Arvydas Sabonis RumorsAll NBA Players
Basketball-Reference: Ben Simmons has a PER of 22.7 in the playoffs so far. That would be the best playoff PER by a rookie (100+ MP) since Arvydas Sabonis, who was a 31-yo rookie in 1996 bkref.com/tiny/chGX5 pic.twitter.com/pRvdudboCe
Given the way the game has gone over the past couple of decades, with the emphasis on spacing, in particular on bigs, the way every team is built now, how has Dirk Nowitzki impacted the sport over the past couple decades? The idea of having a guy that was 7′, 7’1″ that could stretch the floor, that was revolutionary. I’m sure it inspired a lot of bigs to be able to say, You know what, I want to be like Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk, he was looking at guys like Arvydas Sabonis, Vlade Divac, guys like that.
The 1992 U.S. Dream Team is largely credited with starting a revolution across European basketball. For the NBA, though, the revolution came a few years earlier. In 1989, the league welcomed a wave of eastern European players led by Vlade Divac from Yugoslavia, Alexander Volkov from Russia, Drazen Petrovic from Croatia, and Sarunas Marciulionis, a 25-year-old shooting guard from Lithuania. Marciulionis adopted basketball as a full-time passion midway through his childhood. But even as he took to the game, it wasn’t clear that he’d be a superstar. While friends like Arvydas Sabonis were marked for a bright future early on, Marciulionis took longer to establish himself. He went to college and studied journalism, he played club basketball in Lithuania, and while the Soviet National Team monitored his progress as part of its juniors program, he was cut from the senior team three times throughout the 80s.
Paspalj talks about the gold medal that Serbia won in the 1995 EuroBasket Final after beating Arvydas Sabonis’ Lithuania in the Final. “You do not feel comfortable while it’s happening. That’s how it was before. We definitely did something great. We thought it was something completely natural and normal and we deserve to happen to us.”