The 2016 Olympics start this weekend. Teams in Men’s Basketball are flush with NBA talent. Below is a breakdown of players on each national team with some sort of NBA Connection. That can mean they play in the NBA, have played in the NBA or an NBA team currently holds their Draft Rights. Team USA is not covered as it is assumed anyone reading has a familiarity with the players that make up that roster.
Team Australia: 7 NBA Connections
- David Andersen: Center/7’0’’/Melbourne of the Australian NBL/36 Years Old: Andersen has previously played in the NBA for the Rockets, Pelicans and Raptors. After a successful first season with Houston as a stretch 4/5, Andersen never got back to the same level his next year. Since then he has played in Italy, Turkey and France.
- Cameron Bairstow: Forward/6’9’’/Brisbane of the Australian NBL/25 Years Old: Bairstow was a 2nd Round pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2014 and has played sparingly in two NBA seasons. This offseason the Bulls traded him to the Pistons, who subsequently waived him. After only one successful college season, Bairstow will look rebuild his professional value in the NBL this year.
- Aron Baynes: Center/6’10’’/Detroit Pistons/29 Years Old: Baynes completed his first season in Detroit, playing primarily as a backup to Andre Drummond. A solid offensive player and rebounder, Baynes lacks the defensive ability to be a full time starter in the NBA.
- Andrew Bogut: Center/7’0’’/Dallas Mavericks/31 Years Old: Bogut is heading in to his first season with Dallas after anchoring the backline of the Warriors defense for the last four seasons. Bogut remains a terrific defender, rebounder and passer, but his scoring has dropped off considerably over the years.
- Matthew Dellavedova: Guard/6’4’’/Milwaukee Bucks/25 Years Old: Dellavedova is joining the Bucks after spending the first three years of his career as a backup to Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. Always a scrappy defender, Dellavedova has turned himself in to a good playmaker and good shooter from behind the arc.
- Joe Ingles: Forward/6’8’’/Utah Jazz/28 Years Old: Ingles functions primarily as a defender and ball mover for Utah. In the Olympics, Australia will look for him to him shoot and score more often for them to be successful.
- Patty Mills: Guard/6’0’’/San Antonio Spurs/27 Years Old: Mills is a lead guard for Australia who functions both as a playmaker and scorer. This is different from his role with the Spurs where he is mainly asked to score off the bench. How Mills goes will dictate a lot of the success for Australia during the Games.
Team Argentina: 5 NBA Connections
- Nicolas Brussino: Forward/6’7’’/Dallas Mavericks/23 Years Old: Brussino will be a rookie this year after playing for several years professionally in Argentina. He has shown continuous growth in game as a scorer and shooter on the wing. He still has work to do defensively, but Dallas is excited about his potential.
- Carlos Delfino: Guard/6’6’’/Free Agent/33 Years Old: Delfino played 8 NBA seasons with Detroit, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Houston, most recently in 2012-13. He hasn’t played professionally since then due to injuries. Given his age and injury history, it seems unlikely Delfino will ever make an impact in the NBA again.
- Manu Ginobili: Guard/6’6’’/San Antonio Spurs/39 Years Old: Ginobili is in process of wrapping up his Hall of Fame career. His experience and success in the NBA and International levels is almost unmatched, including a Gold Medal at the 2004 Olympics.
- Andres Nocioni: Forward/6’7’’/Real Madrid in the Spanish ACB/36 Years Old: Nocioni played for 8 NBA seasons with Chicago, Sacramento and Philadelphia. Since last appearing in the NBA, Nocioni has played professionally in Spain. He continues to be a scrappy defender and outside shooter in a lite-3&D capacity.
- Luis Scola: Forward/6’9’’/Brooklyn Nets/36 Years Old: Scola is heading into his 10th NBA season in 2016-17 as he joins the Brooklyn Nets. He’s previously played for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers and Raptors. Always prized for his ability to be an unselfish teammate who is willing to play a role. He’s still a good veteran presence who can be counted on for short minutes, but his game is falling off as his athleticism wanes.
