Top 10 Non-US Players In The 2014 FIBA World Cup

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In order to avoid a full Top10 list of US players for the upcoming 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup here is a Top 10 Non-US players list. The Spanish squad has also been excluded from the list because this generation is a powerhouse in European and International basketball and it wouldn’t be fair to have more than five players from one national team on this list. So, lets get started.

10. Dario Saric, Croatia – SF/PF 6’10” 230lb

This is one of the most intriguing players of this year’s World Cup because he has dominated all big domestic competitions and had crazy numbers in the Adriatic League Finals against Cedevita Zagreb (23 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks) and was voted the MVP of the tournament. All of this at the age of 20. He was drafted by the Orlando Magic in this year’s draft, but he will not immediately join the NBA as he signed a multiple year contract with Turkish side Anadolu Efes. He can virtually play all positions from SG to C, but he is feeling most comfortable at PF.

9. Marcelinho Huertas, Brazil – PG/SG 6’3” 205lb 

Currently playing for Barcelona in the Spanish ACB league serving as a starting point guard alongside Juan Carlos Navarro in the team’s backcourt. He has excelled at the Olympic Games in London where he not only put good numbers for the Cariocas, but he also made Tiago Splitter a constant threat in the paint. He will matchup against the Spaniards in the opening stage of the tournament and try to dominate France with the absence of Tony Parker.

 

8. Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania – C 7’0” 240lb

The first representative that currently plays in the NBA on this list. He is still a very young center and the expectations from him were huge, but he has finally adapted to the NBA gameplay and we can expect bigger things from him on International stage because there is less pressure than before so he can play more freely and he has proven that he can do that. Just watch this powerful dunk against LeBron earlier this year.

7. Carlos Arroyo, Puerto Rico – PG 6’2” 200lb

When you measure how important are some players for their national team then clearly Arroyo can top the list. He plays together with Barea on this squad, but Arroyo is the true spirit of the team in the past decade. He has vast experience in the NBA and has led Turkish side Galatasaray to the Euroleague Playoffs in the past season where they faced Spanish giants Barcelona.

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece – SF/PF 6’11” 217lb

The Greek Freak has proven to be one of the top talents in Europe with his play for the Milwaukee Bucks last season. He is currently in the best physical shape than most of the players on this list and the interesting thing is that he is still growing, so can maybe finish this tournament at 7’0”. Even more interesting is that coach Kidd tried to play Giannis on the PG position during this year’s NBA summer league. Can you imagine a 7’0” point guard with great technique and handling skills? Well here it is:

5. Luis Scola, Argentina – PF/C 6’9” 240lb

With the Argentinian side facing change of generations, Luis Scola will be the leader of this year’s squad at the World Cup. He will have the support of Priggioni at the PG position, but Scola will surely be the scoring and rebounding leader of his team. Don’t forget that Luis was one of the most prolific scorers on that position in European and International basketball and he still has the skills. Proof of that was the latest FIBA America tournament where he averaged 20 points per game. With Manu Ginobilli out of the tournament expect Scola to take things in his own hands.

4. Kostas Papanikolaou, Greece – SF/SG 6’9” 230lb

Papanikolaou is 24 years old and he has already won 2 Euroleague, 1 Greece League and 1 Spanish ACB League titles; feat that not that many players have achieved in their whole career. He was also an important part of the Olympiacos team between 2009-2013 and had some mind blowing plays during the 2012 Euroleague Final Four. All of that resulted with him being drafted by the NY Knicks in 2012 and after couple of trades his rights ended up in Houston where he will serve as a backup SF for Trevor Ariza. He also played for Barcelona last season where he didn’t got that many shots because Navarro and Lorbek were still on the team, but did great job on defense and was a crucial part of the 13 game run with no defeat of his team.

3. Milos Teodosic, Serbia – PG 6’5” 195lb

One of the best undrafted players of his generation that has proven that he is worthy of the NBA with his terrific performances in the Euroleague for Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow over the past five seasons. When you combine the floor vision of Ricky Rubio and that killer instinct of Damian Lillard in the duying moments of the game alongside with tremendous passing, technique and perimeter shooting you will get a player like Milos Teodosic. He didn’t have the best season for CSKA due to injury issues, but this is probably the best time for him to come back with great style.

2. Nicolas Batum, France – SF 6’8” 200lb

Without Tony Parker for this World Cup, France will need a new leader and the logical choice is one of the most all around players coming out of Europe in the past five seasons. He had a great season for the Portland Trailblazers helping the team qualify for the NBA Playoffs. At the age of 25 he has built up tremendous experience and is considered a elite defender. His attack on Juan Carlos Navarro during the 2012 Olympic tournament just shows how much experience he has under his belt.

1. Goran Dragic, Slovenia – PG 6’3” 190lb

One of the most underrated players that came out of Europe in the NBA. He proved everybody wrong with his great season at Phoenix, a team that was projected to finish dead last in the Western Conference and finished the season with over .500 W/L ratio getting very close to the NBA playoffs. Dragic was the leader of that team and was voted as the NBA Most Improved Player for the season at the same time being a part of the All-NBA Third Team.

 

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