The vast majority of the stars in the NBA are from the US and Canada but it wouldn’t be the league that it is without the sprinkling of talent from around the world that it has.
Here we look to the best African players in the NBA right now.
Number 5. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nigeria
Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room; Giannis Antetokounmpo is Greek. Why then is he included in our list of the best African players in the NBA? Well, for one thing he’s got heavy ties to Nigeria with both his parents hailing from Lagos.
We might have ignored anyone else from this list on the grounds but Antetokounmpo is so good that we think he’s worthy of inclusion on a technicality – it is the reason he’s only fifth though.
On top of being one of the best defensive players in NBA history, the Bucks man is also the reigning MVP, that’s an award he’s won in back-to-back years. Enough said.
Number 4. Abdel Nader, Egypt
In terms of pure output the inclusion of Egypt’s Abdul Nader might seem a tad on the generous side. When you consider what he’s achieved for himself this season though he definitely deserves a nod. Nader joined the Suns last season after three years split between Boston and Oklahoma.
He might have only made 24 appearances across the campaign, but he’s posted career highs in so many categories; they include rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and points with his shot conversion in respect of field goals and shots from behind the arc both personal bests as well.
Number 3. Serge Ibaka, Republic of the Congo
Serge Ibaka has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and his absence will be a miss for the Clippers. He’s far from the sexiest name on the roster but, after joining them from Toronto where he won the 2018/19 Championship, his contribution has been solid if nothing else.
The two-time NBA blocks leader has started 39 games – only three Clippers’ stars have started more – with his defensive contributions being strong. He’s averaged 6.7 rebounds and a team high 1.1 blocks per game. His 11.1 PPG average is respectable too.
Number 2. Pascal Siakam, Cameroon
Oddly enough, we’ve just touched on Ibaka being a Championship winner with the Raptors back in 2019; as it happens, Siakam was his teammate that season. The Cameroonian is still in Toronto though and 2021 has seen him more heavily involved in the action than ever before.
He’s started in all 56 of his appearances and averaged a career high 35.8 minutes per match. His contribution of points isn’t too shabby at 21.4 per game whilst 7.2 rebounds is agonisingly close to his best performance across a season.
Siakam has, however, posted career highs in assists (4.5) and steals (1.1).
Number 1. Joel Embiid, Cameroon
Topping our list of the best African players in the NBA right now is none other than Joel Embiid. Coincidentally, that means two Cameroonians complete our run down. Like Siakam before him, Embiid’s inclusion is completely deserved and few – if any – will question why the 76ers man is considered the best African in the league.
Embiid made the Rookie First Team in 2017 and since then has followed it up with four consecutive All-Star nods.
That shows he’s been playing at a high standard for years now but 2021 has seen him go up another level. His haul of 28.5 PPG is a personal best and is underpinned not by more chances to shoot but a better conversion; he’s posted career bests in field goal, three point and free throw accuracy.
As things stands, it looks unlikely but he could yet carry the 76ers to Championship glory as well.
There you have it, the best African players in the NBA right now. Visit the website of TwinSpires Edge to find other cool NBA facts, like the youngest players in the history of the competition. Check it out.