- Patricio Garino: Forward/6’6’’/San Antonio Spurs/23 Years Old: Garino played for Orlando during Summer League and showed a nice outside shot. He’s also tough minded and not afraid to get into an opponent’s body on defense. His ball handling and passing can use some work, but he has a high basketball IQ. He may end up in the D-League, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he made the Spurs either.
Team Brazil: 7 NBA Connections
- Leandro Barbosa: Guard/6’3’’/Phoenix Suns/33 Years Old: Barbosa returns to the Suns for his 14th NBA season. He’s played for Phoenix two other times, as well as Toronto, Indiana, Boston and Golden State. Barbosa can still score points in bunches even if he’s no longer quite the “Brazilian Blur.”
- Cristiano Felicio: Center/Forward/6’9’’/Chicago Bulls/24 Years Old: After barely playing for the first half of his rookie year, Felicio burst on the scene late in the year with several nice games. His range is best measured in inches and not feet at this point, but his motor and instincts are top notch.
- Alex Garcia: Guard/6’2’’/Free Agent/36 Years Old: Garcia made spot appearances in the NBA with San Antonio and the Charlotte Hornets in the early 2000s. Since then he has played professionally in his home country. He’s a consistent scorer with a decent outside shot and rebounds much bigger than his size, even playing some forward at times.
- Nene Hilario: Center/6’11’’/Houston Rockets/33 Years Old: Nene has made a long career for himself in the NBA with Denver, Washington and this upcoming season, Houston. After 14 seasons, he’s still a solid inside scorer and rebounder, but his defense has slipped noticeably in recent years.
- Marcelinho Huertas: Guard/6’3’’/Los Angeles Lakers/33 Years Old: Huertas completed a successful rookie season in the NBA last year after years of overseas play in Spain. He’s a solid playmaker at point guard and a good, if reluctant shooter.
- Raulzinho Neto: Guard/6’1’’/Utah Jazz/24 Years Old: Neto was another rookie point guard in the NBA this year with the Utah Jazz. He played a large role as the primary backup and sometimes starter. He flashed solid playmaking skills and a nice shot. Nothing stands out in his game positively or negatively, which is what you want in a backup PG.
- Marcus Vinicius: Forward/6’9’’/Free Agent/32 Years Old: Vinicius played in the NBA in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 season with the Hornets. He was primarily a bench player as his game never quite panned out in the NBA. In Brazil he’s a solid offensive player who always leaves you wanting on the defensive end.
Team China: 3 NBA Connections
- Zhelin Wang: Center/7’0’’/Draft Rights Retained by Memphis/22 Years Old: Wang was a 2016 2nd Round pick by the Grizzlies. In four professional seasons in China he has showed an ability to score, rebound and block some shots. As with many younger Chinese players, Wang needs lots of work defensively. These Olympics will be the first chance for many to see this prospect play.
- Jianlian Yi: Forward/7’0’’/Free Agent/28 Years Old: Yi was drafted sixth overall in 2007 by the Milwaukee Bucks. After just one season in Milwaukee he was dealt to the Nets. After middling success with the Nets he finished his NBA career with Washington and Dallas. Yi never became the offensive weapon both inside and out that many had hoped. In China, where defense is rarely stressed, Yi is a dominant offensive player, almost as if he is going against chairs at times.
- Qi Zhou: Center/7’2’’/Draft Rights Retained by Houston/20 Years Old: Zhou was drafted in the 2nd Round in 2016 by the Rockets. He’s a relative unknown, only getting regular minutes last season in China. He’s shown the ability to score the ball, rebound and block shots. He’s thin, but has a good frame to add some bulk. He’ll be one of the more watched players in the entire Olympics as most of the world hasn’t seen him play.
Team Croatia: 4 NBA Connections
- Bojan Bogdanovic: Forward/6’8’’/Brooklyn Nets/27 Years Old: Bogdanovic is heading into his third year with the Nets in 2016-17. As a part time starter, he’s displayed a knack for scoring the ball. He has a good outside shot and can put the ball on the floor just enough to get to the basket. This is his first Olympics, but he’s developed in to Croatia’s offensive leader over the course of previous international competitions.
