As we’re living in a more globalized world each day, more and more European basketball players make their way to the NBA. Time for us to honour some great European stars who made an impact in the NBA during the past 10 years. This ranking is based on the best European performers between the 2009-10 season and the 2019-20 season.
European legends have something in common. They love to stay with the same franchise for a long time, showing their loyalty and love for the team. Today we take a closer look at our 9th pick in the ranking.
As we all miss the NBA right now, we hope you enjoy this read. And most importantly, take care.
9. Nikola Vucevic (current team: Orlando Magic) Age: 29
Nikola Vucevic was born in Switserland in 1990, but has a Montenegrin nationality. His father, Boro Vucevic, played basketball in Switserland at the time.
Boro continued his career overseas in Belgium, playing for Ieper, Brussels, Luik and Okapi Aalstar. Nikola spent a large part of his youth in Belgium, making him very familiar with our country. Today, some family members of Nikola still live in Zaventem, the city where the young Montenegrin started playing basketball with the U12 team of the Zaventem Jets.
A couple of years later, the Vucevic family moved back to Montenegro, where Nikola became one of the nations best youth players.
At the age of 17, Nikola moved to the United States to play College basketball at the University of Southern California. Three years later he got drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, as he got selected 16th in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Vucevic had a quiet rookie season in Philadelphia. In the summer of 2012 he got traded to the Orlando Magic in a four-team trade involving Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Aron Afflalo, Andre Iguodala and other players.
The 2012-2013 season was the start of a great career with the Orlando Magic (he’s still on the team today). On December 31, Vucevic set a franchise record with 29 rebounds.
In the 2018-2019 season, Vucevic averaged 20.8 PPG and 12 RPG, shooting 55 % from the field, in what was probably his best season thus far for the Magic. In the same year, he became an NBA All-Star.