|31 October 2013|
EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Passing of the torch? Dennis Schröder's NBA debut came against Germany's current best player, Dirk Nowitzki, who in turn had his debut in 1999 against the then leading German player, Detlef Schrempf|
Dennis Schröder of Germany was the European rookie to deliver the most eye-catching performance on Wednesday night, which saw most NBA teams play their opening game of the new season.
The 20-year-old point guard, who joined the Atlanta Hawks from BEKO BBL club Braunschweig after being drafted in the summer, came off the bench midway through the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks.
Schröder stayed on the floor for over 18 minutes and contributed five points, five rebounds and four assists but could not prevent Atlanta's 118-109 loss.
Interestingly, Schröder's NBA debut came against fellow German Dirk Nowitzki, who, as a 20-year-old on 5 February 1999, made his debut against the German star of the time, Detlef Schrempf, in a clash between Dallas and the now defunct Seattle Supersonics.
F.Y.R. Of Macedonia star Pero Antic also made his maiden appearance with the Hawks and collected two rebounds in less than eight minutes of playing time.
The third European rookie in this clash, Israel's Gal Mekel, was on the winning side and contributed two points, two rebounds and three assists to the Dallas cause.
Nowitzki was in fine shape for the Mavericks and finished with 24 points on four-for-six three-point shooting, four rebounds and five assists.
Spain's Jose Calderon started at the point for Dallas and collected a game-high 11 assists to go with his five points and two rebounds.
GOLDEN ROOKIE WARRIORS
The two European rookies that will have the best memories of their baptism of fire in the NBA however will most likely be Ognjen Kuzmic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nemanja Nedovic of Serbia.
Kuzmic had two points and whilst Nedovic did not write his name on the scoresheet, they both enjoyed minutes in the fantastic 125-94 Golden State Warriors' victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
German forward Elias Harris made his debut with the Lakers in the game and registered a steal and an assist in approximately eight minutes of play.
|Goran Dragic, seen here playing for Slovenia, picked up where he left of for the Suns, leading his team to victory with 26 points in their first outing of the season|
Life also seemed good on Wednesday also Ukraine's Alex Len, who made his NBA debut and picked up two points and two rebounds in the 104-91 Phoenix Suns victory over the Portland Trailblazers.
Fellow Ukranian big man Viacheslav Kravtsov did not feature in the clash but Slovenian star Goran Dragic was outstanding for the Suns, leading the winners with 26 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
A European rookie who put in a very promising display on Wednesday in defeat was Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz, who fell 101-98 to Oklahoma City Thunder at home.
The French center started on the bench but ended up playing 23 minutes, mostly replacing Turkey's Enes Kanter, and finished with two points and seven rebounds.
It was a similar case for Greek internationals Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nick Calathes.
Antetokounmpo, who only turns 19 in December, featured for four minutes in the 90-83 Milwaukee Bucks' defeat on the road to the New York Knicks, scoring his first point in the NBA with a free throw.
Fellow rookie Miroslav Raduljica, of Serbia, did not play for the Bucks, but Zaza Pachulia of Georgia picked up a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds and Ersan Ilyasova of Turkey had 10 points and two rebounds in defeat.
Calathes meanwhile had two points, two assists and two rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies lost 101-94 at the San Antonio Spurs.
On the Spurs side, soon-to-be-father Tony Parker picked up 13 points and nine assists, fellow EuroBasket 2013 gold medallist Boris Diaw finished with 14 points and four rebounds while Italy's Marco Belinelli had five points and four boards; For Memphis, Marc Gasol finished with 14 points and nine rebounds and Kostas Koufos had seven points and three boards in a losing effort.
Italian forward Luigi Datome only had a testimonial presence of a few seconds in his NBA debut with the Detroit Pistons, as his team clinched a 113-102 win over the Washington Wizards at home.
Russia's Sergey Karasev is nursing a sprained ankle and did not play with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, but should be ready to make his NBA debut within days.
Cleveland defeated the Brooklyn Nets 98-94 at home, in a game where none of Brooklyn's three European players, in Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic and Tornike Shengelia got on the court.