- Mario Hezonja: Guard/6’8’’/Orlando Magic/21 Years Old: Hezonja completed an up and down rookie year with Orlando last season. While playing almost every game, he received inconsistent minutes as Scott Skiles never trusted him defensively. When Hezonja did play he flashed a good all-around game as a shooter, scorer and playmaker. As one of the youngest players in the league, there is a lot of excitement around his development. Some strong play in lead ups to the Olympics has only served to heighten those expectations.
- Dario Saric: Forward/6’9’’/Philadelphia 76ers/22 Years Old: Saric will make his long awaited NBA debut in 2016-17 after Philadelphia acquired him in a Draft day trade with Orlando in 2014. Saric has shown a lot of promise as an offensive player with his versatile inside-outside game, and he’s a willing defender as well. He’s been very good in international competitions as of late as well as a secondary offensive option behind Bogdanovic.
- Roko Ukic: Guard/6’5’’/Free Agent/31 Years Old: Ukic played for 2 NBA season in the late 2000s with Toronto and Milwaukee. He was a serviceable backup PG with the Raptors, but struggled to get on the floor with the Bucks. Since then he’s bounced around Europe with teams in Turkey, Greece, Croatia and Italy. He primarily plays as a scoring point guard or off the ball with a better playmaker next to him. He’s struggled in recent international competitions as his athletic ability is beginning to fade.
Team France: 7 NBA Connections
- Nicolas Batum: Guard/Forward/6’8’’/Charlotte Hornets/27 Years Old: Batum remains on the NBA’s most versatile players. His ability to score, rebound, pass and defend helped the Hornets become one of the bigger surprises in the NBA last season. He recently re-upped with the Hornets on a big contract that should keep him in Charlotte for the rest of his career.
- Nando De Colo: Guard/6’5’’/CSKA Moscow/29 Years Old: De Colo last played in the NBA in 2013-14 with the Toronto Raptors, who continue to think enough of his skills to retain his rights as a Restricted Free Agent. A backup PG in the NBA, De Colo has become a top flight starter in Russia. A natural scorer, he’s equally good at getting to the basket and letting if fly from behind the arc.
- Boris Diaw: Forward/6’8’’/Utah Jazz/34 Years Old: Diaw is now a veteran of 13 NBA season and was traded from San Antonio to Utah over the summer. He remains a solid backup who is able to play both PF and C. His passing ability continues to be very good and he has a consistent, underrated three point shot as well. Diaw fits anyone, including France, as a complementary player.
- Mickael Gelabale: Forward/6’7’’/Free Agent/33 Years Old: Gelabale last played in the NBA in 2012-13 with the Timberwolves. Prior to that he had played two seasons for the SuperSonics. Overseas he has played in Russia, Croatia, Spain and France. He’s made his career on his defensive ability, but has added a decent three point shot over the years as he’s no longer able to get by on his athleticism offensively.
- Rudy Gobert: Center/7’1’’/Utah Jazz/24 Years Old: Gobert is on the NBA’s most intimidating defenders at the rim. He uses his size and length to regular deter opponents forays to the basket and he’s developed in to a very good rebounder as well. As he heads in to the final year of his Rookie Scale contract, he’s a candidate for a max contract next summer.
- Joffrey Lauvergne: Forward/Center/6’11’’/Denver Nuggets/24 Years Old: Lauvergne has played for the Nuggets over the past two seasons. He’s shown tremendous athletic ability to run the floor and get up for lobs and rebounds. Denver has him on a steal of a contract in their somewhat crowded frontcourt.
- Tony Parker: Guard/6’2’’/San Antonio Spurs/34 Years Old: Much like his Spurs teammate Manu Ginobili, Parker is a Hall of Fame lock for both his play in San Antonio and internationally. He’s led the growth of the French team from afterthought to medal contender. The groundwork he and his similarly aged teammates put in has inspired a whole new generation of French basketball players to make the leap to the NBA.
