The NBA has opened its doors and allowed players from all over the world to make it to the U.S. Now more than ever, the game is global and prospects from overseas are getting plenty of attention, something that didn't happen that often back in the day.
Then again, not every European or foreign prospect makes it in the NBA, as FIBA basketball and NBA basketball are just way too different. As a matter of fact, hoops purists don't often enjoy the NBA because of the lack of defensive commitment and isolation offense.
That's the case with former NBA player and current coach Dino Rada, who believes that FIBA basketball is superior because of the concepts and fundamentals. He went as far as to explain how easy it was for Serbia to completely lock down Giannis Antetokounmpo by just playing smart basketball:
“They don’t play defense in the NBA, and you come to Europe with five guys who know what they are doing. They close your penetration; they don’t let you rebound in the offense … By chance, we played against Greece in the qualifications for the Olympic Games, and that was the tactic. Back then, Giannis was also a good player, he was not an MVP, but he was at the very top. Don’t let him penetrate, block him, and don’t let him receive the ball in the fastbreak. Everything else he gives, let him. He gave us four points," Rada said, as quoted by Basketball Network.
Rada added that Russell Westbrook wouldn't be able to succeed in Europe because of the way he plays the game, which is a bit of a bold take considering his résumé:
“To me, that Westbrook guy … Bring him to Barcelona, CSKA, or Barcelona and tell him to be the European champion … That has no chance of happening," he concluded.
Basketball fans should learn to appreciate both styles. You rarely see great athletes in FIBA basketball as you see in the NBA, but in terms of basketball IQ and fundamentals, there's no denying that FIBA has a huge edge. Then again, great players will be great regardless of where they play.