In North America, we are spoiled to have the best basketball players in the world playing in the NBA. But what many people in America forget is that there is great basketball all over the world. The EuroLeague molds some of the best players in Europe, many making their way to the states. You have the Liga ACB in Spain, the Israeli Superleague, the Turkish Premier Basketball league, and even HEBA A1 in Greece. Oh yeah, don't forget the Chinese Basketball Association where former American stars Stephon Marbury and Jimmer Fredette have flourished.
Even though all of these leagues are competitive, the NBA is reserved for the best of the best in the world. There are some players though that just don't deserve to be there. Maybe they don't have the talent to compete, maybe their skill set better serves a finesse game in Europe, or maybe they are just past their prime, and need to move on to the next chapter. Today, we will go through every NBA roster, and suggest which players should move their game overseas. Start packing your bags, and let us know if you think!
30 Atlanta Hawks - Luke Babbitt
For those of you that have no clue who Babbitt is, he's a 6'9" forward out of the University of Nevada. After being selected with the sixteenth-overall pick in the 2010 NBA, he's bounced around the league and been with a total of six teams in seven years. One of those teams just happens to be a foreign team, Nizhny Novogorod, in Russia. They participate in both the VTB United League (first tier Russian basketball) and the FIBA Europe Cup.
Seeing that Babbitt, already had a stint overseas, and he's only putting up just under eight points per game in Atlanta, he should make the transition back across the pond. But hey, he is averaging career highs so far this season, so maybe he's turned the corner.
29 Boston Celtics - Guerschon Yabusele
It's hard to judge a player's success when his team is as good as the Celtics are this year. But, we have to choose one player from each team, and Yabusele made the cut, or did he miss the cut? Whichever way you look at it, he's on our list! The French National started his career over in Europe, bouncing around to a few franchises as a youngster. Last year, Boston took him with the 16th overall pick, but he was playing one season over in China with the Shanghai Sharks.
Now, Yabusele is trying to make a mark on the league with his dominant, physical, yet versatile play at the power forward. We will see if he can make an impact if and when coach Brad Stevens increases his playing time. But for now, we foresee a foreign career for Yabusele.
28 Brooklyn Nets - Timofey Mozgov
Mozgov's career has been a crazy, tumultuous and underwhelming one. Just sit back and enjoy his story. The 7'1" out of Russia started his career in the motherland, and bounced around to a few teams in Russia until 2010. That's when Mozgov signed a three-year, $9.7 million contract with the Knicks, hoping to cement his legacy in America.
The following year, Mozgov was traded to Denver in one of the biggest deals on the modern era, as Carmelo Anthony moved from Mile High to the Big Apple. In 2015, Mozgov was traded to Cleveland, in which many experts disagree with, since he hadn't been producing well in Denver. Then coach, David Blatt, who was previously Mozgov's coach on the Russian national team, was rumored to be the driving force behind the trade.
Then, after finally winning a championship in a limited role with the Cavs, Mozgov signed a big deal with the Lakers, who eventually traded him to the Nets. Moral of the story is to go back to your roots, since Mozgov would still be dominating in Europe!
27 Charlotte Hornets - Michael Carter-Williams
Is it just me, or does Michael Carter-Williams look like a character from A Very Goofy Movie. Well, whichever end of the spectrum you are on that comparison, there's no doubting that Carter-Williams has under-performed during his short tenure in the NBA.
That wasn't the case at first, as the former Syracuse guard won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2014, but ended up missing the beginning of the following season due to a shoulder injury. After a series of trades from Philadelphia to Milwaukee, then Milwaukee to Chicago, in which his performance has steadily declined since his inaugural year, Carter-Williams signed with Charlotte in the offseason. We've seen that he has the skill set to succeed, but clearly has not had the opportunity to break out out. Maybe the Shanghai Sharks have found their new point guard?
26 Chicago Bulls - Cameron Payne
Since his inception into the league in 2015, Payne as barely made a name for himself on the court. Yes, he's known for his wild hair style and pregame dance rituals with Russell Westbrook, but on the hardwood, he's just another guy. The third-year man out of Murray State is now a member of the Chicago Bulls, as he was part of the trade that brought Taj Gibson from the Windy City down to OKC in the middle of last season.
