The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday announced that 107 international players from 41 countries are on opening-night rosters for the 2020-21 season, including a record 17 Canadian players and a record-tying 14 African players. This marks the seventh consecutive season that opening-night rosters feature at least 100 international players. All 30 teams have at least one international player.
In addition to the 107 international players on 2020-21 opening-night rosters, there are 10 international players from a record-tying eight countries on “two-way” contracts, allowing them to play in up to 50 NBA games this season.
For the seventh consecutive year, Canada (17 players) is the most-represented country outside of the U.S., followed by France (nine players), Australia (eight players), Serbia and Germany (six players each).
The Washington Wizards have an NBA-high seven international players. The Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets each have six, while the New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors each have five.
The 2020-21 NBA season begins tonight with a doubleheader as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off 2020. The first game features the Brooklyn Nets hosting the Golden State Warriors at 2 a.m. CAT. In the second game, the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the LA Clippers at 5 a.m. CAT.
A record 34 players on opening-night rosters participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) prior to starting their NBA careers, surpassing the previous record of 30 set in 2019-20. Former BWB campers include Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Jamal Murray (Nuggets; Canada; BWB Global 2015) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012). BWB is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that has seen 76 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents since 2001.
In addition to the 107 international players on 2020-21 opening-night rosters, there are 10 international players from a record-tying eight countries on “two-way” contracts, allowing them to play in up to 50 NBA games this season. There are also a number of American players with ties to other countries, including more than 30 players with at least one parent from Africa. Among the American players with ties to other countries are Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz; ties to the Philippines), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers; ties to Nigeria), Matisse Thybulle (76ers; ties to Australia and Haiti) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves; ties to the Dominican Republic).
The records for international players (113) and countries and territories represented (42) were set at the start of the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, respectively.
Below please find international player milestones and storylines for the upcoming season:
- A record six international players were named to the 2019-20 All-NBA Team: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; ties to Nigeria; All-NBA First Team); Luka Dončić (Mavericks; Slovenia; All-NBA First Team); Nikola Jokić (Nuggets; Serbia; All-NBA Second Team); Siakam (All-NBA Second Team); Rudy Gobert (Jazz; France; All-NBA Third Team); and Ben Simmons (76ers; Australia; All-NBA Third Team).
- There are 14 international players on opening-night rosters who have been NBA All-Stars: Antetokounmpo, Dončić, Goran Dragić (Miami Heat; Slovenia), Embiid, Marc Gasol (Lakers; Spain), Gobert, Al Horford (Oklahoma City Thunder; Dominican Republic), Kyrie Irving (Nets; Australia), Jokić, Kristaps Porzingis (Mavericks; Latvia), Domantas Sabonis (Pacers; Lithuania), Siakam, Simmons and Nikola Vučević (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).
- As part of the NBA.com 2020-2021 GM Survey (http://on.nba.com/3nKFFhY), Antetokounmpo and Dončić were voted the No. 1 and No. 2 players most likely to win 2020-21 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player (32% and 21% of votes, respectively), and tied for the No. 1 player with whom general managers would most want to start a franchise (43% of votes each). For the second straight season, Jokić was voted the best center in the NBA (50% of votes).
- Deni Avdija, who became the highest-drafted Israeli player ever when he was selected ninth overall by the Washington Wizards in the NBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm®, is scheduled to make his regular-season debut when the Wizards visit the 76ers on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass.
- Killian Hayes, who became the highest-drafted French player ever when he was selected seventh overall by the Detroit Pistons, is scheduled to make his regular-season debut when the Pistons visit the Timberwolves on Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass.
- Nine players from or with at least one parent from Nigeria were selected in NBA Draft 2020, including Precious Achiuwa (Heat; Nigeria) and Udoka Azubuike (Jazz; Nigeria).
