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25 NBA Players Who Will Be At The 2012 Summer Olympics

by: Esteban On  Tuesday, July 17, 2012

nba players at 2012 olympics

With a little less than two weeks until the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics, a lot of attention is being given to the USA men’s basketball basketball team. And why not, right? It’s got basketball’s biggest stars and, more interestingly, its biggest egos. Plus, the only other thing going on in the world of pro sports is baseball. (Unless you count the CFL, and, well, you know.) So news is slow.

But it’s not like Team USA will be the only Olympic squad featuring NBA players. The reality is that there are twice as many NBA players on teams that don’t start with U and end in A. Sure, most of them wouldn’t make the USA team even if they were eligible, but a few of them might.

So today I’m giving the NBA’s other Olympians their due with this list. It’s organized by country, moving from teams with the fewest NBA players to teams with the most. Sure, most of them wouldn’t make the USA team even if they could. But a few of them might. And they’ll still have a greater chance of winning an Olympic medal than you. (Unless you happen to be an Olympian, in which case congratulations.)

Anyway, let’s get started…

25. Yi Jianlian

Yi Jianlian

NBA Team: Houston Rockets

Olympic Team: China

This will be Yi’s third Olympics. He was drafted 6th overall in 2007 by the Bucks, no doubt because his age was listed as 20, born 1987. However, it’s almost certain that the guy is about 3 years older than that, with reports claiming he was born in 1984. This certainly would explain why his best year in the NBA was 2009-10, when the 7-foot power forward/center started 51 games and averaged 12 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

24. Timofey Mozgov

Timofey Mozgov

NBA Team: Denver Nuggets

Olympic Team: Russia

Mozgov, the only NBA player on Team Russia, is a 26-year-old 7’1″ center who averaged just 5.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1 block per while starting a whopping 35 games for the Nuggets this season. Though in fairness, his averages per 36 minutes were 12.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks—much more respectable.

23. Linas Kleiza

Linas Kleiza

NBA Team: Toronto Raptors

Olympic Team: Lithuania

Kleiza, 27, is a slightly below average player overall, but he’s not a terrible small forward off the bench. He appeared in 49 games for the lowly Raptors this season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.1 rebounds.

22. Patrick Mills

patrick mills

NBA Team: San Antonio Spurs

Olympic Team: Australia

After two mediocre seasons in Portland, Patty Mills started this season in China. However, he was pretty good for the Spurs after being signed in March. The 23-year-old point guard averaged 10.3 points in 16 games, but set career highs in points and assists in his final two regular season games—27 points against Phoenix, then 34 points and 12 assists against Golden State. That’s probably why the Spurs just resigned the kid.

21. Luol Deng

Luol Deng

NBA Team: Chicago Bulls

Olympic Team: Great Britain

This 27-year-old forward was born in Sudan, went to high school in Jersey, and played college ball at Duke, but he’ll be playing for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. There’s no doubt he’ll be the best player on that team, too. He led the league in minutes per game this year and contributed 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game to an excellent Bulls squad.

20. Al-Farouq Aminu

Al-Farouq Aminu

NBA Team: New Orleans Hornets

Olympic Team: Nigeria

This 6’9″ forward is only 21 years old and averaged just 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this year, but he had 14 points in the game that clinched an Olympic berth for Nigeria.

19. Ike Diogu

ike Diogu

NBA Team: San Antonio Spurs

Olympic Team: Nigeria

This 28-year-old Amerian-born forward has played for 6 teams in his 6 NBA seasons, and this year only played 2 games with the Spurs. However, Diogu did score 25 against the Dominican Republic in the game that clinched Nigeria’s Olympic berth.

18. Leandro Barbosa

Leandro Barbosa

NBA Team: Indiana Pacers

Olympic Team: Brazil

This guard’s best season came with Phoenix way back in 2006-07, when he was just 24 years old. (He averaged 18 points and 4 assists.) This past year he was averaging a 12.2 points for Toronto before being traded to Indiana, where he averaged only 8.9 points—not so great for a starter.

17. Nene Hilario

Nene Hilario

NBA Team: Washington Wizards

Olympic Team: Brazil

This 29-year-old power forward played in just 39 games this year (28 with Denver and 11 with Washington), but he was a slightly above-average player, averaging 13.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

16. Anderson Varejao

Anderson Varejao

NBA Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Olympic Team: Brazil

The 6’9 power forward was limited to just 25 games this year due to injury, but he was an above-average player with 10.8 points and a whopping 11.5 rebounds (which would have been 4th in the league had he qualified) per game.

