|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAWhat happened to all of the foreign players in the NBA draft? There are hardly any of them this year to pick from, after nearly a decade and a half of All-Star quality foreign talent playing in the USA.
Someone call the original 1992 Dream Team up to play in this year's Summer Olympics in London. Maybe they can inspire today's youth around the world to play basketball again, although they may not be as dominant as they were twenty years ago (but I wouldn't discount them, either).
That unforgettable Dream Team, about which there are now at least two full-length professional documentaries, provided the impetus throughout the world for kids to pick up a basketball. Without them, we may not have gotten to see such European greats as the Gasol brothers, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Luol Deng, and the list goes on.
But now it seems the well has run dry. Only one foreign player, Meriem Moktaa Fournier from France, is expected to go in the first round, somewhere between the twenty-fifth and thirtieth picks. If he slips out of the first and into the second round, though, this would be the first year since 1992 that no international player was picked in the first round. Click here for all of our NBA Draft news coverage.
Why is this? It's old news that Europe has been experiencing one economic woe after another, with countries almost at the point of leaving the European Union. This year also showcases some strong college-level American athletes. And last year's lockout-shortened season almost sent a number of players to European teams, so the road may not be running back to America yet.
Twenty years ago, the end of the Soviet Union caused severe economic and social upheavals, as well, leading to a dramatic decline in birthrates in some European countries. The NBA draft may be experiencing the aftereffects of those shocks right now. Perhaps, all that is needed is time. Look at our NBA futures odds soon to see how new picks and inevitable trades will affect team prices.
Then again, maybe there is a bit of a backlash against international players, who have often overshadowed some of the best American talent in the draft. Can anyone forget Darko Milicic being drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in 2003?
Either way, this year's NBA draft will be the most American-heavy in memory. So let's look forward to watching Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal suit up in pro basketball uniforms in another few months, and let the scouts keep an eye out for the best European talent for future drafts.