FIBA EuroBasket 2017 has provided some of the most eye-popping hoops talent that the continent has to offer. The tournament is chock full of both star NBA veterans and rising youngsters, and they’ve yielded some incredible games and individual performances.
We’re nearly two weeks into the festivities and are now entering the quarterfinals. Throughout group play and the early stages of knockout play, the most dominant scorers, playmakers and defenders have separated themselves from the rest of the field. It’s time to give the NBA standouts props by building the All-EuroBasket squad, honoring the top player at each position.
There are a handful of intriguing candidates among the 24 teams involved, but only five current NBAers made the cut. Our All-EuroBasket team is based on the players’ production, efficiency and overall impact.
Point Guard: Goran Dragic, Slovenia (Miami Heat)
EuroBasket Stats: 27.2 MPG, 21.2 PPG, 5.0 APG, 46.0% FG, 31.8% 3FG, +13.2
Next game: Quarterfinals vs. Latvia, Tuesday
While he had trouble filling up the hoop on Saturday against Ukraine, Dragic has been an overwhelming success for most of EuroBasket. He and teenage prodigy Luka Doncic have taken turns carving up opponents and constantly putting pressure on them.
As he often does in the NBA, Dragic has pushed the tempo for Slovenia. It’s a huge reason why Slovenia is undefeated and is the second-highest scoring country in the 24-team field. When the Dragon starts jetting downhill, defenders don’t know whether he’s going all the way to the rim, pulling up for a floater or dishing to a teammate. His best offensive performance so far was a 22-point, eight assist dismantling of France in group play:
Dragic has also made noise on defense, where his instincts and quick hands have disrupted opposing playmakers. He’s enjoyed four multi-steal games so far, and he’s turned several of those turnovers into fast-break buckets.
Shooting Guard: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia (Sacramento Kings)
EuroBasket Stats: 31.5 MPG, 19.3 PPG, 5.3 APG, 47.6% FG, 34.1% 3FG, +10.3
Next game: Quarterfinals vs. Italy, Wednesday
Bogdanovic is so dangerous for Serbia because he can create opportunities on or off the ball. Sometimes coach Aleksandar Dordevic uses him coming off screens or spotting up, and other times he makes him initiate the offense.
The soon-to-be Sacramento King has been a poised catalyst for Serbia. He doesn’t let the defense speed him up, and he has an awesome feel for scoring angles and passing chances. Bogdanovic has racked up 32 assists so far, including nine against Belgium and six in the Round of 16 against Hungary. He has a knack for finding cutters and shooters in unsettled situations, and loves attacking in transition.
Small Forward: Bojan Bogdanovic, Croatia (Indiana Pacers)
EuroBasket Stats: 32.1 MPG, 22.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 57.7% FG, 54.5% 3FG, +3.0
Next game: Eliminated
Bogdan might not even be the best Bogdanovic in this tournament. His Croatian counterpart Bojan has been absolutely on fire. Croatia has already bowed out of EuroBasket, but it’s not Bogdanovic’s fault. The 6-foot-8 swingman did everything he could to fill up the hoop, and he was ultra-efficient as coach Aleksandar Petrovic’s primary weapon.
Bogdanovic is much more comfortable attacking European opponents off the dribble than NBA defenders. He looked spry at EuroBasket this year, making sharp, decisive moves to the hoop for mid-range buckets and driving layups. And speaking of layups, the international 3-point arc must have felt like a cinch. He shot 18 of 33 from deep over six games, and no one else in the tournament has posted that level of volume and efficiency:
Power Forward: Lauri Markkanen, Finland (Chicago Bulls)
EuroBasket Stats: 27.0 MPG, 19.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 53.3% FG, 47.8% 3FG, +6.2
Next game: Eliminated
His EuroBasket tournament ended with a whimper in Sunday’s loss to Italy, (four points in 20 minutes), but Markkanen gave Bulls fans something to cheer about over the last couple weeks. The 20-year-old Finnish prospect feasted from the international arc, but he also displayed encouraging versatility.
Markkanen showed a willingness to put the ball on the deck and create shots. He has superb body control and touch around the rim, and he did a great job drawing fouls for most of the tournament. He might not be ready to be a featured scorer in the NBA, but he’s shown tangible potential from all three levels.
Finland’s star also played alert, active defense, as Will Gottlieb of The Athletic notes:
Having shown the ability to move his feet to stay in front of smaller players on switches, which is already a surprise, Markkanen also has the smarts to step into lanes to intercept passes and block shots. He will still have to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA game, but this (EuroBasket) competition is more than enough to suggest he is on the right track.
If EuroBasket is any indication, the Bulls have a valuable piece who can influence the game inside and out:
Center: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia (New York Knicks)
EuroBasket Stats: 26.4 MPG, 21.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 52.4% FG, 44.0% 3FG, +12.5
Next game: Quarterfinals vs. Slovenia, Tuesday
Latvia’s towering megastar has thrived as one of the most dominant players in EuroBasket. Coach Ainars Bagatskis has utilized Porzingis’ combination of size and skill, setting him up for a mix of jump shots and pick-and-roll forays.
Few big men on the planet have his athleticism and feel for the game, and EuroBasket foes are learning the hard way. Porzingis has shown how potent he can be on pick-and-rolls, pick-and-pops and slip screens, thanks in part to terrific passing from Latvia’s backcourt. And to everyone’s delight, he’s hammered home a handful of monstrous put-back dunks.
Porzingis’ defense has been equally imposing. In most EuroBasket games, he’s been the tallest player on the floor by far, deterring countless would-be shot takers. Once in a while, challengers forgot how rangy he is, and he rejected them emphatically.
More EuroBasket Coverage
- Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez playing well at EuroBasket
- Can Lauri Markkanen give Bulls fans a reason to watch?
- Bogdan Bogdanovic’s play at EuroBasket a bright spot for Kings