Hornets Beat: International Edition

Published: August 1, 2011

Written in Amsterdam, it’s the international edition of Hornets Beat!

Joining us this week are mW from HornetsHype and Jake Madison from Swarm and Sting. Ryan and I partake in the fun as well. There is no featured non-sportswriter guest for this week, but once I get back to the Big Easy I can assure you that there are going to be some really interesting people giving their perspective. I don’t want to spoil the surprises, so I’ll just let your imaginations run wild.

Anyway, without further adieu, let’s get started with this week’s edition.

1. Who is the best international player in the NBA today?

Ryan Schwan, Hornets247- Manu Ginobili.  Look, I know Dirk took Dallas to a title and has an amazing skillset all his own, but a healthy Manu Ginobili challenges Dwayne Wade(like he used to challenge Kobe) for the right to the tile of the best Shooting Guard in the NBA.  In fact, as a defender, I’d rather have the ball in Kobe’s or Wade’s hands than in Ginobili’s, because he’s got the same sick ability to attack, but his deep shot is even more pure.  Between him and Dirk, I take Ginobili by a hair.(Insert balding Manu joke here)

mW, HornetsHype- Not even a question.  Dirk.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- It has to be Dirk Nowitzki after winning the NBA title this year. He put up 23 points and 7 rebounds a night in the regular season and during the playoffs bumped that up to 27 and 8. If anyone thinks it is someone else then they need to watch the playoffs again.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets247- Right now I have to go with Dirk, but Manu would probably be 1a if Dirk winning the title wasn’t so fresh in my mind.

2. Who is the best international player ever to ball in the NBA?

Ryan Schwan, Hornets247- I want to say Arvydas Sabonis, because even as an unathletic broken down 34-year old, he was the only guy who could slow an in-his-prime Shaq.   Still, there is one international player who likely could have taken an in-his-prime Sabonis anyways, so I’ll take Hakeem Olajuwon.(Unless you want to give me Tim Duncan, who was born in the US Virgin Islands)  Dwight Howard is to Hakeem Olajuwon what Deron Williams is to Chris Paul.

mW, HornetsHype- Hate to subject the past to the present, but, again, has to be Dirk Nowitzki.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- Hakeem Olajuwon if you’re looking for a player who played the majority of his career in the NBA. It is hard to argue with 2 titles, an MVP, and the all-time record for blocks. I’d go with Arvydas Sabonis if you want an international player who had most of his success outside of the NBA. But you really can’t beat the Dream Shake.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets247- It’s been hard for the league to define international player for some time now, but it’s a hard choice between Tim Duncan and Hakeem if you count either of them.

3. Who is the best international Hornets player of all time?

Ryan Schwan, Hornets247- Marcus Vinicius!  No?  Maciej Lampe?   How about George Zidek or Arvydas Macijauskas?  Jerome Moiso!   Okay, I’ve run out of names of obscure foreigners to throw at you off the top of my head.  The Hornets haven’t had a lot of luck with their foreign players, but I’ll take Jamaal Magloire(Canadian) over Peja and Vlade.   While Peja and Vlade had better total careers, purely as a Hornet, Magloire had more impact than Peja’s one good season and Vlade’s short stint in Charlotte.  (How about Bostjan Nachbar or Alex Garcia?  Anyone?  Bueler?)

mW, HornetsHype- Interesting question.  I’m going to have to go with Peja.  I mean, clearly the Hornets got Stojakovic after his best years, and what years we did have him were marred by injuries, but if you look at his numbers, he’s one of the best three point shooters ever.  Plus, he was a great teammate.  In the rare times when David and Chris were both out, he showed he could still score 20+ a night.  So that shows he’s always had it, but was willing to play whatever role the coach wanted.  Lastly, how many Hornets players got you out of your seat/pumping your fist in the air from the mere fact that the ball left his hand?  Exactly.  And you might never see that again.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- I’m going with Peja Stojakovic for all the beautiful three-point shots he hit for the Hornets. While his Hornets career didn’t end spectacularly, the 07-08 season was very special. I still miss the Peja heads running along the court whenever he hit a three.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets247- Let’s go with Peja here.

4. Which non-North American city will be the first to get an NBA franchise?

Ryan Schwan, Hornets247- Without some sort of travel revolution, I don’t think the NBA will ever have a Division over-seas that plays against mainland US teams.  However, I would be willing to bet that Shanghai(along with several other Chinese cities) will host an NBA-affiliated or partly-owned team first.

mW, HornetsHype- My bet is on London.  New York to London is a longer flight than New York to Los Angeles by two hours.  That’s reasonable.  Of course, Los Angeles to London will be rough, but so be it.  There’s enough down time in an NBA team’s life to be able to adjust to jet lag.  Plus, London has an NBA-ready stadium.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- If I’m forced to choose I’d say London since the NBA just had a couple of regular season games there. But with David Stern talking about how much money the league is losing and mentioning contraction, I don’t see foreign expansion happening anytime soon

Joe Gerrity, Hornets247- I have a hard time not choosing London here since the flight is reasonable from the east coast, and there seems to be a good bit of interest. Long term I think the NBA will look to expand, but it won’t be for years.

5. Where is the best place for an NBA superstar to play internationally if the lockout draws on?

Ryan Schwan, Hornets247- The Spanish League.  Other than the Euroleague, the Spanish League has the highest quality of competition.  If they want to stay sharp, NBA players should go to Spain.  However, with the economy in Spain going to pot, if they want to get paid, they probably will go to Italy, Greece, Russia or Turkey.

mW, HornetsHype- Really tough question.  I mean, it all depends on the player.  The Spanish leagues seem to offer the best competition, but, then again, they need NBA players the least.  The Russian, Turkish, and Greek Leagues are not as renowned, skill-wise, but have some very rich owners willing to throw money at top-level American talent.  Then there is China, with its people’s appetite for basketball and a billion new customers that plenty of the players are trying to market to.  Then there is the language barrier.  Not insurmountable, as a lot of international teams have some experience with English; but, if you speak French, for example, your willingness to play in France might be greater than in Germany.  It also depends on if money matters to you.  Kobe and Chris Paul don’t need money.  Younger players with less, like Blake Griffin, might want to chase the Euros.  Also, where would they be most interested in living?  If it were me, and combining all the above, I’d go play in Greece.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- A superstar should either play in Spain from a competitive standpoint since they have the best league, China for marketing or Turkey for money. I doubt many players will play abroad but if I had the choice I’d probably head to Italy just for the experience.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets247- If they are looking to become an international star in what is largest emerging market in the world (basketball and otherwise), then the choice is simple– China. If they are looking for quality ball, then Spain is the choice.


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