“Why don’t they take their ass-whuppin like people and go home? …. We’re gonna have a little revenge in our hearts, for ’72 and ’88, but David (Robinson) can’t say that, because he’s a Christian.”
-Charles Barkley The Dream Team
Question- would a 15-man World team along the rules of the ASG contest (first two years in the league, not born in the US) make the playoffs in the East?
This is yet another good question and it put me in mind of a graph I made a while back:
After a very sharp rise from the late 80’s (the Dream Team’s heyday) to about 2006, the share of player minutes going to non-US born players has reached a steady state at about 20% of all minutes played in the NBA.
What’s interesting is that equilibrium seems fair given the productivity levels of the players.
Thru 1995, it was fair to say that the international players coming into the NBA game were more productive than the average NBA player. From 1996 on, I think it’s fair to say that the population of international players is statistically indistinct in terms of production from US born players.
20% of the NBA Jobs going to international players looks right.
Let’s get to the actual question though. Would a team of Young non US born players make the playoffs in the East or would they fare like the Angola Knickerbockers? And what would such a team even look like?
Let’s get a list of all the non USA players up first (interactive version here).
The All World senior squad (soccer geeks will get that reference) is a tall monstrosity that would be a likely #1 seed. The PG is manned by your choice of Spurs and Goran Dragic. Your choice of Giannis, Thabo, Manu, Mirotic and Deng at the three. And all the skilled bigs and elite rim protection you could ever possibly want.
The Freshman/Sophmore squad is intensely more interesting:
The easiest decision is at the big man spots. Rudy Gobert, Dieng, Steven Adams and Alex Len would quite possibly be the top big man rotation right now in the NBA. The Three is solid with Mirotic and Giannis. Guards is more interesting Schroder has shown himself to be a capable PG with Roberson and Mathew Dellavedova getting the other guard slots. My last three slots would go to Wiggins, Exum and Staukas.
The roster/depth chart for the Young all World team looks like so:
Starters: Dennis Schroder, Andre Roberson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Mirotic, Rudy Gobert
Bench: Mathew Dellavedova, Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Alex Len, Gorgui Dieng, Steven Adams, Nick Staukas
I love this roster. So much length, size and skill. This is not only a playoff team in the East, it might be a top four seed.