Top 25 Best Foreign Players in the NBA

As the years have gone by, the NBA has become a more internationally diverse league. Superstars over the past 30 years, like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant, have helped spread the NBA’s product and the game of basketball itself all over the world.

As a result of more international exposure for the league, an influx of overseas players have taken over the league. In this article, we will rank the best current NBA players who are from countries other than the United States. Without further ado, here is our top 25 list of foreign-born NBA players.

1. Nikola Jokic, Serbia

“The Joker” might not be the most athletic player in the league, but he makes up for it with his high-level play on the court. Jokic is a skilled big man who can score as well as rebound and facilitate for his teammates. He has won two MVPs and an NBA Championship for the Nuggets, and still has many of his prime years ahead of him. Denver is primed to be a contender in the West for years to come.


2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

This ranking should come as no surprise to anybody. “The Greek Freak” has steadily improved his game every season he’s been in the league and is arguably the best or second-best overall player in the game today. He is virtually unguardable, as his combination of size, speed, and skill makes him a matchup nightmare.


3. Joel Embiid, Cameroon

Embiid is the most similar player to Hakeem Olajuwon that we have seen since “The Dream” dominated the 90s; he has the size, length, footwork, rim protection, and vertical athleticism to punish any opponent on both sides of the floor. While Embiid finally secured an MVP in the 2022-23 season, he still has yet to lead his team to an NBA Championship. That will be the next step for Embiid in his quest to becoming one of the greatest NBA players of all-time.


4. Luka Doncic, Slovenia

Few players in the history of the NBA have been as dominant as Luka Doncic from the moment that they stepped foot in the league. Doncic’s career averages are ridiculous, considering he has only been in the league for five seasons. In that span, Doncic has averaged roughly 28 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Who knows where Doncic’s ceiling truly rests? If he continues improving his defense and three-point shooting, he could end up as one of the best point guards to ever play in the league.


5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada

The Canadian-born Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the best young players in the league. SGA was moved from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City in the Paul George trade, which now looks like yet another masterful move from the Thunder; he is a legitimate MVP candidate every year at this point. Shai averaged an incredibly efficient 31.4 points on 51% shooting from the field during the 2022-23 season. Expect him to contunue improving, as he is only in his mid-20s.


6. Jamal Murray, Canada

Jamal Murray evolves from an All-Star-caliber player in the regular season to an All-Time-caliber player in the postseason. In the 2022-23 playoffs, Murray averaged an impressive 26 points, seven assists, and six rebounds on a 47/40/93 shooting split. It is hard enough to produce solid numbers in the regular season, but the playoffs are a different beast. Murray embraces that beast and has an NBA Championship alongside Nikola Jokic to show for it.


7. Domantas Sabonis, Lithuania

Who would have thought when Domantas Sabonis was drafted that he would turn into one of the best passing big men of all time? Anyone who knew of his Hall of Fame father, Arvydas, likely could have made an educated guess. Now, Sabonis leads one of the most efficient offenses ever in Sacramento, and he continues to rack up All-Star appearances. A championship would be icing on the already well-decorated cake.


8. Kyrie Irving, Australia

As far as greatest ball handlers in the history of the NBA, Kyrie Irving likely tops that list. Irving is a wizard with the ball in his hands and pairs that exceptional handle with elite shooting from all three levels. Irving is a crafty finisher, accurate sniper, and all-around terrific playmaker.


9. Lauri Markkanen, Finland

Lauri Markkanen is amongst the best shooting big men in the NBA, and in the 2022-23 season, he finally fulfilled all of the promise he has shown for a number of seasons, reaching All-Star status on exceptional efficiency from the floor. At seven-feet tall, Markkanen can impose his will in the paint, but it is his ability to step out and hit shots from the perimeter that differentiates himself from other versatile forwards.


10. Pascal Siakam, Cameroon

Siakam came out of nowhere in the 2018-19 season for the Raptors, winning Most Improved Player and helping Toronto take home their first NBA Championship. After Kawhi Leonard left Toronto in free agency to join the Clippers, Siakam has solidified himself as the star player for the Raptors. He averaged roughly 24 points, eight rebounds, and six assists for the Raptors in the 2022-23 season, which was his best year yet.


11. Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia

After getting traded from New York to Dallas, then Dallas to Washington, and finally, Washington to Boston, Porzingis has finally found a home with the Celtics. Injuries briefly derailed Kristaps’ progression on the offensive end of the floor, but he is a 20-point per game scorer at 7-foot-3; he definitely qualifies as a “unicorn” in today’s NBA.


12. Franz Wagner, Germany

Franz Wagner, the younger brother of Moritz, has already flashed franchise cornerstone potential after improving his 15-point average his rookie season to just shy of 20 points per game in the 2022-23 campaign. Wagner’s large frame (6-foot-10) and impressive shooting, shot-creating, and playmaking abilities give him a legitimate chance of skyrocketing up this list in a short period of time.