Team Lithuania: 5 NBA Connections
- Robertas Javtokas: Forward/6’11’’/Zalgiris (Draft Rights Retained by San Antonio)/36 Years Old: Since he was drafted back in 2001 and is already 36, it is highly unlikely that Javtokas ever plays in the NBA. At this point in his career, he’s a rugged type of backup forward in Lithuania.
- Mindaugas Kuzminskas: Forward/6’9’’/New York Knicks/26 Years Old: Kuzminskas will be a rookie with the Knicks this year after several years a professional in Lithuania and Spain. He’s an average scorer with a decent outside shot. He tries hard on defense, but is somewhat limited on that end of the court.
- Domantas Sabonis: Forward/6’10’’/Oklahoma City Thunder/20 Years Old: Sabonis will be a rookie with the Thunder this year after two seasons at Gonzaga. Sabonis is a good rebounder with a soft touch around the basket. While not the passer his father was, he has a very solid feel for the game and competes hard on both ends.
- Renaldas Seibutis: Guard/6’5’’/Zalgiris (Draft Right Retained by Dallas Mavericks)/31 Years Old: Seibutis can also be added to the list of players who are unlikely to ever come over to the NBA, despite the Mavs holding his rights. He did appear in some Summer League games a number of years ago, but his career is in Lithuania. He’s a scoring guard and a very good outside shooter. He’s also a good passer and gives a good effort defensively.
- Jonas Valanciunas: Center/7’0’’/Toronto Raptors/24 Years Old: Valanciunas is an established NBA starter now 4 years into his career. He’s also developed into a centerpiece of the Lithuanian national team offensive attack. He’ll see the ball often. Foul trouble is something to watch throughout the course of the games for Valanciunas.
Team Nigeria: 5 NBA Connections
- Josh Akognon: Guard/5’11’’/Free Agent/30 Years Old: Akognon appeared with Dallas a few years back on a 10 Day Contract. Outside of that he’s made a good career for himself overseas, primarily in China and Italy. Despite his small size, he’s a natural scoring guard. He has both a good outside shot and enough quickness to get to the rim.
- Alade Aminu: Center/6’10’’/Free Agent/28 Years Old: Aminu, brother of Al-Farouq Aminu of the Trail Blazers, has never appeared in an NBA game despite being signed to a 10 Day Contract by the Heat in 2010. He has played overseas for years in France, Turkey, and Israel. He has great touch around the basket, but doesn’t protect the rim or rebound nearly as well as someone his size should.
- Ike Diogu: Forward/6’10’’/Free Agent/32 Years Old: Diogu has played for 6 different teams over the course of his NBA career, last with San Antonio in 2011-12. Since then he’s been a dominant scorer and rebounder in China. In recent years, he’s even begun taking threes on a regular basis, a skill he never showed in the NBA.
- Michael Gbinije: Forward/6’7’’/Detroit Pistons/24 Years Old: Gbinije will be a rookie with the Pistons this coming season after completing a four year college career with Syracuse. He’s a good all-around player with above average ball handling and passing skills for a player his size. There are questions about his ability to defend in the NBA.
- Ben Uzoh: Guard/6’3’’/Free Agent/28 Years Old: Uzon played two NBA seasons with the Nets, Raptors and Cavaliers. In recent years, he’s been limited to playing with the Nigerian national team. Uzoh is a defense first player who is also a solid passer, but not much of a threat as a shooter or scorer.
Team Spain: 11 NBA Connections
- Alex Abrines: Guard/6’6’’/Oklahoma City Thunder/23 Years Old: Abrines is coming over to OKC for the upcoming season after being drafted back in 2013. He’s mostly been used as a reserve with FC Barcelona, but he’s an athletic wing with a good three point shot.
- Jose Calderon: Guard/6’3’’/Los Angeles Lakers/34 Years Old: Calderon is now a veteran of 11 NBA season. He’s slowed down quite a bit, especially defensively, but remains a solid passer and shooter. And he still barely ever turns the ball over.