Payne probably will not be able to play again until the beginning of 2018 due to offseason surgery that he had on his right foot. Honestly though, it will probably be in the D-league, or G-league, or whatever the hell they are calling it these days. The 6'3" point guard should just pack his bags and head overseas, maybe he can make a name for himself on the court there!
25 Cleveland Cavaliers - Jose Calderon
Talk about longevity, Jose Calderon has been playing professionally since 1998. At 36-years-old, he's continuing his career in the NBA as a backup point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But, Calderon has had experience playing in the EuroLeague. He spent the first seven years of his career moving his way up the ranks of Spanish basketball, and still competes at a high level for Spain in international play.
Calderon's career is slowly coming to a close though. He's been with three teams in the last two years, and most Cleveland fans expect him to become an afterthought once Isaiah Thomas is healthy, using Rose as his backup. Maybe he should hop on a plane back to Spain and keep his career alive, retiring where it all began!
24 Dallas Mavericks - Seth Curry
Curry is not the worst player on the Mavericks by far. Last year, he actually broke onto the scene after dominating the D-league in his early days. The problem is that he will always be in the shadow of his older brother, Steph. Currently, the lesser Curry has been sidelined in 2017 with a stress fracture in his tibia. When he gets healthy, he should produce on the court, but will take a back seat to newcomer, and Rookie of the Year candidate, Dennis Smith Jr., and Wesley Matthews.
That being said, Seth should move his career over to China. He would dominate the CBA and with the popularity that the Curry name possesses, he will probably make some decent money over there. Finally, he would be able to step out of the shadow cast by his MVP brother.
23 Denver Nuggets - Emmanuel Mudiay
The Congolese-born point guard made waves across national media as one of the highest touted recruits coming out of high school. Instead of taking the traditional one-and-done route that most players take, Mudiay decided to take his career overseas for one year. He played with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association in the 2014-2015. Despite nagging injuries during his international campaign, the Nuggets still took the 6'5" athletic guard with the seventh-overall pick of the 2015 draft.
Now in the NBA, Mudiay has been struggling. In 2016, he seemed to be poised for a great season, but was eventually benched and fell out of the rotation in the middle of the year. While he still could have a breakout year in 2017, the CBA should be begging him to come back.
22 Detroit Pistons - Eric Moreland
Honestly, we don't know what Moreland can be yet in the NBA, because he hasn't had a chance to prove his worth. Coming out of Oregon State as an undrafted free agent in 2014, the Sacramento Kings took a chance on the future D-league All-Star. For the past three years, Moreland has been fine tuning his offensive skills in the D-league, all while being known for his lockdown defense.
The Pistons decided to bring him up in the beginning of 2017, hoping he could provide a spark in Detroit. Moreland has averaged 10 minutes per game so far in 2017, and just over 1 point per game. If he doesn't step it up in Motor City, the Pistons will most likely relegate him back to the D-league. Maybe he should take his budding career overseas instead.
21 Golden State Warrios - Nick Young
"Swaggy P" is not a great fit for the Warriors. He's not Golden State's worst player, but his ego and LA lifestyle is no fit in Steve Kerr's system. Being a Warrior is all about team basketball, sharing the love, and taking none of the praise. From past experiences, Young's personality is too big to take a back seat to the rest of the team.
What better place to shine and be a diva than in a league of your own overseas? Just imagine it, Young putting up 50 points per game against lesser competition, reporters feeding his ego, and fans calling for him to make a return to the NBA. If I were Young, and could get the same money outside the NBA, then I would seriously consider it, because 12 minutes per game with the Warriors isn't worth it.
20 Houston Rockets - Bobby Brown
I was considering writing this entire entry peppering in Bobby Brown songs, but I'll spare you the shame, and it's my prerogative. But our Bobby Brown isn't getting high with Whitney Houston, he's playing in Houston. By playing, I mean riding the bench. Through the early portion of the season, he's only averaging 6.5 minutes per game on the floor, and we fully expect him to be out of the rotation come 2018.
That all being said, Brown seems to have some gas left in the tank. Plus, he's already made his way through the overseas circuit. From 2010-2016, Brown played in Germany, Italy, Japan, and even scored 74 points in a single game at his time with the Dongguan Leopards in the Chinese Basketball Association. Fans already know his name overseas, why not make the journey back?