13. Victor Wembanyama, France

Wembanyama entered the 2023 NBA Draft with the highest expectations for a prospect since LeBron James came into the league. The San Antonio Spurs were lucky enough to land the No. 1 pick and couldn’t run the pick in fast enough on draft night. Wemby possesses the kind of height (7-foot-5), length (eight-foot wingspan), and skill that has never been seen on a basketball floor. His expectatations as a rookie will be sky-high and he should deliver.


14. Josh Giddey, Australia

Giddey’s fluidity, size, and length allow him to play multiple positions for the Oklahoma City Thunder; he can be a primary ball-handler or secondary ball-handler, and his playmaking, particularly in the pick-and-roll is bordering on elite, despite the fact that he is in his early 20s. Improved three-point shooting and overall defense could result in Giddey being an All-Star-caliber player.


15. Andrew Wiggins, Canada

Although former #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins hasn’t lived up to his draft selection, he has still been a reliable and productive scorer in his six seasons in the NBA. He is a career 19.7 points-per-game scorer and is still only 24 years old. Wiggins was traded to Golden State this season in exchange for D’Angelo Russell. With the Warriors expected to return to form next season, Wiggins will provide them with a solid scoring option from the wing.


16. O.G. Anunoby, United Kingdom

When discussing the best 3-and-D wings in the NBA, O.G. Anunoby’s name is bound to come up. Anunoby has terrific catch-and-shoot and finishing abilities on the offensive end of the floor, but it is defense where he has cemeted his place in the league. Anunoby’s size, length, and foot and hand speed make him the perfect wing prototype in today’s NBA.


17. Rudy Gobert, France

They don’t call Rudy “The Stifle Tower” for nothing. Gobert will go down as one of the most dominant shot-blocker in the league’s history; he has averaged over 2.0 blocks per game for his entire career. Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and a six-time All-Defensive First Team selection.


18. Steven Adams, New Zealand

“The Big Kiwi,” as some fans adoringly call him, has been a defensive rock and offensive rebounding savant for years. Adams is an intimidating presence in the paint, who can post a double-double every night. As far as underrated players go, Adams would be near the top of that list.


19. Alperen Sengun, Turkey

Sengun has drawn comparisons to a young “Jokic,” and it is easy to see why that is the case; he can do a bit of everything on the court, including scoring in the post, passing, and rebounding. Sengun even has comparable footwork and touch around the rim to Jokic. It will be interesting to watch Sengun as he continues progressing, but he definitely has massive shoes to fill with those comparisons.


20. Bojan Bogdanovic, Croatia

Bojan had his best output in the 2022-23 regular season for the Detroit Pistons, and with increased volume, Bojan actually shot better. Bogdanovic recorded his second-best field goal percentage and third-best three-point percentage of his career in 22-23, while averaging the most points per game (21.6); he’s 34 years old and has not showed signs of slowing down. His methodical, calculated movement offensively can lull defenses to sleep.


21. Al Horford, Dominican Republic

Coming out of Florida in 2007, Horford has enjoyed a long and successful NBA career. The five-time All-Star is a defensive ace whose impact on the floor far exceeds the stat sheet. He can guard multiple positions and can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting ability. Horford always seems to be on winning teams and his play, mentality, and toughness have a lot to do with that.


22. R.J. Barrett, Canada

Barrett is entering his fifth year in the NBA and with New York; he has consistently been a solid secondary scorer for the Knicks, averaging roughly 20 points per game in each of his past two seasons. Barrett uses his frame, ball-handling, strength, and quickness to get to the basket, drawing fouls and finishing at the rim. It is hard to say if Barrett will ever develop a consistent three-point shot but he has found ways to impact the game without it.


23. Buddy Hield, The Bahamas

Since entering the league, Buddy Hield has consistently been one of the best shooters in the NBA. Hield is a career 40% three-point shooter, despite hardly ever being left open. Sadly, Buddy’s defense is amongst the worst in the league, which has limited his upside as an NBA player. However, he is still great and one of the elite shooters in the world.


24. Jakob Poeltl, Austria

Poeltl is one of the premier rim protectors in the league; he might not block as many shots as some others at his position, but he deters opponents from trying to finish over him. Additionally, Poeltl is a double-double machine, constantly pouring in ten points and bringing down ten boards for the Toronto Raptors.


25. Benn Mathurin, Canada

If Benn Mathurin’s rookie season with the Indiana Pacers was any indication of what we can expect in the future, then he will have a very bright NBA career. Mathurin is capable of scoring in a variety of ways, including off the dribble or off of catch-and-shoot opportunities, but he can especially punish defenders by getting them in foul trouble.


Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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