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Donnie Nelson On International Players

Dallas Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson was one of the pioneers of the internationalization of basketball, as the Mavericks have long been benefited from his ability to find players all over the globe.

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But while the prejudices surrounding foreign players have long since disappeared in the NBA, the 2012 draft is a bit of an exception, as there is only one player (Evan Fournier of France) likely to go in the first round.

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Over at Grantland, Jordan Conn has a fascinating piece examining why, touching on the huge number of internationals in the 2011 draft, the herd-like mentality of many NBA front offices and even the Yugoslavian Civil War in the early 1990's (which created a dip in the birth rates from 1991-1993, the kids who would be draft eligible in 2012).

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However, Nelson may have the best take in the whole piece:

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"When the breakup of the Soviet Union happened, we told Arvydas that if he cared anything about the future of basketball in his country, he would go back and f*** every chick he could possibly find. And he better not use the blanks - he better use the 7-foot-4 cartridges. Then in 2010, Lithuania would have all this talent. Obviously, he didn't listen, because I don't see any 7-foot-4 kids out there."

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.