Blogtable: NBA’s best international player?

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


BLOGTABLE: New coach with toughest gig? | Best international player today? | Mozgov or Thompson?



VIDEOTop 10 plays from Grizzlies center Marc Gasol

> The NBA had 101 international players on its opening-day rosters last season, and could add another 10-12 this season. Who is the best international player in the NBA right now, today?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comWe’re not talking lifetime achievement (Dirk Nowitzki), right? Nor are we going with the foreign-born guy we’d draft No. 1 for the career he’ll put together (possibly Andrew Wiggins)?  Fine. For today and this season, give me Marc Gasol, the first-team All-NBA center and a top-10 finisher in Kia MVP balloting last season. At 30, he’s at the peak of his power and in his best physical shape ever. He’s got size, he boasts multiple skills and he’s a tremendous teammate and individual.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Marc Gasol. Tony Parker is still in the conversation with his overall shooting and 3-point range plus the intangibles as one of the centerpieces of all that is right in San Antonio (the underwhelming per-game numbers in other categories are misleading because the Spurs don’t assign him a heavy workload). And there were times in the past it seemed that Joakim Noah was ready to make a push up the ranking. Gasol’s 2014-15 earned the top spot, though. Offense, defense, professionalism. That’s deserving of No. 1.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: Marc Gasol at one point wasn’t even the best foreign-born player in his own family. But now he has squeezed ahead of not only Pau Gasol but Dirk Nowitzki (on the downside of a great career), Tony Parker, Serge Ibaka, etc. In a few years he may pass the baton to Andrew Wiggins. We’ll see.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: If Tim Duncan counts as an international player, he’s still No. 1, with Marc Gasol a close second. Duncan is still an impact player on both ends of the floor, and his leadership and coachability can’t be discounted. Tony Parker is more important to the Spurs’ offense than Duncan is at this point, but isn’t the two-way player that his teammate is. Dirk Nowitzki, meanwhile, has become a real liability on defense.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: This is Marc Gasol’s honor and mantle to carry until someone else from the international pool takes it. A physical brute and an absolute technician as the backbone of the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc is no longer playing in the shadow of big brother Pau. The ultimate testament to Marc’s journey is that you don’t have to make a case for him by pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of any of the other candidates. He’s earned his spot at the top of the international heap by working his tail off and becoming an All-Star and All-NBA player without any glaring flaws in his game.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Tony Parker is the best today, and right beside him is teammate Tim Duncan (born and raised in the Virgin Islands) in the present day – in addition to being the undisputed best international NBA player of all time.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogThe first player to come to mind was Dirk Nowitzki, because he’s been the best international player in the NBA for so long. But with Dirk aging and playing less of a role with the Mavericks, perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere. Al Horford? Andrew Wiggins? Pau Gasol? (Does Kyrie Irving count, since he was born in Australia?) But even considering all of those guys, I think I might have to go with Marc Gasol. It’s easy to forget about him because while he was one of the top free agents this summer, he stayed below the radar and re-signed with the Grizzlies. But at just 30 years old, Marc Gasol is still one of the top centers in the NBA, with one of the most diverse skillsets in the league.

15 Comments

  1. stephen says:

    It is pretty obviously Tony Parker and Marc Gasol.

    Pau and Dirk both come in close.

  2. taekayo says:

    Even with potential as a factor, or age, or residency, etc… when you say NBA International players, I only have three candidates on my mind… Pau, Dirk and Manu.

  3. dirk fan says:

    How about BEST INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF ALL TIME? Huh?
    Wherever, whatever league? Ha! It is still DIRK NOWITZKI baby!!!

  4. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Marc Gasol grew up in Memphis went to high school there, that’s like saying Kobe because he grew up in Italy…

    • sports fan says:

      Bad comparison. Gasol was born in Spain & spent almost his whole childhood there. His family moved to Memphis when he was a teeager. After high school in Memphis he went back to Spain to play basketball. He also plays for Spain’s national team for the olympics. He’s truly an international player. Kobe was born in Philly & went to Italy when he was 6 and lived there til he was 14. And where did Kobe play high school basketball? The U.S.! Also he has never played for Italy’s national team.

  5. GS says:

    If you give a look to FIBA Eurobasket you must consider Gallinari.
    He’s just 27 years old, he spend large part of his career injured. Now he’s leading his team, he perfectly knows how to engage his teammates during the game, when to force a shoot, how to go to the free throw line…. He has that kind of maturity and vision of a real veteran.
    If we r talking about “right now”, Gallo and Tp are the best

  6. sports fan says:

    The end of the question was “right now, today”. I’d say right now, today that Marc Gasol is the best international player.

  7. Alex says:

    It’s M. Gasol now. In a few years, he will be replaced by Spurs’ Bobby Marjanovic.

  8. Rory Rose says:

    1 Marco Belinell
    2 Matthew Dellavedova
    3 Patty Mills

  9. Harriethehawk says:

    Al Horford and Denis Schroeder of course!!!!!!

  10. dustydreamnz says:

    Marc Gasol on current form.

  11. Drew says:

    New game at NBA All Star Weekend:
    NBA International Born vs NBA USA Born

  12. Defdun says:

    I don’t understand why Tim Duncan is always listed as foreign when he was born in the United States Virgin Islands? And Kyrie Irving? He was only born in Australia – he’s a US citizen…
    Marc Gasol is probably the smartest player, Andrew Wiggins probably the most athletic, most upside could be Giannis Antetokounmpo, but I am going with Tony Parker who has shown that he can lead teams to titles. So when having to chose from the list today, I would start my team with TP.

    • Jimmy says:

      Thank u. I had the same thoughts about Duncan and Irving. As someone who was born overseas due to the fact that my father was in the U.S. military and my mother who wasn’t born a U.S. citizen but became one before I was born I know what it’s like for ppl to question whether I was born a U.S. citizen too.