How Europeans Are Set to Take the NBA By Storm Next Season How Europeans Are Set to Take the NBA By Storm Next Season
Key Takeaways
  • European stars like Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are dominating the NBA.
  • The 2023 Draft introduces more European talent, including top pick Victor Wembanyama.
  • Fellow European Bilal Coulibaly is expected to develop into a dominant figure in his second/third NBA season.
  • Serbian guard Vasilije Micic, a two-time EuroLeague Champion and 2021 MVP, joins Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Sacramento Kings sign Bulgarian forward and EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov, known for his superb shooting skills.

European players’ success in recent years has opened the doors for the new prospects from across the pond ahead of the 2023/24 season — not that they needed it. David Stern made efforts to globalize the NBA in the early 1990s, but even he probably never envisioned such a siege of the league from distant countries in the following few decades.

We have seen some great European basketball players earning respect from the local basketball crowd in the last couple of decades, but nobody could have predicted a genuine dominance by foreigners in the last few years.

Today, we have Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo as three of the best five players in the league, according to both expert NBA analysts and general basketball fans.

Jokic took the Nuggets to the first NBA title in franchise history in the 2022/23 season. Giannis had done the same with the Bucks earlier. This duo has also won back-to-back MVP awards.

Doncic is yet to reach their heights, but he is widely considered one of the most talented players in the game and, as such, is a perennial MVP contender. We would not be surprised to see Luka taking Dallas Mavericks to the throne in the years to come.

betmgm sports us
Last verified: April 2024
Special Signup Offer
Get up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets!*
  • Welcome offer activates if your first bet loses
  • Great mobile betting experience
  • Variety of betting markets on offer

*Except NY & NV. Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Additional terms apply.

Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.

The 2023 Draft Class Brings More Stars from Overseas

European players’ success in recent years has opened the doors for new prospects from across the pond ahead of the 2023/24 season — not that they needed it.

Two of the top-ten prospects from the 2023 NBA draft are Europeans, including the top pick Victor Wembanyama. Wemby’s teammate and compatriot Bilal Coulibaly was selected as the No. 7 pick by the Pacers, who immediately sent him to the Wizards off the back of the pre-arranged agreement.

Tristan Vukcevic and Tarik Biberovic complete the list of the drafted Europeans after being selected in the second round as 42nd and 56th picks, respectively.

A Generational Talent to Shine Under Gregg Popovich

You all probably know everything about Wembanyama. He is considered the biggest NBA prospect since LeBron James, and he is the outstanding favorite to win the 2023/24 Rookie of the Year award among the online sports betting apps in the US.

The 7-foot-4 miracle is currently at minus-odds with FanDuel Sportsbook to win the prestigious award, being a huge favorite ahead of Scoot Henderson and Chet Holmgren before the start of the season.

The No. 1 overall pick had an amazing season with Metropolitans 92’ in French LNB Pro A, averaging 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game during a 34-game long season.

He led the team to the playoffs finals, earning three significant accolades in the process, including the league’s MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and the Best Young Player award.

The French phenom should have complete freedom in the San Antonio Spurs, who are looking to build the team around him. We cannot expect anything less but a spectacular campaign from the youngest player ever to win an MVP award in the French top flight.

fanduel sports us
Last verified: April 2024
Special Signup Offer
Bet $5 & get $200 in Bonus Bets!
  • Quality mobile app
  • Variety of betting markets
  • Same game parlays
Claim Signup Offer

Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.

Bilal is Washington’s Highest-Drafted Player in the Last Ten Years

Wembanyama’s teammate Bilal Coulibaly certainly deserves his share of credits and praises for Metropolitans 92’ run to the French elite class’ playoffs final last year.

The soon-to-be 19-year-old Frenchman has boosted his team’s prospects with a strong second half of the season. His overall numbers do not reveal his full impact on the team, but it is easy to recognize the difference between Bilal’s stats in the regular season and the playoffs.

Coulibaly averaged 5 points and 3 rebounds in around 18 minutes per game in the regular season, while these numbers grew to 27 minutes, 8.8 points, and 3.2 rebounds in 10 playoff appearances.

The Wizards will need to be patient with Coulibaly, though. He may not have a role anywhere near as important as Wembanyama for the Spurs, and his numbers should be far more modest, but we expect the 6’7 Frenchman to develop into a dominant figure in his second/third NBA season.

If you believe in Washington’s highest-drafted star in the last ten years to put on a show right from the start, you can get a juicy +8000 price tag for Bilal Coulibaly to win the 2023/24 Rookie of the Year award with FanDuel US.

Either way, the Wizards will be an exciting team to watch with Jordan Poole, Kyle Kuzma, and Bilal Coulibaly this year.

Two-time EuroLeague Champion and a 2021 MVP Joins Oklahoma City Thunder

We all know what Nikola Jokic did with the Nuggets last season. Well, get ready for another Serbian MVP as superstar guard Vasilije Micic has signed a $23.5 million three-year deal with Oklahoma City Thunder.

Micic has an amazing pedigree after taking the Turkish side Anadolu Efes to two EuroLeague trophies as well as an MVP award of the competition in 2021.

Micic was also selected as the EuroLeague’s Final Four MVP in back-to-back years (2021, 2022), taking home also the Alphonso Ford award as the top scorer in EuroLeague in the 2022 season.

The Serbian guard is already a full package. If we have to choose his deadliest weapons, playmaking and shooting are right up there. There is no doubt that highly motivated Micic will bring a special flare to the strongest basketball league on the planet after winning everything there was to win on his continent.

Vasilije will make a very dynamic and exotic backcourt rotation with Oklahoma’s young stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Add 2022 No 2 overall draft pick Chet Holmgren to the mix, and we have plenty of reasons to expect big things from the Thunder in the years to come.

The Kings Sign the Newest EuroLeague MVP in a $20 Million Deal

Sacramento Kings made a fantastic move on the day of the 2022 NBA draft, trading their 49th overall pick to Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Sasha Vezenkov draft rights and $1.75 million.

One year later, the Kings signed the Bulgarian forward fresh off his MVP campaign in the EuroLeague. The second Bulgarian ever to play in the strongest basketball league on the planet (Georgi Gluckhov was the first) has penned a $20 million three-year deal with Sacramento.

Vezenkov had an amazing season with Olympiacos Piraeus. His team were only stopped on the last obstacle on the way to the EuroLeague title, falling to Real Madrid in a shocking finish to the final in Kaunas.

Madrid’s win did not, however, prevent Vezenkov from claiming his well-deserved EuroLeague MVP award after averaging 17.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in the best competition on the continent. The fact that Sasha was the EuroLeague’s top scorer while shooting 65.5% for two and almost 40% from beyond the arc (on more than five attempts per game) is fascinating.

Now, we have plenty of reasons to say that the Kings are a perfect blend for Sasha Vezenkov. Sacramento have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2022/23 NBA season. They looked extraordinary as De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis starred throughout the whole campaign.

One big part of their success came because of a phenomenal shooting surrounding impersonated by the likes of Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, and Harrison Barnes. Vezenkov comes to the NBA with a reputation as an outstanding shooter.

Knowing he has managed such superb shooting numbers while being the prime target of rivaling defenses, we can only expect an increase in his output as a part of the regular Kings’ rotation.

Make no mistake, these Kings will be a fun watch next year and Sasha can easily establish himself as one of the most important pieces of their roster in the process.

Learn More: 2024 Rookie of the Year Betting Odds: Favorites to Underdogs