EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Pero Antic: veteran of the European game, rookie on the American scene|
Three weeks into the new NBA season, we now have a sufficient sample of how the European players that made the jump across the Atlantic this year are faring.
This season's European rookies make up a heterogeneous group in terms of age, experience and sporting trajectory, and this diversity reflects in the mixed results the have produced so far in their efforts to adapt to style of play in the NBA.
Gal Mekel (ISR) - Dallas Mavericks
Mekel is playing 12.9 minutes per game and averaging 3.9 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists-per-contest. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the Israeli international landed in the NBA at a mature age and after gaining sufficient experience - and winning the domestic league - in his native country. Mekel is fortunate enough to be the back-up of another European point guard, Jose Calderon, and despite the fact that unlike the Spanish international he will always take the mid-range jumper over the three-pointer, the style of play of the team does not differ when he steps on the court.
Dennis Schroder (GER) - Atlanta Hawks
The German point guard impressed in the summer league and started off the season in excellent form but did not get any playing time in the last two games of the Hawks. His long arms however are an enormous asset and he made an impact whenever he came off the bench, averaging 3.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 14.5 minutes of play.
Rudy Gobert (FRA) - Utah Jazz
Utah might be struggling but the early performances of the French center are definitely a source of optimism for their fans. Gobert puts his 2.16m frame and enormous wingspan to good use and averages 1.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 11.1 minutes of play so far.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (GRE) - Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks appear to be facilitating the evolution of the athletic Antetokounmpo into the point forward of the next decade. The Greek international has featured in seven games so far, averaging 4.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks.
Pero Antic (MKD) - Atlanta Hawks
The captain and talisman of the F.Y.R of Macedonia national team has made his presence felt in the seven games he stepped on the floor, averaging 3.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 13.4 minutes of playing time.
Ognjen Kuzmic (BIH) - Golden State Warriors
The young center is only afforded a handful of minutes in every game, but it's important that he has stepped on the court in nine games so far, averaging 0.6 points and 0.6 rebounds.
Nemanja Nedovic (SRB) - Golden State Warriors
Similar to Kuzmic, Nedovic does not spend a great amount of time on the floor but he has taken a permanent place on the Warriors' rotation, which is an important first step for a rookie. The Serbian combo guard is averaging 0.8 points and 0.4 assists in 4.7 minutes-per-game.
Nick Calathes (GRE) - Memphis Grizzlies
The experienced point guard was expected to be a great fit in the NBA but is struggling for consistency in Memphis. Nonetheless Calathes had a positive impact in the six games he has played so far, averaging 2.2 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
|Luigi Datome's vast European epxerience is helping him settle in quickly in the States|
Luigi Datome (ITA) - Detroit Pistons
The versatile forward only made his NBA debut on 5 November but his long experience in Europe seems to be helping him to overcome the initial bumps en route to adapting to his new surroundings. The Italian has played in five games since then, averaging 3.3 points and one rebound.
Sergey Karasev (RUS) - Cleveland Cavaliers
At this early stage it appears that Karasev's adaptation process might last a good part of his rookie year but the young guard/forward has shown glimpses of his enormous talent whenever he was given the chance, averaging 1.8 points in the five games he stepped on the floor.
Alex Len (UKR) - Phoenix Suns
The young Ukranian center featured in the first two games of the season and left positive impressions by scoring a total of five points and grabbing three rebounds, but has since, in a way, fallen victim of his team's unexpected successful run, failing to make a third appearance.
Elias Harris (GER) - Los Angeles Lakers
The German forward had a testimonial presence in two games so far and is expected to spend big part of his rookie season playing in the NBA's development league.
Erik Murphy (FIN) - Chicago Bulls
The son of former Finnish top-level female player Päivi Murphy, Erik has had a subdued beginning to his NBA career, so far clocking just five minutes in three appearances for a total of two rebounds and a block.