19 Indiana Pacers - Lance Stephenson
Stephenson is just another big personality like Nick Young. He became famous for blowing in LeBron's ear in the 2014 playoffs. But many critics, even team president, Larry Bird, thought his actions and trash talk were unprofessional. He should have stuck with playing basketball instead of playing mind games.
The next few years were rough for Stephenson, as he signed a three-year, $27-million contract with the Charlotte Hornets, but was cut and traded several times through the next three years, playing with five different teams. Eventually, the player dawned with the nickname "Born Ready," was back with the Pacers, trying to revive his career. In 2017, he has averaged 20 minutes per game, but I think we all know his trash talking game would be better served overseas!
18 Los Angeles Clippers - Austin Rivers
Nepotism at its finest. If you really think Austin Rivers made a career for himself, you need to take another look. Widely regarded as one of the top recruits out of Duke, Rivers joined the then New Orleans Hornets. His rookie campaign was absolutely horrible, and before the year was up, he was widely considered as a top NBA draft bust. After a few years, and some trades later, River came crying to daddy for a job, and the Clippers picked him up.
Okay, maybe I'm being too harsh, but from the outside, it looks a lot like Doc just picked up his son to give him a job. Now, he has put up decent numbers the past few years, but has yet to separate himself from the "daddy's favorite" rumors. Well Austin, why don't you sign with a different team in free agency, better yet, go prove your talent overseas, and maybe that rumor will dissipate.
17 Los Angeles Lakers - Corey Brewer
If you were like me, you were completely oblivious that Corey Brewer was still employed in the NBA. The 31-year-old out of the University of Florida is currently on the Lakers roster after he was traded from the Houston Rockets in a deal that involved Lou Williams last year. The former seventh-overall pick is only averaging 13 minutes and three points per game so far in 2017.
So, what do people who once were stars such as Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury do when their career is on the decline? Hop overseas to take a different league by storm. While Brewer shouldn't be put in the same category, or even the same sentence as Iverson and Marbury, it would be wise for him to take his game elsewhere!
16 Memphis Grizzlies - Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans was supposed to take over the league after being selected fourth overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2009 NBA draft. Many scouts thought he was going to be another version of Derrick Rose, as he was groomed by Coach Calipari at Memphis, just as Rose was. Experts seemed to counting their chickens after Evans won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2010. Despite flashes of greatness over the last few years, Evans' career has gone completely downhill.
Now on the Memphis Grizzlies, Evans has had great games, even putting up 30 points this year, his first time since 2014, but it's inconsistency that plagues the 6'6" guard. He should take his talents across the pond, and reestablish himself as a top pick. Maybe he will even make a comeback later in his career.
15 Miami Heat - Wayne Ellington
Many had high hopes for Ellington come out of high school. The 6'5" guard was ranked the No. 1 shooting guard in the nation by Rivals.com in 2006. He did not disappoint in college, as he helped lead the North Carolina Tarheels to the national championship in 2009. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Ellington late in the first-round of the 2009 NBA draft, but his professional career did not go as well as his college one.
Over the past eight seasons, Ellington has been on seven teams, and currently plies his trade with the Miami Heat. So far in 2017-18, he's averaging 8.4 ppg on 20 mpg. Honestly, he's just another player that could be replaced. Therefore, it's probably best for Ellington to go make a name for himself over in Europe, and hopefully make a comeback in the NBA someday.
14 Milwaukee Bucks - Matthew Dellavedova
Dellavedova is by far not the worst player on Milwaukee's roster. He is known for his scrappy defense and ability to cut through the defense. The former St. Mary's standout even has developed a decent shot, and is a great role player. But, without great players like LeBron when he was on the Cavs, and now the "Greek Freak" on the Bucks, Dellavedova would be just another guy.
Therefore, he should take his career overseas. Not because he can't play in the NBA, but to truly prove if he is a great basketball player. Perhaps his home country of Australia would give him a decent contract to play a few years down under. But for now, Dellavedova is coming off the bench in Milwaukee, hoping to make a name for himself.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves - Cole Aldrich
Who the hell knew that Cole Aldrich was still playing in the NBA? The eight-year center out of the University of Kansas is as close to the blue Monstar that someone could be! He's just a big body who can clog up the paint, and rarely contributes anywhere else. In 2016, Aldrich signed a three-year, $22-million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He gets paid to ride the bench, only averaging eight and a half minutes a game in 2016, and a whopping 2.3 minutes per game this year.
