With the Summer Olympics here, that means basketball is back! You know the USA players, and you may recognize some of the names of players from other countries. But what about the guys you don’t know? Well, here are 10 players from different teams that should stand out in international play (along with reference to relevant teammates).
The only non-USA team unreferenced is Venezuela — by far the worst team in the field who will be without its best player in Greivis Vasquez.
Yi was a lottery pick back in 2007, so he’s got plenty of skill. Obviously, he was a bust, but he did average 12 points one season for the Nets before fizzling out of the league. By far China’s most athletic and talented player, Jianlin recently had 18 points and 7 boards in an exhibition matchup vs. USA. Wang Zhelin and Zhou Qi are recent NBA second-round picks that can be difference makers.
Nigeria has NBA talent in Ike Diogu and Michael Gbinije, but Oguchi can be a volume scorer for them. He’s not efficient, but he isn’t shy about getting his shots up, which is a good thing for your DFS roster. Oguchi scored 21 in exhibition play against the US and should do a lot of his damage in group play from downtown.
Andrew Bogut is the biggest name on Australia, and should be a solid play. But there are much better options like Ingles. The 28-year old member of the Utah Jazz is going to be the primary option on the wing, so don’t pay attention to his 4.2 PPG last season. The Patty Mills/Mathew Dellavedova guard combo is sure to be productive as well, but as point guards, they’ll also be looking for Ingles.
Barbosa and Nene are the big names. They still have significant roles for Brazil because of how thin the roster is, but they’re also getting way up there in age. Neto, another Jazz product, averaged 5.9 points and 2.1 assists in the NBA last season, but he could easily be Brazil’s most important piece.
Super Mario wreaks havoc in international play — a huge reason the Magic selected him 5th overall in 2015. Croatia has some solid NBA talent in Bojan Bogdanovic and Dario Saric (a former lottery pick by the 76ers who will be coming to the NBA this season). But Hezonja made a star of himself with this style of play, and won’t be shy about trying to take over games and get his shots up.
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nikola Jokic are solid NBA talents worth considering, but Teodosic is the engine that makes Serbia go. The 29-year old point guard is a good scoring threat, particularly from the outside, but always prefers dissecting a defense and finding the open man. Serbia will rely heavily on him.
Obviously, you know Scola by now. He’s coming off one of his worst season’s in the NBA and is kind of an afterthought with a name like Manu Ginobili on the roster. But Scola is a BEAST in international play and could be the team’s leading scorer. Don’t forget about former NBA player Andres Nocioni who has plenty of success in his past.
Jonas Valanciunas is the clear stud for Lithuania. He’s going to be the go-to-guy and the defensive/rebounding anchor. But Sabonis (the 11th overall pick out of Gonzaga by the Magic/traded to the Thunder) is going to impress you. At nearly 7-feet, he can leave the work down low to Valanciunas and play on the perimeter when he chooses. He’s also an excellent rebounder. Watch out for Sabonis.
France has plenty of names you know. Mostly Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw. Gobert, however, will be the most important player. What’s the big rule difference in international play? You can touch the ball when it’s above the rim or on the cylinder. Gobert can practically do this without leaving the ground. He could really rack up the blocks and rebounds, and easily finish against smaller teams (AKA not USA, Spain, Lithuania).
Juan Carlos Navarro
Spain is always loaded with studs and the biggest threat to Team USA. The whole roster has at least had a cup of coffee in the NBA, and some have been around for years. We’ll see if Pau Gasol can still be the star at his age, but Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic and Rudy Fernandez are there to help (just to name a few). The best “under the radar” name I can give you is Navarro. The former NBA All Rookie Second-Teamer with the Grizzlies has several international MVP awards in different leagues and is a proven player, but not a big name.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.