Men - The Candidates

Alessandro Gentile - Italy and Olimpia Milano
Prior to EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia, the youngest son of former EuroBasket silver medallist Ferdinando was a little known entity outside of his native Italy. However, following a breakthrough tournament that saw his stock rise considerably, the swingman returned to Milano where he was named captain for the 2013/14 season, a sign of the faith the club had in the then 21-year-old. He took the added responsibility in his stride, earning Italian League MVP honours on the way to taking his team to the Italian Championship, prior to playing a key role in getting Italy into EuroBasket 2015.
Bogdan Bogdanovic - Serbia and Fenerbahce Istanbul
In what was an underwhelming season for Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade, local lad Bogdanovic was a shining light for the club, leaving more than one European guard clutching at air as he regularly surpassed 20 points against elite European competition in the Euroleague, deservedly winning the Euroleague Rising Star Award. Following an inauspicious beginning to the FIBA World Cup, Bogdanovic's presence grew as the tournament progressed, finishing in double figures in all four of Serbia's knock out games, including 15 in the gold medal game.
Boris Diaw – France and San Antonio Spurs
Earlier this year as the San Antonio Spurs made their run to the NBA Championship, one could be forgiven for not mentioning Diaw as a player who would have a major impact on the play-offs. However, as the play-offs unravelled, the forward became the unlikely x-factor for the Spurs, so much so that his name was popping up in serious play-off MVP discussions. Never one to shy away from national team duty, Diaw then provided calming veteran know-how with big plays down the stretch in France's shock win over Spain, en route to their World Cup bronze medals.
Dirk Nowitzki - Germany and Dallas Mavericks
Such is the high standard that Nowitzki has set over an elongated period of time; it could be easy to overlook him for this list. But to even suggest such an omission, would be a severe oversight. On 8 April the German legend scored 21 points in a 95-83 road win over the Utah Jazz to surpass Oscar Robertson and become the first European to enter the NBA all-time top-10 scorer's list, a list which he climbed further on 11 November when he scored his 26947th point to go by Hakeem Olajuwon, making him the all-time leading scorer for a player born outside of the United States.
Goran Dragic – Slovenia and Phoenix Suns
Fatherhood has failed to slow down Goran Dragic, in fact it has had quite the opposite effect. In 2014 Dragic had his biggest impact on the NBA to date, producing week-in, week-out to earn the 2014 NBA Most Improved Player Award, as well as a spot on the All-NBA Third Team. The lightening-quick point guard was then raising his hand for national team duties, leading Slovenia to seventh spot at the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a team-high 16 points and 4.3 assists per game.
Jonas Valanciunas – Lithuania and Toronto Raptors
Whilst his ascension into the NBA has not been as rapid as many had predicted, the same cannot be said at international level with the 22-year-old shouldering the hopes of his nation in Spain this summer, leading the understrength Green Machine to a semi-final spot which few out of Lithuania believed they could achieve. It was not simply the fact that he led his team in scoring and rebounding, it was the way he went about it, showing an assured confidence that those who followed Valanciunas at youth level will fondly recall.
Milos Teodosic – Serbia and CSKA Moscow
With injury forcing him out of national team duties last summer, Teodosic appeared to be making up for lost time in Spain at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. The manner in which he led a young, underrated Serbian team to the gold medal game was one of the biggest talking points of the tournament, his alleged disinterest in taking his skills stateside to the play in the NBA only adding to his aura. Instead he remains playing for CSKA, whom earlier this year he led to a record third consecutive VTB United League title.
Pau Gasol – Spain and Chicago Bulls
Unlike the fellow Spaniard on the list, Sergio Rodriguez, it was in the red and yellow Spanish jersey that the eldest of the Gasol brothers would excel. The World Cup came about at the right time for Pau, following an injury-plagued domestic season with the LA Lakers, not helped by uncertainty with where he would play following the summer. However, with a contract signed off with the Chicago Bulls and injuries behind him, the center looked like a renewed man in Spain, starring for the tournament hosts with 20 points a night to gain a spot on the All-Star Five.
Sergio Rodriguez – Spain and Real Madrid
Perhaps a summer in a national vest that Rodriguez would rather forget, it was during domestic action for Real Madrid in the winter and spring that the point guard displayed his true worth, averaging 21 points in a shade over 21 minutes playing time during the Euroleague regular season. This earned the man with a beard to rival James Harden the league's regular season MVP honours, despite all his performances coming from the bench. His numbers plateaued during the post-season, but he still played an integral role in pushing his team to the Final Four, making him the undisputed European sixth-man.
Tony Parker – France and San Antonio Spurs
The French star deservedly earned a summer off this year, having spent the spring exacting revenge over the Miami Heat, whom he and the Spurs had lost to in the NBA Championship Finals exactly 12 months earlier. The ageless guard was irreplaceable through the play-offs, averaging 17.4 points and 4.8 assists, to confirm his fourth NBA ring - a record for all Europeans.

All Winners

Men
2014: Tony Parker
2013: Tony Parker
2012: Andrei Kirilenko
2011: Dirk Nowitzki
2010: Milos Teodosic
2009: Pau Gasol
2008: Pau Gasol
2007: Andrei Kirilenko
2006: Theo Papaloukas
2005: Dirk Nowitzki

Women
2014: Alba Torrens
2013: Sancho Lyttle
2012: Celine Dumerc
2011: Alba Torrens
2010: Hana Horáková
2009: Sandrine Gruda
2008: Maria Stepanova
2007: Anete Jekabsone-Zogota
2006: Maria Stepanova
2005: Maria Stepanova

Young Men
2014: Dario Saric
2013: Dario Saric
2012: Jonas Valanciunas
2011: Jonas Valanciunas
2010: Jan Vesely
2009: Ricky Rubio
2008: Ricky Rubio
2007: Ricky Rubio
2006: Rudy Fernandez
2005: Nikolaos Zisis

Young Women
2014: Angela Salvadores
2013: Astou Ndour
2012: Alina Iagupova
2011: Emma Meesseman
2010: Nika Baric
2009: Alba Torrens
2008: Gintare Petronyte
2007: Sonja Petrovic
2006: Sandrine Gruda
2005: Anete Jekabsone