Below please find the full list of international players on 2020-21 opening-night rosters (active and inactive):
|Country||Name||Team||Ties to Other Countries**|
|Angola||Bruno Fernando||Atlanta Hawks|
|Argentina||Facundo Campazzo*||Denver Nuggets|
|Australia||Aron Baynes||Toronto Raptors|
|Australia||Matthew Dellavedova||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Australia||Danté Exum||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Australia||Josh Green||Dallas Mavericks|
|Australia||Joe Ingles||Utah Jazz|
|Australia||Kyrie Irving||Brooklyn Nets|
|Australia||Patty Mills||San Antonio Spurs|
|Australia||Ben Simmons||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Austria||Jakob Poeltl||San Antonio Spurs|
|Bahamas||Buddy Hield||Sacramento Kings|
|Bahamas||Deandre Ayton*||Phoenix Suns||Nigeria|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Jusuf Nurkić||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Brazil||Bruno Caboclo*||Houston Rockets|
|Brazil||Cristiano Felicio||Chicago Bulls|
|Brazil||Raul Neto||Washington Wizards|
|Cameroon||Joel Embiid*||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Cameroon||Pascal Siakam*||Toronto Raptors|
|Canada||Nickeil Alexander-Walker||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Canada||RJ Barrett*||New York Knicks|
|Canada||Khem Birch||Orlando Magic|
|Canada||Ignas Brazdeikis*||New York Knicks||Lithuania|
|Canada||Dillon Brooks||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Canada||Brandon Clarke||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Canada||Luguentz Dort*||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Canada||Cory Joseph||Sacramento Kings||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Canada||Mfiondu Kabengele||LA Clippers||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Canada||Trey Lyles||San Antonio Spurs|
|Canada||Mychal Mulder||Golden State Warriors|
|Canada||Jamal Murray*||Denver Nuggets|
|Canada||Kelly Olynyk*||Miami Heat|
|Canada||Dwight Powell||Dallas Mavericks|
|Canada||Tristan Thompson||Boston Celtics||Jamaica|
|Canada||Andrew Wiggins||Golden State Warriors|
|Canada||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander*||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Croatia||Bojan Bogdanović||Utah Jazz|
|Croatia||Luka Šamanić*||San Antonio Spurs|
|Croatia||Dario Šarić*||Phoenix Suns|
|Croatia||Ivica Zubac||LA Clippers|
|Czech Republic||Tomáš Satoranský*||Chicago Bulls|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Bismack Biyombo||Charlotte Hornets|
|Dominican Republic||Al Horford||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Egypt||Abdel Nader||Phoenix Suns|
|Finland||Lauri Markkanen*||Chicago Bulls|
|France||Nicolas Batum*||LA Clippers||Cameroon|
|France||Sekou Doumbouya*||Detroit Pistons||Guinea|
|France||Evan Fournier||Orlando Magic||Algeria|
|France||Rudy Gobert||Utah Jazz|
|France||Killian Hayes*||Detroit Pistons|
|France||Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot||Brooklyn Nets||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|France||Théo Maledon||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|France||Frank Ntilikina*||New York Knicks|
|France||Vincent Poirier||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Gabon||Chris Silva||Miami Heat|
|Georgia||Goga Bitadze*||Indiana Pacers|
|Germany||Isaac Bonga*||Washington Wizards|
|Germany||Isaiah Hartenstein*||Denver Nuggets|
|Germany||Maxi Kleber||Dallas Mavericks|
|Germany||Dennis Schröder||Los Angeles Lakers||The Gambia|
|Germany||Daniel Theis||Boston Celtics|
|Germany||Moritz Wagner||Washington Wizards|
|Greece||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||Nigeria|
|Greece||Thanasis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||Nigeria|
|Israel||Deni Avdija*||Washington Wizards|
|Italy||Danilo Gallinari*||Atlanta Hawks|
|Italy||Nicolò Melli||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Jamaica||Nick Richards||Charlotte Hornets|
|Japan||Rui Hachimura*||Washington Wizards||Benin|
|Latvia||Davis Bertans||Washington Wizards|
|Latvia||Anžejs Pasečņiks*||Washington Wizards|
|Latvia||Kristaps Porziņģis||Dallas Mavericks|
|Latvia||Rodions Kurucs||Brooklyn Nets|
|Lithuania||Domantas Sabonis||Indiana Pacers|
|Lithuania||Deividas Sirvydis*||Detroit Pistons|
|Lithuania||Jonas Valančiūnas*||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Montenegro||Nikola Vučević||Orlando Magic|
|New Zealand||Steven Adams||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Nigeria||Precious Achiuwa||Miami Heat|
|Nigeria||Udoka Azubuike||Utah Jazz|
|Nigeria||Josh Okogie||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Republic of the Congo||Serge Ibaka||LA Clippers||Spain|
|Senegal||Gorgui Dieng*||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Serbia||Nemanja Bjelica||Sacramento Kings|
|Serbia||Bogdan Bogdanović||Atlanta Hawks|
|Serbia||Nikola Jokić||Denver Nuggets|
Below please find the full list of international two-way players:
|Country||Name||Team||Ties to Other Countries**|
|Australia||Will Magnay||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Canada||Nate Darling||Charlotte Hornets|
|France||Adam Mokoka||Chicago Bulls||Republic of the Congo|
|France||Killian Tillie||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Greece||Kostas Antetokounmpo*||Los Angeles Lakers||Nigeria|
|Guinea||Mamadi Diakite||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Italy||Nico Mannion||Golden State Warriors|
|Japan||Yuta Watanabe||Toronto Raptors|
|Senegal||Tacko Fall||Boston Celtics|
|Senegal||Karim Mané||Orlando Magic||Canada|
*Participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB)
**Not an exhaustive list of every player tie
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...