Blogtable: International Man of Mystery

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

International Shooting Star | About Replay … | Tweaking the Hall of Fame

Which player born outside the U.S. is due for the biggest season in 2013-14?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comTony Parker. As much as I’d like to throw some sleeper name out there — Al Horford? Ricky Rubio? — and in spite of the wonder with which I still watch Tim Duncan excel at age 37, I think Parker is the guy. He’s in a sweet spot of having full mastery of his skills and position while, at 31, still being spry enough to put that all to use. And there are worlds left for him to conquer as he shoulders even more load for San Antonio, like averaging eight assists for once in his career.

Fran Blinebury, I guess I’ll take the question literally, ignoring choice of citizenship and just basing my answer strictly on place of birth. I’m going with Melbourne, Australia-born Kyrie Irving to play like an All-Star and lead the Cavaliers back into the playoffs.

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol (Joe Murphy/NBAE)

Jeff Caplan, There’s some interesting choices: Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas coming off his Summer League MVP; Andrea Bargnani getting new life in New York; Enes Kanter moving into Utah’s starting lineup; Golden State big man Andrew Bogut hoping to stay healthy; Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic after signing a big new deal. My choice is Pekovic’s teammate, Ricky Rubio. The gifted Spaniard has put his long physical and mental recovery from ACL surgery behind him and his Timberwolves begin the season with an intriguing, playoff-ready lineup that can play inside-out and spread the floor. He’ll be a much more confident player than we saw last year upon his midseason return and he’ll be eager to put on a show right into his first All-Star appearance.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Marc Gasol, slightly ahead of Ricky Rubio. Gasol was terrific last season and remains in a good position to build on that. A coaching change mostly always creates an unknown — just because Dave Joerger was a Grizzlies assistant doesn’t mean he won’t bring his own imprint on the playbook — but Gasol is still in his prime (28) and among the upper-echelon of centers. Nikola Vucevic should also be in the conversation, just not headed for the biggest season given the strength of the other candidates.

John Schuhmann, Tony Parker had the edge over Kyrie Irving last season, but Irving will take a big step forward, have the bigger year, and put the Cavs in playoff contention. The kid is a star and will continue to carry a heavy load for Cleveland, even though they made some upgrades. Parker is 31 and should have another All-Star-caliber season, but could get a little more help from Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs’ young back-up point guards.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: I’ll go with Australian-born Kyrie Irving. We already know that he’s the main man in Cleveland, and if Andrew Bynum is healthy and stays healthy that gives Irving another weapon on the interior and should open up the court even more. He can score, pass, defend and has really developed into a complete player. And if not Irving, it’s hard to pick against Dirk Nowitzki, because Dirk is Dirk and Dirk is great.

Hanson Guan, NBA ChinaMy answer is Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas averaged 8.9 points and six rebounds over 62 games in his rookie season, and was a fitting selection to the All-Rookie Second Team. With the departure of Andrea Bargnani, Valanciunas will have more ability to open fire next season. This kid is mature. He’s got various skills on the offensive end and has already earned the full trust of Coach Dwane Casey and his teammates. Valanciunas has much more to showcase with his incredible talent, and a breakout season is booked in 2013-14 for this wonder kid. Trust me on this: He will dominate the low post.

Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: Being the editor of NBA Italy, I feel like I must pick an Italian player here. My pick’s Danilo Gallinari. Yes, he’s gonna miss the first couple of months recovering from a torn ACL, but he had a career year last season (16.2 ppg) and he’s working hard to re-start from there and possibly improve. And don’t forget he’s likely going to be the leader of the new Nuggets: they are gonna need him to fight for a playoff spot. Danilo has the talent and the motivation to finally have a breakout season.


  1. TimmyD says:

    I’m not sure but i think the question was who will be the reason that his TEAM will have a BIG season and not which player will have the biggest season.
    Parker can lead SA to the finals again. I can’t see any of the above mentioned guys do that. So in that case parker should be the guy. I know irving can lead the cavs to the playoffs and that’d be a big deal for them. But the finals to me seem a little bigger than the first round. Just saying i don’t get the thinking behind their decisions.

  2. A says:

    Andre Drummond. Just going by what the NBA counts as an international player, like in their international play of the days.

  3. trifection says:

    Double R – Ricky Rubio.

  4. OKC says:

    No Ibaka on the list? No one appreciates good defense =/. For 3 years now Serge has held the blocks per game title.

  5. J says:

    ooh tough one!

    mmm so many options. I’ll say 3, enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas and Ricky Rubio

  6. Lars says:

    Quote: “…it’s hard to pick against Dirk Nowitzki, because Dirk is Dirk and Dirk is great.”

    I love this phrase. I love watching a healthy “German Wunderkind”. Nobody can stop Dirk if he’s healthy. Watch out, he’ll be back as an All-Star this year and bring the Mavs back into the playoffs!

