It's not exactly news that international players have become a fixture in the NBA. But from time to time that fact comes across in eye-opening fashion, as was the case last week when I took in the Chicago Bulls-Toronto Raptors game at the United Center. At one point, seven of the 10 players on the floor were non-Americans, and it could've been eight except that the Bulls'
It's not like teams don't become champions until they have marquee foreign-born players. The Los Angeles Lakers won three straight titles from 2000-02 with only two international players (Canada's
But several contenders in recent years seem to have a roster full of internationals -- some, of course, coming from the U.S. college system -- and that got me to thinking about which teams right now are getting the most out of them.
Boston, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana and New York are the only teams right now without a foreign player (the Pistons have Senegalese rookie
To calculate which 10 teams are doing the best job capitalizing on international talent, I comprised a point system to rate the international players:
10--Elite Player (EP)
It's worth noting that there were some tough calls assigning a PR or SC to certain players. Herewith, the results, based largely on this season's performance:
It's no surprise to find the Spurs here. Their scouting system is impeccable, they've had stupendous luck (with Parker and Ginobili) and coach
No surprise to find Phoenix here, either. When the