Even though he isn't producing great numbers, we can't blame Aldrich for raking in millions of dollars a year to do nothing. But, it's hard to believe he will get a contract elsewhere after his time with Minnesota. Maybe he will go play overseas, but either way, Aldrich is no longer cut out to play in the NBA.
12 New Orleans Pelicans - Omer Asik
The New Orleans Pelicans seem to have a solid base for a team. They possess two of the best big men in the game in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but one big man on their team that we forget about is the seven-footer, Omer Asik. Now, Asik has had some decent years in the NBA, but at 31 years old, it seems like Asik's game has slowed down. Lucky for him, his style of play is not so physical anymore, and he's developed a decent outside shot, which will prolong his career, but he shouldn't be on an NBA roster anymore.
That's not to say that Asik should never pay basketball again. Starting out in is native Turkey, he is a two-time TBL champion, and I'm sure plenty of Turkish fans would love to see him make a homecoming. It would be hard for the Pelicans to trade away is $12 million a year contract, but if they cut him, I'm sure he will continue playing in Europe.
11 New York Knicks - Ron Baker
Baker has come a long way since high school. As an unranked recruit who walked on at Wichita State, Baker came into the fold his sophomore year and ended his college career as a three-time First-Team All Missouri Valley Conference. Baker entered the NBA as an undrafted free agent with the New York Knicks in 2016. He played sporadically throughout his rookie season, and eventually signed a two-year, $8.9 million deal with New York in 2017.
Even though his career is just beginning, it's hard to see Baker in a consistently contributing role for the Knicks. He does have a winning pedigree though, and should take that drive overseas, get some more playing time and experience, and maybe even bring home a few EuroLeague titles!
10 Oklahoma City Thunder - Kyle Singler
Kyle Singler is the closest thing to ghost that the NBA has. The former Duke forward started his career by playing overseas in Spain, but eventually made his way back to the states to give the NBA shot. In the 2012-2013 season with the Detroit Pistons, Singler was awarded NBA All-Rookie Second Team, but his early success never got him a starting role in Motor City.
Eventually, the former 2010 NCAA Champion was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he re-signed with OKC in 2015. On the Thunder, Singler is perennial third-stringer that can occasionally come off the bench in garbage time. A great career move would be if he headed back over to Spain, where maybe he can break back into a starting role.
9 Orlando Magic - Arron Afflalo
Afflalo is another guy that I didn't realize was still floating around the league. The 33-year-old is going into the 2017-18 season coming off the bench for the Orlando Magic. He's averaging just over 13.5 minutes on the court per game, and other than a veteran presence, has not contributed to the Magic's early eastern conference success.
Apart from Orlando, in his eleven seasons in the league, Afflalo has been a member of Pistons, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Knicks, and Kings. Clearly, the former UCLA Bruin is a journey man, and should finish up his journey overseas, as he is not making an impact in the NBA anymore. I'm thinking the best league for Afflalo would be China, where he could just launch up threes and play as little defense as he wants.
8 Philadelphia 76ers - * Jahlil Okafor
* We know Okafor was recently traded to the Brooklyn Nets, but of all players on the Sixers this year, Okafor really would have been the best candidate for a move overseas.
With the emergence of Joel Embiid as one of the premier versatile centers in the game, Jahlil Okafor fell to the wayside. Philadelphia's third overall pick in 2015 has barely played at all in 2017. Even Okafor's father recently wore a "Free Jah" shirt, in reference to his son's desire to be traded. There is no doubt that Okafor has talent, as he was able to lead Duke to a NCAA championship in 2015, but just hasn't had the opportunities in the NBA.
If things can't work out for him in Brooklyn, then it really will be time for Okafor to consider a brief move overseas.
7 Phoenix Suns - Brandon Knight
As we talked about before, this isn't a list of worst player on every team. Brandon Knight is certainly a contributing player on the Phoenix Suns, but prior to the 2017-18 season, the former University of Kentucky guard tore his ACL, and was ruled out for the entire season. Who knows how Knight will come back? Maybe he won't be able to produce like he used to, or, he may just fizzle out of the league.
