Assembling an all-international NBA roster, inspired by a Nicolas Batum tweet
Spoiler alert: Budding stars like Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid did not make the cut here
Nicolas Batum wanted to put Twitter to the test. Everybody knows the United States is the world's dominant basketball country, but the rest of the world has talent and is catching up. So he asked his followers to perform a simple exercise. Form an NBA team of 10. One starting unit and a backup unit, but they all have to be of different nationalities.
Chris Barnewall and Jack Maloney decided to take part in his exercise, put together teams consisting of 10 players from different nationalities. The only rule: Positions need to make sense. Example: the entire bench couldn't be a list of big men.
Breakdown: This exercise wasn't as easy as it may appear. The initial approach was just pulling the best players from each country and forming a team. However, that would have left a team of nothing but big men and Kevin Durant or LeBron James. The rest of the world is absolutely stacked in the front court. Incredibly talented bigs like Tristan Thompson and Joel Embiid were ultimately left off.
Thompson was on the team at first, but Wiggins was a better choice because Canada should be represented on today's international scene and there were just too many bigs to choose from elsewhere. The amount of bigs opened spots for guards and wings like Batum and Mills. Is it a perfect team? Not by any means, but ultimately one to be satisfied with.
One of the other really tough decisions had to go with which American got picked. Durant got the nod because he just won a title while taking on a huge defensive role for the Warriors.
Jack Maloney's picks: Ah, early August. Free agency has mostly come and gone, but we're still a ways away from training camp. Luckily, Batum logged onto the social media website we all know and love, Twitter, to post a fascinating question.
So, here we are picking our squads using 10 different nationalities. The dilemma was the lack of depth at wing internationally, coupled with the abundance of frontcourt talent.
Plus, there were countries where more than one player made sense. For example, Rudy Gobert was the knee-jerk pick for France, before realizing Batum would be a useful on the wing off the bench. Then there was Spain, where Ricky Rubio worked as a backup point guard and Marc Gasol made sense as the backup center. The picks:
Breakdown: Look at that starting lineup. It's beautiful. Dragic is criminally underrated and tough as nails at the point. Wiggins is an excellent scorer and quietly a very solid catch-and-shoot 3-point guy, knocking down over 40 percent of his opportunities in that area. James is James. Antetokounmpo is Antetokounmpo. Gobert is the best defensive big man in the league.
The bench may be a little awkward with two point guards and three big men, but with the versatility of Gallinari and Horford it could work -- especially on the offensive end. With Rubio running the show, Mills spotting up for open 3-pointers, Gallinari and Horford spreading the floor as bigs, and Jokic's creativity, this group would be really tough to stop.
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