybody else better and can guard one through five.
Then, we have Luka Doncic, the kid that took the league by the horns in the blink of an eye, and that just keeps getting better and better. Doncic has plenty of Larry Bird in his game, although he’s far from him in terms of defense. He’s a walking triple-double threat.
If you’re looking for a hard-working forward that’ll continue to develop his game as years go by, then Pascal Siakam is your guy. His grit, grind, effort, and hustle have turned him into an outstanding two-way player and a franchise cornerstone right before our eyes. He’s a poor man’s Kevin Garnett if you will.
But if we talk about continuous improvement then Giannis Antetokounmpo has to be at the top of that conversation. The Greek Freak somehow keeps on adding numbers to the stat sheet as years go by and it seems like he’ll be a perennial MVP and DPOY candidate even if he never becomes a reliable shooter.
Last, but not least, the $5 tier has Joel Embiid at center. Embiid may be the most talented big man we’ve seen in ages if we take into account that he hasn’t been playing basketball for that long. He’s got elite footwork and athleticism and can do it all on both ends of the floor. The only thing that could hold him back is health.
$4 – Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Andrew Wiggins, Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokic
$4 Tier has four players that could still become marquee names in the league. Some of them have superstar potential while others could become the perfect second gunner on any contending team.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has proved that he was the ultimate sleeper in last year’s Draft. His defense is far ahead of schedule and is now blossoming into a volume scorer as well. He can also run the point and rack up assists at a high rate when needed.
Bogdan Bogdanovic has had some tough lock thus far. Injuries aside, he’s got that Toni Kukoc kind of skill set, although he lacks his size. Bogdan can put the ball on the floor, knock down shots from deep, create for others, and isn’t as bad as a defender as people think he is.
It’s pretty safe to say that Andrew Wiggins never lived up to the expectations. He hasn’t improved the slightly since his rookie year in terms of shot selection or adding range to his game but there’s no denying that he’s a gifted athlete that could still play a huge part on a championship team.
We find Kristaps Porzingis at the power forward spot. The Unicorn became a fan favorite in the league for his Dirk Nowitzki-ish shooting and scoring ability combined with a defensive ability that no one knew he had in him. Health will always be an issue.
And if you’re looking for a guy that could run the offense, knock down threes, grab some boards, and dominate in the paint; then you must lean towards Nikola Jokic: the ultimate point center. He won’t give you much in the defensive end but he’ll keep your fans off their feet with his crafty passes and court vision.
$3 – Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield, Bojan Bogdanovic, Domantas Sabonis, Rudy Gobert
$3 Tier features five players that could round up the perfect Big 3 depending on which players you’ve taken above. All of them can step up any given night and become an X-Factor in the playoffs.
We don’t talk enough about Jamal Murray. The Canadian sharpshooter isn’t a pass-first kind of point guard but he can run the offense if needed. Still, it seems like his most underrated trait is his defense. He’s strong and quick enough to hold his own vs. other guards.
Buddy Hield never became the James Harden 2.0 people saw in him but he’s still a solid spot-up, catch-and-shoot, pull-up kind of scorer. He doesn’t even need to dribble to score but if you give him room to operate, he’ll embarrass you, you can count on that.
Bojan Bogdanovic is the ultimate shooter. If your team needs size, a pesky, smart veteran with a high basketball IQ, and a huge threat from beyond the arc, then he’s your guy. Also, he became a solid stopper all of a sudden, even guarding LeBron James from time to time.
We find Domantas Sabonis at the power forward spot. Like his father Arvydas, Domantas is a great facilitator and has a nice court vision for a guy of his size. He’s also an efficient volume scorer and rebounder in the paint, although he lacks the range of modern fours.
And if you’re in desperate need of a guy that could anchor your defense, then Rudy Gobert is the obvious move. The Stifle Tower is the league’s most prominent rim protector and his offense has also made great strides. He’s a huge threat above the rim and in the pick and roll.
$2 – Goran Dragic, RJ Barrett, Danilo Gallinari, Al Horford, Nikola Vucevic
$2 Tier has players that could make a huge difference any given night. They will have to embrace a lesser role with your squad but are talented enough to make a huge impact on both ends of the floor.
Goran Dragic is a great leader. He’s a crafty scorer and playmaker that can get hot in the blink of an eye, and even if he’s not much of a good defender, he’s never going to back down from a challenge. Make no mistake, he’ll get physical if he needs to.
RJ Barrett had a somewhat underwhelming rookie year but the talent is clearly there. He’s a gifted athlete that could blossom into an elite player under the proper guidance. It’s still early to tell how he’s going to turn out but he’s worthy of some patience.
The small forward spot is filled by Danilo Gallinari, a guy who’s often been overlooked because of his countless struggles with injuries. When healthy, Gallo is an elite shooter at both forward positions and his size makes him very tough to deal with for opposing defenses.
If you’re looking for an intelligent player, a versatile defender, playmaker, and the ultimate screen-setter, then you must go with Al Horford. He does all the little things a team needs to win and he can also score in bunches if you let him get hot.
Nikola Vucevic isn’t much of a physical presence below the rim as a defender but he’s an unstoppable scorer and rebounder, especially in the offensive end. If you’re looking for a pick-and-roll threat and already have enough stoppers on your team, then he’s your guy.
$1 – Dennis Schroder, Evan Fournier, Davis Bertans, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol
And last, but not least, $1 tier features the five guys that could turn your team from a good squad into a championship contender.
Dennis Schroder has already proven his worth as a playmaker and defender but he’s finally taken a step forward as a scorer as well. He will wait until he gets his turn but once his hand gets hot, there’s no slowing him down.
The same can be said of Evan Fournier. He’s used to taking a step back but that has rounded up his game pretty well. He can create off the dribble, facilitate for others, and score from all three levels at a high clip.
If you already have enough defense and scorers but lack a gunner, then Davis Bertans is your man. He has one job and he’ll get it done: knocking down three-pointers. He’s as efficient as they come from beyond the arc.
But if you have put together an offensive juggernaut and lack a strong presence in the paint, then you should turn your attention towards Serge Ibaka. He’s still a disruptive rim protector and even added range to his offense.
Marc Gasol at $1 is the ultimate bargain. He’s one of the smartest players in the world, a former Defensive Player of the Year, and was used to letting the offense flow through him as well. He’ll do whatever it takes to win.
Our team: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Bojan Bogdanovic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Danilo Gallinari, Marc Gasol