We pick the best players in the NBA not from the United States – for any of you who think Yao should be on this list, he’s out for the season and maybe for his career, so we’ll leave him out of this list. So here they are, the All-NBA non-American team, the best non Americans currently playing in the NBA –
Steve Nash, Canada
A man of many international touches – Nash was born in South Africa to a Welsh mother and an English father and then moved to Canada. Nash, since moving back to Phoenix in 2004 has become one of the best players in the league, winning the MVP twice in 2005 and 2006. Nash is ninth all time in total assists, fifth in three point percentage and second all time in free throw percentage. He will be starting his sixth straight season with the Phoenix Suns this year.
Tony Parker, France
You don’t get to be on the cover of NBA LIVE if you aren’t good, and Tony Parker, especially in the last 3 seasons, has become very good. He’s not the best point guard in the league but he’s the one with the most titles. Parker, as part of the Duncan-Ginobili-Duncan trio of the San Antonio Spurs has one three NBA titles (2003,2005,2007) and in 2007 he got the Finals MVP award. This last season Parker recorded career-best averages in scoring (22 ppg) and assists (6.9). Like Nash, heritage is from all over – He was born in Belgium, to an American father and a Dutch mother.
Hedo Turkoglu, Turkey.
Turkoglu made quite a few zigs and zags this summer, but the Turkish player who will be starting his 10th NBA season this fall/winter (depends on where you are in the world) as a Tornto Raptors player. Turkoglu Has really started blooming only in th last two season, playing with the Orlando Magic and being a major part in last season’s run to the NBA finals for only the second time in the franchises history. He averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season.
Dirk Nowitzki, Germany
The 2007 NBA regular season MVP is the first European-born player to win that award and so far the only one to do that. Dirk Nowitzki is in my eyes the best European ever to play in the NBA, although the league title has not been achieved by him, yet.
Nowitzki is the Dallas Mavericks all time leader in points, rebounds, field goals, three pointers and free throws made. He has played for the Dallas Mavericks since 1998 and reached the NBA finals once in his career, 2006, losing to the Miami Heat 4-2 after leading 2-0.
Pau Gasol, Spain
Although only 21 when he came to the NBA, Gasol was already considered one of the biggest talents in Europe and he didn’t need any adapting time, winning the Rookie of the year award in 2002, playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. Gasol enjoyed seven successful seasons with the Grizzlies, at least personally. He did reach the playoffs three times with the team, but failed to win a game in the post season. The trade that sent him to the Lakers in 2008 changed that for him. He reached the NBA finals in 2008, losing to the Celtics and won it last year against the Orlando Magic.
Gasol has career averages of 18.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and is still the Grizzlies all time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, games and minutes played.