  7. Tobz says:

    Guys it has to be Rubio! If you’re talkin’ ’bout a breakout season then yeah, how could he play worse? He’s only showed us glimpses of brilliance in the time that he has played… which is about 2 half seasons. I simply can’t wait to witness that fella’s magic again! However there is no arguing that the best Euro player at the moment is Tony Parker, in fact, I believe he is the best point guard in the league right now. Just ask King Charles and Shaq baby!

  8. AK says:

    IF (a very big IF at that) Bogut can stay healthy, there’s no reason he can’t have a huge season. Playing in the most stacked starting five of his career, and in a contract year, a healthy Bogut should get plenty of offensive touches and maintain his typical defensive and rebounding dominance.

    Also, because I’m Australian, I’ll just throw out Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Kyrie Irving (yeah, he’s one of us) and the impending arrival of Dante Exum next year as Aussies who will bring it next year (…well, maybe not Baynes.)

  9. Diego da Larmi says:

    This season will be awesome!!!
    Kyrie Irving and Andy Varejão in the Playoffs with Cavs.
    Cavs this year is one of the most exciting teams in the league!

  10. sammmmmmmmy says:


  11. Luisao says:

    What about Calderon in his new team or Kirilenko at nets..? Scola with the pacers?

  12. Luisao says:

    Greivis Vasquez?

  13. Karlo Garcia says:

    The player born outside the US that is due for the biggest season in 2013-14 is Danilo Gallinari. I believe the Nuggets missed his 3pt shooting in the playoffs.

  14. Jason Ramos says:

    How bout jj barea he showed he can s ore and with a amped lineup like they ha e now he has a chance to play even better that he did in the nba playoffs with dalla maybe six man of the year

  15. chigchig says:

    al horford.. 17 and 10 last year and this year no smoove taking shots away from him with ill advised jumpers.. watch him get to 20-10 this year

  16. YEAHBAYBEE says:


  17. JL says:

    Kyrie, a good defender, really? Obviously he carries a HEAVY load on offense but that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and say he’s a good defender. I’m a big Kyrie fan, but I just can’t stand when fans, especially writers, simply generalize great players as having no flaws to their game when in fact every player does.

    Oh, and my vote goes to Valanciunas, the guy is an absolute stud of a player that is bound to make a huge leap entering just his second season.

  18. Kendall says:

    DIRK WERNER NOWITZKI. He was hurt for a huge chunk of last season. Have we all forgotten so quickly his domination only two years ago? The only all star for the only team that has ever beaten LeBron James/D-Wade/Bosh in a playoff series? Give the big German some love. He will be back this year and be in the MVP talk. You’ll see.

  19. Andy says:

    jonas valanciunas is due for a breakout season no question…he should contend for the most improved player as well..kid’s special

  20. OKC2014 says:

    Serge Ibaka. End of story. Kyrie Irving is a United States citizen too. Born in Australia by default because his dad played there and Kyrie was born during that time. Dual citizenship. Does that even count??? His dad and mom both went to Boston University. His dad never made it to the NBA. He wasa star at BU.. I knew his parents. Did I digress??

    • dd def says:

      you realize EVERY foreign player has duel citizenship right? so do any of them really count? does your comment really count? a lot of the international greats went to american colleges before joining the league. do they count? steve nash isn’t really canadian since he went to school here is he?

  21. Shaun says:

    Patrick Mills – give him court time and watch him go!!!!!!!!

  22. rose says:

    why is the nba not publishing any articles or news on the Afrobasket. Allot of nba greats came from Africa ( Mutombo, Hakeem olajuan,etc.) It seems to me all the talk about expending the game of basketball in other continents its really just an excuse to hide nba only intenssions wich is to increase nba fans across the globe. so many talented players in fiba Americas, Euorobasket and afrobasket but we only hear about luis scola and other international nba players.

  23. kid says:

    no Serge Ibaka ?

  24. NBA 2009 says:

    Pau Gasol!!!!

  25. manie says:

    would not bet on any raptors players to have breakout season

  26. Go Thunder says:

    Varejao was doing great until that blood cloth in his lungs that almost killed him.
    I think he could bounce back and have a similar year even maybe again maybe make the All-Star.
    He was probably going last year just look at his stats.
    But I have to go with Kyrie Irving.

  27. dwighthoward12 says:

    LOL rose should of got kore mentions!

  28. Jeremiah says:

    Yes, I agree with Ced. Rubio might have pretty big seasons in the future, but Parker is consistently having wonderful seasons. (I’m Spaniard, btw)

  29. Butt Stuff says:

    Batum? Despite a wrist injury he did have his best season yet last year. I like to think that if he goes injury free, he could have a break out season

    • dd def says:

      yes yes yes yes and yes! batum is the man, and he’s still so young and getting better by leaps and bounds every year. at both ends of the court to boot.

  30. paul says:

    Darko Milicic

  31. ced says:

    Only one for Parker ? very surprising … So leading his team to NBA final is not enough ? Come on , it’s not serious .