Most of us know about the NBA veterans that are playing for their respective countries, but there are some new international names that you should keep your eye on. These are guys that I expect to dominate in this year’s tournament in Rio that no one is talking about.
Saric was a lottery pick drafted in 2014 by the Philadelphia 76ers, however has spent the last couple years overseas, with next season being his first with the Sixers organization. The Croat is arguably the most gifted of the young international players in this tournament and his skill set at 6’10” is comparable to Ben Simmons. He’s going to be the go-to guy for Croatia and it should be fun to watch his playmaking ability on display.
Jokic has only played one season for the Denver Nuggets so far and was one of the bright spots for them last season. Considering he was a player taken in the middle of the second round, he was one of the biggest steals on the 2014 draft. Jokic will be playing for Serbia and is a versatile big who can score in the post while also being able to stretch the defense out with his three-point shooting, which could create problems for certain players on Team USA.
Sabonis is a guy I am sure we will hear about a lot in this tournament considering he plays for Lithuania, who are one of the top teams in this tournament. He is the most interesting of the three guys I have mentioned because he was a stud during his time at Gonzaga. The Olympics will be a good test as to whether he is worth receiving valuable NBA minutes at the Oklahoma City Thunder next season. He will slot in alongside Jonas Valanciunas, who is currently one of the more versatile young bigs in the NBA. The duo of Sabonis and Valanciunas are going to cause a lot of teams concerns, including Team USA, if they struggle early on shooting the ball from the outside.