- Victor Claver: Forward/6’10’’/FC Barcelona/27 Years Old: After three largely unproductive NBA seasons in Portland, Claver returned to Europe to play in Russia and this upcoming season he’ll play back in his native Spain. He’s a prototypical stretch 4 with a good jumper, in addition to providing solid rebounding.
- Rudy Fernandez: Guard/6’6’’/Real Madrid/31 Years Old: Fernandez played four NBA seasons with Portland and Denver. He provided scoring and shooting off the bench, but never became the star he was with Real Madrid. At this point in his career he’s basically a spot up shooter and secondary playmaker.
- Pau Gasol: Forward/Center/7’0’’/San Antonio Spurs/36 Years Old: With his performance on the international level and NBA success over 15 seasons, Gasol is likely to join his new teammates Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker in the Hall of Fame someday. With brother Marc out of the Olympics as he recovers from a foot injury, Gasol will be asked to carry the load for Spain inside.
- Willy Hernangomez: Center/6’11’’/New York Knicks/22 Years Old: The Knicks are bringing Hernangomez over for this coming season after acquiring him at the 2015 Draft. In limited minutes in Spain, he’s shown a soft touch around the basket and good rebounding ability.
- Sergio Llull: Guard/6’3’’/Real Madrid (Draft Rights Retained by Houston)/28 Years Old: Llull has almost made a career out of “will he/won’t he join the NBA” each summer since being drafted in 2009. Llull is a good shooter/scorer in the backcourt and also a very solid playmaker from the shooting guard position.
- Nikola Mirotic: Forward/6’10’’/Chicago Bulls/25 Years OldMuch like his NBA role with the Bulls, Mirotic is a shooter/rebounder/energy guy for Spain. He’s a solid fit around his teammates in spacing the floor to give Spain’s bigs room to work inside.
- Juan Carlos Navarro: Guard/6’3’’/Free Agent/36 Years Old: Navarro had one successful NBA season coming off the bench for the Grizzlies. He shot well and was a successful 6th man for Memphis. He chose to return back to Spain to FC Barcelona where he has played the same role as a bench scorer for years.
- Sergio Rodriguez: Guard/6’3’’/Philadelphia 76ers/30 Years Old: After six years away from the NBA, Rodriguez is returning from Real Madrid to the Sixers. He’s a solid playmaker from the point guard position and his shot has become respectable enough that teams can’t play off him anymore.
- Ricky Rubio: Guard/6’4’’/Minnesota Timberwolves/25 Years Old: After missing the 2012 Olympics, Rubio is back with the Spanish national team. With so many other guard options, it remains to be seen how big of role Rubio with play in these Olympics. But his vision and playmaking could come in to play to get his teammates open looks.
Team Serbia: 4 NBA Connections
- Bogdan Bogdanovic: Guard/6’6’’/Fenebahce Ulker (Draft Rights Retained by Sacramento)/23 Years Old: In his time in Serbia and Turkey, Bogdanovic has developed in to a very good shooter and scorer. He’s also improved his playmaking and defensive skills. Sacramento acquired Bogdanovic from Phoenix with the goal of getting him to the NBA by the 2017-18 season.
- Nikola Jokic: Center/6’10’’/Denver Nuggets/21 Years Old: Jokic had an excellent rookie season with the Nuggets, developing into a solid scorer and rebounder. He’s also a good passer and aggressive defender. At only 21 years old, the sky is somewhat the limit for this young big man.
- Nemanja Nedovic: Guard/6’3’’/Unicaja Malaga/25 Years Old: Nedovic appeared in just one season with the Warriors in 2013-14. In his European career he’s played in Serbia, Lithuania and Spain. With those clubs he’s showed a good three point shot and some limited PG skills.
- Miroslav Raduljica: Center/7’0’’/EA7 Emporio Armani Milano/28 Years Old: Raduljica played one full season with the Bucks and two 10 Day Contracts with the Timberwolves in another year. He’s a rugged big man who is a sold defender with a nice scoring touch around the basket.