NCAA programs like Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and North Carolina are considered as the best producers of NBA talent. Despite important differences between college and international hoops, some overseas teams have also been terrific at helping young prospects get NBA attention.
Since Manuel Raga became the first player drafted out of an international league in 1970, 10 teams have had at least five players selected by an NBA franchise. Not all of them had long careers, and some didn’t even make the jump. But the following list is a good guide of where NBA scouts have found fresh talent for the NBA far away from American soil.
1993 draft: Georghe Muresan (No. 30 pick)
2003 draft: Mickael Pietrus (No. 11 pick), Boris Diaw (No. 21 pick)
2005 draft: Johan Petro (No. 25 pick)
2018 draft: Elie Okobo (No. 31 pick)
Boris Diaw is so far the most accomplished player drafted out of the French powerhouse even though he wasn’t even the first Pau-Orthez player selected in the unforgettable 2003 draft. Then a high-flying wing player, Diaw was selected 10 spots behind his teammate Mickael Pietrus, which some called “Euro MJ” during the draft process. That nickname didn’t stick for obvious reasons and neither did Diaw’s high-flying ways.