The NBA has been very open to foreign players, especially those coming out of European nations. Some of the greatest in the game like Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Toni Kukoc and Tony Parker are all European players. These legends first proved their abilities in their domestic leagues and then made their way into the NBA.
Even today, some of the best players in the league come out of Europe. Their ability has taken the league by storm and has created a big market for fellow Europeans.
The best European players going into the 2021-22 NBA season
Earlier, an NBA prospect from European nations was never taken seriously. However, the stellar performances of European legends like Nowitzki and Pau Gasol have brought in a change in this notion.
One of the top European players in the game currently, Giannis Antetokounmpo hails from Greece. His domination in the Playoffs helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their first NBA Championship in almost 50 years.
There are several other big names that can be added to the elite list of European players. In this article, we bring 10 of the best European players currently active in the league.
#10 Jonas Valanciunas
Memphis Grizzlies v Utah Jazz - Game Five
Jonas Valanciunas was drafted 5th overall by the Toronto Raptors. He came into the league after a stunning spell in his home country of Lithuania.
The big man recorded a double-double in his very first game as he scored 12 points and recorded 10 rebounds to become the first Raptors rookie to bag a double-double on debut since Damon Stoudamire .
The Lithuanian bagged the MVP in the 2013 Summer League, which made him the first non-American to achieve this feat. He had a stellar seven-year run with the Raptors, but was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol in 2019.
He has been stunning for them, as his presence in the paint has helped the team's offense massively. He averaged 17.1 PPG for the Grizzlies in the regular season.
He is yet to be an All-Star or be selected into the All-NBA team, but if the Lithuanian continues his brilliance with Memphis, he can definitely ascend to his true potential.
# 9 Bojan Bogdanovic
Bojan Bogdanovic made his way into the NBA after several runs at big European clubs. He was picked 31st overall by the Miami Heat in 2011, but was later traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves followed by the New Jersey Nets on draft night.
He served as a starter with the Nets, but later fell out of favor with the team. Bogdanovic's career peaked when the player moved to the Utah Jazz in 2019. He was a pivotal part of a young team that had players like Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. In his debut season with the Jazz, he averaged 20.2 PPG and helped them get to the Playoffs.
He repeated his brilliance in the 2020-21 season as he averaged 17.0 PPG, while also recording a career high of 48 points in the game against the Denver Nuggets. Bogdanovic was sensational in the playoffs as he shot brilliantly for the Jazz from beyond the arc.
He will look to continue his great run with the Jazz next year and help the team further advance in the Playoffs.
# 8 Clint Capela
Clint Capela was drafted 25th overall in 2014 by the Houston Rockets. He has since been one of the best rebounders in the league. Capela is also one of the best shot blockers in the NBA.
In the 2017-18 season, the Swiss international averaged 1.9 blocks. He bettered that by averaging 2.0 blocks in the 2020-21 season with the Hawks.
In his first season at Atlanta, Capela massively helped the team's defense as he averaged 14.3 RPG. His defensive rebounding average for the season was 9.6. Capela's dominance this season helped him become the NBA Rebounding Leader of the Year.
However, the ceiling is high for him and he will be looking to impact the team in a better way in the coming years.