NBA Today: Top 5 European players in the league right now
The NBA is the world's biggest basketball organisation. Before the 1980s, it was only limited to America and not particularly popular - though players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird helped it gain popularity worldwide.
As of today, it has evolved to become a global league, one that distributes its games and programming in 215 countries. Many foreign-based players join NBA teams for exposure and a good paycheck, as the number of international players league-wide continues to increase each season.
Europe has produced some of the finest basketball players including Dirk Nowitzki, the Gasol brothers (Marc and Pau) and many more besides. These players proved themselves in European leagues before later going to play in the NBA. In this list, we take a look at the top five European players who feature in the league right now:
#5 Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is one of the league's finest young players at present, playing for the Dallas Mavericks in the point guard and small forward positions. Both a creative and versatile player, he won the NBA's Rookie of the Year award for an impressive 2018/19 campaign.
Born on February 28, 1999 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Luka rose to prominence when signing a five-year deal to play for Spanish side Real Madrid back in 2012. He became the youngest player in club history to play for their senior side in the Liga ACB.
Luka performed very well for Madrid, winning numerous accomplishments along the way - EuroLeague MVP, Rising Star on two separate occasions as well as the ACB's best young player accolade. He represents the Slovenian national team and won the EuroBasket 2017 tournament with them.
Unsurprisingly, he decided to take his talents to the NBA and was selected as the third pick of the first round by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 Draft. They soon traded him to the Mavericks in exchange for fellow draftee Trae Young, where he became the youngest player to score 20 points in a game - averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and six assists per game during an excellent rookie campaign. The future looks bright for the young superstar, who has potential to become an all-time great like Dirk did for the Mavericks.