Top Stories

Around the Globe: All-International Team Part I

Check out the first installment of the All-International Team in the latest look at standout international performers.

Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid represent two of the six international All-Stars.

Players are getting back into the flow after an incredible All-Star Weekend and teams are back in action as the second half is upon us. It’s time to reflect on an exciting first half and take a look at the international performers that were crucial to their team’s success.

We’ll revisit this unofficial All-International Team at the conclusion of the season to see how things shake out.

Here’s a special edition of the Around the Globe report:

All-International First Team:

G: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (Slovenia)
Season stats:
27.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 9.0 apg

G: Ricky Rubio, Indiana Pacers (Spain)
Season stats:
13.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.6 apg

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (Greece)
Season stats: 29.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 6.0 apg

F: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Cameroon)
Season stats: 29.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 4.5 apg

F: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (Serbia)
Season stats: 26.0 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 7.9 apg

The only real suspense for the first-team selections came down to who would slot in at guard next to Doncic. The frontcourt features the top 3 candidates for the KIA NBA MVP award, as Antetokounmpo, Embiid and Jokic all have performed at elite levels and have been durable throughout the season so far. Despite being out for the rest of the season, Rubio gets the nod for his work in stabilizing a young Cleveland team that featured two All-Stars and is firmly in position to do damage in the playoffs. The Cavs are aware his experience will sorely be missed once the postseason begins, so they used him as part of the deal to bring in Caris LeVert to help fill the void at guard.

Doncic has rounded back into form after a slow (by his standards) start to the season. In the final four games before the break, Doncic averaged an absurd 41.5 points per game, including a career-high 51-point effort in a win over the Clippers. The only knock on Doncic’s game is his shot selection from beyond the arc as his 3-point percentage has taken a dip, but it’s all moot once he gets into a zone and turns into a human heat-check as he did most nights before the All-Star break.

Antetokounmpo is probably the only player in the league that could theoretically play any position but he’s done most of his damage from the frontcourt this season. He has spent more time at center this season thanks to the absence of Brook Lopez but he has not sacrificed efficiency in the process. He is getting to the free-throw line the most ever in his career and he’s shooting his best percentage from the stripe in three years.

Embiid has been healthy after injuries slowed the start to his campaign and he has produced MVP-caliber numbers without the benefit of his former sidekick Ben Simmons all season. Now he has a chance to form a dynamic duo with James Harden down the stretch and we’ll get our first look at the pair as Harden is set to debut against the Timberwolves.

The Nuggets have been bitten by the injury bug all season, but it has only inspired more dominance from the reigning MVP, Jokic. “The Joker” has been anything but his namesake, bringing intensity every night as he carried Denver to the West’s sixth-best record without two key players in Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray. Jokic very well may be able to keep his squad in a top-six spot out West, but it’s fair to wonder how strong the team can be if one or both of Porter Jr. and Murray can find their way back in time for the playoffs.

All-International Second Team:

G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder (Canada)
Season stats:
22.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.5 apg

G: RJ Barrett, New York Knicks (Canada)
Season stats: 18.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 apg

F: Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Lithuania)
Season stats:
19.0 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 5.1 apg

F: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors (Cameroon)
Season stats: 21.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 5.2 apg

F: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz (France)
Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 14.8 rpg, 1.2 apg

A sturdy frontcourt is joined by an interesting set of guards for the second team. Gilgeous-Alexander has dealt with injuries but is already one of the better combo-guards in the league. Barrett has steadily improved each season, though he has yet to vault himself into star status like Darius Garland and Ja Morant have, two guards from the same 2019 Draft class.

Gobert has the most experience of the group and has continued to fortify his reputation as one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Sabonis welcomed a change of scenery in a trade to the Kings and now forms a potent one-two punch with talented point guard De’Aaron Fox. Siakam’s versatile skillset fits perfectly into a postionless Raptors lineup that is surging up the Eastern Conference standings.

All-International Third Team:

G: Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder (Canada)
Season stats:
17.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.7 apg

G: Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder (Australia)
Season stats: 12.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 6.4 apg

F: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans (Lithuania)
Season stats: 18.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 2.6 apg

F: Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Montenegro)
Season stats: 18.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.6 apg

F: Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Season stats: 15.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.8 apg

Sam Presti has plenty of first-round picks to fortify his club in the coming years but he already has a great backcourt to work from. Giddey has grown exponentially each month, becoming a nightly triple-double threat as he operated as the lead guard with Gilgeous-Alexander out. Dort’s positional flexibility and rugged defense makes him a fit with almost any combination of lineups the Thunder choose to use him in.

Valanciunas has been a steady force for the Pelicans all season long, and the team went out and added CJ McCollum to aid in their chase for a playoff spot. Many of the Bulls’ headlines feature DeMar DeRozan, and rightfully so, but Vucevic’s offensive versatility has diversified Chicago’s attack, allowing DeRozan to operate in his comfort zone. Portland unloaded veterans at the trade deadline and will be without Damian Lillard, so it’s no small feat that Anfernee Simons and Nurkic have helped the Blazers maintain a Play-In spot. Hopefully, Nurkic returns from injury in time for a playoff run.

G League Standouts

Cheick Diallo (Mali)

The Motor City Cruise big man is currently 5th in the G League in rebounds, with 10.9 rpg, and 9th, with 1.4 bpg, while scoring 15.1 ppg on 71.8% from the field (5th in the G). Diallo was also named First Team All-Winter Showcase in December, leading Motor City to the semifinals.

Jaime Echenique (Colombia)

The Capital City Go-Go center became the first Colombian to play in an NBA game during his 10-Day contract with the Washington Wizards in December, and he leads Capital City in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg).

Top 10 Moments Of The First Half

10. Metu Magic

Chimezie Metu beats the buzzer with a corner 3-pointer

Chimezie Metu beats the buzzer with a corner 3-pointer

9. Unicorn At Play

Porzingis prints poster jam on Cavaliers

Kristaps Porzingis slams it home, 11/29/2021

8. Joker Plays “Poker”

Full Focus: Jokic's game-winning block

Nuggets get the win behind Aaron Gordon's three-pointer and Nikola Jokic's game-winning block.

7. JTA’s Slam Dunk Audition

Juan Toscano-Anderson drops the hammer on JaVale McGee

Juan Toscano-Anderson with the big dunk, 12/03/2021

6. Embiid Takes Flight 

Play of the Day: Joel Embiid

Play of the Day: Joel Embiid - February 12, 2022

5. Fournier’s Frantic Finish

Full Focus: Knicks outlast Celtics in double overtime thriller

The Knicks took down the Celtics in double OT behind monster games from Julius Randle and Evan Fournier.

4. Giannis’ Fine 50-Piece

Nightly Notable: Giannis Antetokounmpo | Feb. 15

Giannis Antetokounmpo drops in 50 points on a 17-for-21 shooting night and hauls in 14 rebounds to push Milwaukee past Indiana.

3. Giddey Makes History

Giddey becomes youngest player to post triple-double

Thunder rookie Josh Giddey finishes with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists to become the youngest in NBA history to record a triple-double.

2. Luka Comes Out Hot

Doncic scores 28 points in 1st quarter

Luka scores 28 in the Fist Quarter!

1. Barrett Banks On Broadway

Full Focus: RJ Barrett's buzzer-beater caps Knicks' comeback

RJ Barrett banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give New York 108-105 comeback victory over Boston.