What do washed up players do when no team wants them? They take their game overseas. It would most likely behoove Knight to play a few years outside the USA, get his health back to normal, and then make an explosive veteran comeback. Obviously this is all hypothetical, but you never know!
6 Portland Trail Blazers - Evan Turner
Again, Evan Turner is not the worst player on the Trail Blazers. He is seasoned veteran hybrid guard-forward that has established his position as role player in the NBA. The problem is that he is getting older, losing his athleticism, and will most likely be usurped by a younger, more agile player in the next few years. He has one of two options after that. First, become an incredible spot-up shooter, or, take his game overseas.
Since this entire article is about playing in foreign leagues, we are going to assume Turner heads across the pond. Possibly China, or maybe even the TBL in Turkey. Now, this probably won't happen for another five years, but I could see Turner winning a EuroLeague championship in the future!
5 Sacramento Kings - Garrett Temple
If you ever have wondered what the recipe for predicting if an American will play overseas was, take a look at Garrett Temple's career. Coming out as an undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2009, Temple signed with the Houston Rockets for the 2009 Summer League. From then on, his career consisted of the D-league, 10-day contracts, getting signed, then subsequently waived, then re-signed, waved again, then rinse and repeat.
In 2011, Temple even played in Italy for a season with Novipiù Casale Monferrato. Currently on the Sacramento Kings, averaging 25 minutes and 7 points per game, Temple is playing above his expectations. But don't be surprised if he moves back overseas in the next few seasons, perhaps back to Italy, or maybe even Spain.
4 San Antonio Spurs - Brandon Paul
As a basketball fan, I'm rooting for Brandon Paul all the way. After turning heads in the Big Ten at the University of Illinois, Paul never got enough attention from NBA scouts. He did the proactive career move, and jumped overseas to Russia, and then to Spain, hoping he could work his way back into the NBA. After playing in the summer league with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul finally was able to get the attention of some teams, and the Spurs signed him in the 2017 offseason.
Paul is a lockdown defender who shoots above 40% from three, and will fit perfectly in Popovich's offense. Unless the former fighting Illini guard really solidifies his role, he will most likely end up back overseas. In the meantime, we wish Paul all the luck in the world.
3 Toronto Raptors - Lucas Nogueira
We aren't here to judge, but if Lucas Nogueira wasn't seven-foot tall, there is no way his basketball skills would sustain a career. The Brazilian-born center started off his career in Madrid, but was even demoted to Madrid's version of the D-league. The same thing happened when Nogueira joined the Toronto Raptors. He spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons assigned to the Raptors farm teams, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and now, the G-leagues Raptors 905.
Even though he has had a career-high game so far in 2017-18, it is most likely that Nogueira will be relegated back to the minors by the end of the year. An almost inevitable situation is that Nogueira heads back overseas, but I highly doubt it will be at Madrid, because they probably don't want him back.
2 Utah Jazz - Thabo Sefolosha
The 33-year-old Swiss defensive specialist should no longer be in the NBA. He never really possessed the offensive skills needed to sustain a career and now that he's older, his athleticism is on the decline. Currently with the Utah Jazz, Sefolosha is averaging just over 21 minutes per game and 7.5 points per game. Come on Thabo, it's time to give some younger players a chance to shine.
Maybe it's time for Sefolosha to work his way back to Europe, where he started. The former NBA All-Defensive Second Team started his career in Switzerland, then France, then Italy, before he worked his way over to the NBA. The Utah Jazz should end up being Sefolosha's fourth, and last stop in the NBA.
1 Washington Wizards - Tim Frazier
Throughout this entire article, we have been pretty much dogging these NBA players for not living up to expectations. Obviously, this is a relative comparison, because as a whole, all of these players are very good at basketball. Take Tim Frazier for example. The former Penn State point guard played lights out in college, but has never had much of an opportunity to turn heads in the NBA. Since his entrance into the league in 2014, he's been with the 76ers, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and now the Wizards.
Frazier won the D-league MVP in 2015, and can surely ball. Unfortunately, he is slightly undersized at only 170 lbs., and struggles on the defensive end of the court. Most likely, Frazier will finish up his career overseas, but not for a lack of effort!