NBA

NBA Daily: New Season, New International Faces

There are four overseas talents entering the league who have had zero to little experience in the NBA world. Spencer Davies looks at their respective resumes and teams.

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Updated 1 year ago on

5 min read

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With each NBA season comes a wave of new talent. Whether it’s a rookie, a G-Leaguer making the next step or an international signing, there’s bound to be a handful of players that we’ve seen little to none of in the association before.

Outside of summer contracts and two-way contracts, there have been four signees from overseas that could potentially find themselves on a main roster. Let’s take a look at some of these fresh faces, their deals and the respective resumes they have.

Ryan Broekhoff—Dallas Mavericks

There’s another Aussie on the way. Just like fellow boomer Joe Ingles, Broekhoff is going to be a 27-year-old rookie to start his career in the NBA. A four-year sharpshooter at Valparaiso, he went undrafted in 2013 and immediately signed a contract with Besiktas. Two years later, Broekhoff spent five games with the Denver Nuggets’ summer league squad, but didn’t quite do enough—so he joined Lokomotiv Kuban and played for that team up until this point.

This past year, he helped lead his ball club to a 20-2 record in the EuroCup and averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in the process. Over the 16-game span, he knocked down 50.6 percent of his shots from deep. Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks kept a watchful eye on him, signing him to a partially guaranteed two-year, $2,282,306 deal. He could bring some real floor spacing and be a dependable perimeter threat to help out fellow rookie playmaker Luka Doncic.

James Nunnally—Minnesota Timberwolves

Though it was only 13 games, Nunnally is the only player on this list with actual regular season NBA experience. In the 2013-14 season, he played for both the Atlanta Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers, but it was only a cup of coffee as he hasn’t been in the league since. After the short stints, he bounced around leagues in Puerto Rico, Spain, Israel and Italy over the years. Along the way, Nunnally won the Lega A MVP, averaging 18.4 points per game with his club Sidigas Avellino.

For the past three years, he’s played for Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey, a well-respected basketball club in the EuroLeague that featured former NBA talents such as Jan Vesely, Luigi Datome and Jason Thompson. He’s an improved perimeter shooter and will provide size on the wing at 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to AP writer Jon Krawczynski, it’s a partially guaranteed two-year veteran’s minimum contract.

Brad Wanamaker—Boston Celtics

After a long, long journey, Wanamaker will finally realize his dream of hitting an NBA floor at 29 years old. As a player who made improvements with his game throughout his four-year tenure at Pittsburgh, he’s only gotten better with each season that he’s played professionally.

He started his journey in Italy and even in the D-League with the Austin Toros after college, but would have a permanent stay overseas for quite some time once that was done. Similar to his Fenerbahce teammate Nunnally, who is coming with him to the NBA, Wanamaker has been around the block.

Between Italy, France, Germany and Turkey, he’s had loads of success. In 2014-15, it was a Finals MVP when the Brose Bamberg won Bundesliga. The following year, it was another championship victory and the Bundesliga MVP Award itself. Once that chapter finished, Wanamaker played a season with Darussafaka Basketbol Istanbul and averaged 15.8 points per game and 4.7 assists per game.

Then, in one year with Fenerbahce, he was a part of the same team as the one mentioned above with Nunnally. The Boston Celtics decided to bring Wanamaker in and signed him to a one-year, $831,000 deal. David Pick, an international reporter, says that he left over $3.8 million on the table in order to come to the NBA.

Isaiah Briscoe—Orlando Magic

Not too long ago, Briscoe was considered a top recruit in high school. Drawing extra attention being the cousin of Kyrie Irving, he was a highly touted point guard that ended up committing to Kentucky, although his production at the school didn’t match the hype that came with him.

Struggles shooting the ball, playing off-ball and turnovers plagued his two-year stay with John Calipari and company, but he did improve during his sophomore year and ended up declaring for the NBA Draft in 2017.

Briscoe ended up going undrafted and latched on with the Philadelphia 76ers in summer league for a handful of games, leading to a training camp opportunity with the Portland Trail Blazers. There, he played six preseason games but was waived before the season started.

Following that, he signed a contract with B.C. Kalev overseas and led the team in a number of categories between two different leagues—Estonia and VTB United. Briscoe collected accolades such as the Estonia/Latvia All-Star Game MVP and the VTB United League Young Player of the Year. He averaged over 18 points per game on 48.7 percent from the field and over four assists per game as well.

Returning to summer league for another go, Briscoe did enough to warrant a contract offer from the Orlando Magic. It is partially guaranteed three-year deal worth $3,919,177.

Congratulations to these four players who are well on their way to realizing their dreams of playing in the NBA.

Now that the contracts have been ironed out, it’s time to get to work.

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Spencer Davies is a Deputy Editor and a Senior NBA Writer based in Cleveland in his third year with Basketball Insiders. Covering the league and the Cavaliers for the past five seasons, his bylines have appeared on Bleacher Report, FOX Sports and HoopsHype.

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