NBA AM: Who’s Playing Well Overseas?
The list of NBA players who have signed overseas during the lockout continues to grow each and every day. After the union disclaimed, many players who weren’t previously considering any overseas offers revisited their options and made sure they had a back-up plan in case the NBA season is eventually canceled.
Most international teams have played at least one game by now, but little attention has been focused on the NBA players who signed abroad. When these players have struggled or appeared out of shape, we hear about it. However, there hasn’t been much talk about the players who are experiencing success with their new team.
Here are some of the players who have played well in the early part of the season:
Wilson Chandler | 43 points, 22 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals – The Chinese Basketball Association didn’t start their season until last week so Chandler has only played one game, but the statistics speak for themselves. He completely dominated in his debut with Zhejiang Guangsha and made plenty of new fans after that performance. Their next game will be played this afternoon so we’ll see if Chandler can duplicate his success.
Deron Williams | 20.5 points, 6.8 assists and 3 rebounds – After all of the talk about Deron Williams struggling with Beskitas, the point guard has gotten comfortable and played very well as of late. He’s averaging more assists than any other NBA player overseas and his 20.5 points per game has helped Besiktas get going on offense. The team is currently trying to sign another player such as Luol Deng, Lamar Odom, Nene or Marcin Gortat in order to give Williams some more help.
Von Wafer | 21 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals – Wafer has played seven games with the Italian club Cremona and he’s been one of the best scorers among NBA players overseas. This is nothing like Wafer’s stint with the Greek club Olympiacos because he’s playing extremely well and the team is treating him right. As he further adjusts to the international officiating, he’ll only continue to get better.
Nicolas Batum | 18.2 points, 7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.8 steals – Batum has been very impressive through five games. The 22-year-old has filled the stat sheet with SLUC Nancy of the French Basketball League and the team is currently tied for first place in the standings with just one loss. Batum has been able to score when necessary, but he’s also been able to contribute when the ball isn’t in his hands.
Alexis Ajinca | 19 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks – Ajinca may be the most surprising player on this list because he’s never really gotten the opportunity to showcase his talents in the NBA. He’s played limited minutes during his first three years in the league and has only started six games during his career. With the French club Hyeres-Toulon, he has been the team’s main threat and he’s playing well on both ends of the court. He’s the only NBA player overseas who is ranked top ten in points, rebounds and blocks.
Sonny Weems | 17 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals – The Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas signed two NBA players over the summer: Sonny Weems and Ty Lawson. Lawson’s struggles have been well documented, but Weems’ success hasn’t received much attention. He’s playing extremely well and winning over the fan base in Lithuania. Weems was one of the first players to sign overseas and report to his team, which could be why he’s had such a smooth transition.
If you want to continue tracking your favorite NBA players overseas, DraftExpress has compiled their stats.
Faried Shining in Pick-Up Games: Kenneth Faried hasn’t had a typical rookie offseason. Shortly after the Denver Nuggets selected him with the 22nd overall pick, the lockout commenced and any communication between players and teams was banned. With no summer league or training camp to prepare him for his first season, Faried has had to get himself ready for the NBA.
He’s working out in Houston and playing in charity games throughout the country. If you’ve watched any of these games, he’s the one flying above the rim, cleaning the glass and blocking shots. He has certainly made an impression in each city and fans are excited to see what he’ll do once he’s able to put on a Nuggets jersey.
HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram caught up with Faried after John Lucas’ charity game.
NBA News and Notes: Here are some news and notes from around the league.
• On Tuesday, Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Spencer Hawes and Isaiah Thomas handed out 2,000 turkeys to students who are on free and reduced lunch in the Seattle School District. The Brandon Roy Foundation organized the event.
• Cedric Ceballos is recovering after a series of heart attacks hospitalized him on Monday afternoon. Ceballos had surgery to remove a blood clot in his coronary artery and he’s doing well following the procedure. He remains in a Phoenix hospital as doctors monitor him.
• Someone recently broke into Sonny Weems’ home in Lithuania. “I got robbed,” Weems told HoopsHype. “I had never been robbed in the States. I was like, ‘Man, what is going on? What is the world coming to?’ They took some money and a couple of electronic things… Nothing serious, but there is something I was really sad about: They took my XBox! I paid like $500 for this one and now it’s gone. And they left the videogames! ”
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