15. Tiago Splitter

Tiago Splitter

NBA Team: San Antonio Spurs

Olympic Team: Brazil

The 6’11″ 27-year-old was an above-average backup to Tim Duncan for the Spurs this year, averaging 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in just 19 minutes per game this season. He’ll be a real asset for Brazil.

14. Andres Nocioni


NBA Team: Philadelphia 76ers

Olympic Team: Argentina

Nocioni was waived by the 76ers after just 11 games, during which time he averaged only 1.5 points per game. Aside from experience against the big name players on Team USA, I wouldn’t expect him to add much.

13. Carlos Delfino

Carlos Delfino

NBA Team: Milwaukee Bucks

Olympic Team: Argentina

Delfino started all but one game for the Bucks this year, but he wasn’t particularly good at scoring, setting up, or rebounding—9 points, 2.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds per game. He probably won’t add much to the Argentinian team.

12. Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili

NBA Team: San Antonia Spurs

Olympic Team: Argentina

At 34, this Spurs guard’s best days are behind him. But he was still an above-average player of the bench last year, with 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.

11. Luis Scola

Luis Scola

NBA Team: Houston Rockets

Olympic Team: Argentina

This 29-year-old 6’9″ forward wasn’t great for the Rockets this year, but he certainly wasn’t bad, averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. He may not be a game changer for Argentina, but he’ll contribute.

10. Ronny Turiaf


NBA Team: Miami Heat

Olympic Team: France

Turiaf started the year in Washington and ended it in Miami, but he played in just 17 games altogether, contributing very little. In fact, the 29-year-old has never really contributed much, so don’t expect him to start at the Olympics.

9. Boris Diaw

Boris Diaw

NBA Team: San Antonio Spurs

Olympic Team: France

At 29, Boris Diaw’s best days are already behind him. (And even those weren’t that great.) Last year, starting for Charlotte and coming off the bench for San Antonio, he averaged just 6.4 points and 5 rebounds.

8. Kevin Seraphin

Kevin Seraphin

NBA Team: Washington Wizards

Olympic Team: France

This 22-year-old 6’9″ forward was the 17th overall draft pick in 2010. His second NBA season with the Wizards wasn’t exactly outstanding (7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per), but he made big improvements over his first year. You never know—he could have a breakout performance at the Olympics.

7. Nicolas Batum


NBA Team: Portland Trailblazer

Olympic Team: France

This 23-year-old forward’s 4th NBA season was pretty solid. His 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 59 games were all slightly above average.

6. Tony Parker

Tony Parker

NBA Team: San Antonio Spurs

Olympic Team: France

This former Finals MVP needs no introduction. At 30 years old, he was as good as ever, averaging 18.3 points and 7.7. If France does anything at the Olympics, it’ll be under his leadership.

5. Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernandez

NBA Team: Denver Nuggets

Olympic Team: Spain

Through his first four NBA seasons, this 27-year-old guard has been somewhere between average and slightly below average. This season, at age 26, he averaged 8.6 points and 2.4 assists in 31 games off the bench for the Nuggets.

4. Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon

NBA Team: Toronto Raptors

Olympic Team: Spain

This 30-year-old point guard’s best seasons are behind him, but he’s still a very effective player. This season for the Raptors he started 53 games and averaged 10.5 points, 8.8 assists, and 3.0 rebounds while making 88.2% of his free throws.

3. Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

NBA Team: Memphis Grizzlies

Olympic Team: Spain

The younger brother of the Lakers’ Pau Gasol isn’t quite up to his big brother’s level yet, but he’s getting there. Last season, the 7’1″ center averaged 14.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.9 blocks for Memphis.

2. Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

NBA Team: Oklahoma City Thunder

Olympic Team: Spain

Ibaka may only be 22, but the defensive specialist isn’t short on confidence. (He says Spain can beat Team USA.) This season, in helping the Thunder get to the NBA Finals, Ibaka led the league with 3.7 blocker per game while also throwing in 7.5 points and 9.1 points.

1. Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

NBA Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Olympic Team: Spain

At 32, Pau Gasol’s numbers dipped just a bit this year. But he was still one of the league’s best power forwards/centers with 17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds (7th), and 3.7 assists per game. Given Team USA’s lack of size and skill (relatively) at this position, Gasol does give Spain an edge and, perhaps, a chance at an upset.