Sorry Ricky Rubio. Time to share the spotlight.
The Spanish rookie for the Minnesota Timberwolves may have dropped some nasty dimes (6 points and 6 assists) in his NBA debut, but taking a look around the league a number of other foreign import players impressed during the first two days on this condensed 66-game schedule:
Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks
Stat Line: 21 points, 5 rebounds, 6-15 from the field, 9-10 from the line
Nowitzki admitted his conditioning isn’t where it needs to be, but his numbers were still solid on Christmas Day in the loss to the Miami Heat. He followed it up with a 20-point performance, resulting yet in another “L” for Dallas.
Danilo Gallinari – Denver Nuggets Stat Line: 15 points, 7 rebounds
Ready for his first full season in Denver, watch for Gallinari to go for his this year for the new-look Nuggets.
Luol Deng – Chicago Bulls Stat Line: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 7-19 from the field, 1-4 from 3-point, 6-6 from the line
Knock Deng’s faux-hawk all you want, but just make sure you respect the production as he finished as Chicago’s second leading scorer behind Derrick Rose versus the Lakers. Deng’s encore against Golden State: 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers Stat Line: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 6-14 from the field, 0-2 from 3-point
Gasol spent the offseason with the Spanish National team tinkering with this touch beyond the arc. It’s not falling yet and he showed he’ll have to find his game in Mike Brown’s offense. Unfortunately his 15 and 9 against Sacramento couldn’t get the Lakers their first win either.
Andris Biedrins – Golden State Warriors Stat Line: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5-5 from the field, 3 blocked shots
The backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis get the headlines for the Warriors, but Biedrins still making time to put in some work in the post for new head coach Mark Jackson.
Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies Stat Line: 13 points, 6 rebounds
Different Gasol. Similar production.
Andrew Bogut – Milwaukee Bucks Stat Line: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 7-14 from the field
All together now – “if Bogut can stay healthy he might be able to do some damage for the Bucks”.
Luis Scola – Houston Rockets Stat Line: 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
Can Scola get some love please? It’s hard not to applaud what this guy can do often going up against bigger and better players in the post.
Samuel Dalembert – Houston Rockets Stat Line: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, 19 minutes
Dalembert made his impact felt coming off the bench in his debut with the Houston Rockets. Shouldn’t be long before he’s slotted as their starting center.
Hedo Turkoglu – Orlando Magic Stat Line: 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 10-14 from the field, 3-4 from 3
Turkoglu bounced back in his second game of the season to lead all scorers for the Orlando Magic in Monday night’s win over Houston.
Jose Calderon – Toronto Raptors Stat Line: 15 points, 11 assists, 5-9 from the field
Calderon got his first double-double of the season out of the way early. Still, he’s one of the most underappreciated point guards in the league.
Andrea Bargnani – Toronto Raptors Stat Line: 13 points, 6 rebounds
Numbers on both ends even Kevin Garnett can clap for.
Anderson Varejao – Cleveland Cavaliers Stat Line: 14 points, 10 rebounds
After playing in only 31 games last season, Varejao made up for lost time with a double-double in the Cavs loss to Toronto.
Jonas Jerebko – Detroit Pistons Stat Line: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7-11 from the field
The 6-10 forward out of Sweden making good on his contract extension in Detroit going for 17 and 5.
Jose Barea – Minnesota Timberwolves Stat Line: 14 points, 2 assists
The other point guard in Minnesota not named Rubio held his own in his Timberwolves debut.
Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs Stat Line: 15 points, 7 assists, 4 steals
That’s just Tony Parker being Tony Parker in San Antonio’s win over Memphis.
Manu Ginobili – San Antonio Spurs Stat Line: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 7-15 from the field, 3-8 from 3
If this is what the Spurs’ window looks like when it is closing, just wait until Ginobili helps open it back up with behind the back passes.
Steve Nash – Phoenix Suns Stat Line: 14 points, 12 assists
Nash said he’s not looking to chase a ring, but it’s still hard not to picture him playing for a contender.
Nicolas Batum – Portland Trail Blazers Stat Line: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2-4 from 3
Not a bad way to spend the night playing in Gerald Wallace’s shadow as Portland beat Philadelphia.