Top 5 non-NBA players heading to the World Cup
Much of the discussion ahead of this summer's FIBA World Cup has centered around the NBA players who've passed on representing their respective countries.
But what about the non-NBA stars who will be traveling to China? Here are the top five.
Sergio Llull, Spain
The 31-year-old guard is widely considered the best player in the world not currently playing in the NBA. Llull's rights are still owned by the Houston Rockets, who purchased them on draft night a decade ago for a second-round record $2.25 million. Both sides continue to leave the door open for a possible move stateside.
Llull's resume with Real Madrid includes two EuroLeague championships and the 2016-17 EuroLeague MVP award.
Nando de Colo, France
De Colo suited up in 119 games for the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors between 2012-14. He's spent most of the ensuing years playing for Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow before joining Turkish club Fenerbahce this summer.
In 134 career EuroLeague games, De Colo has averaged 16.3 points and converted 43.8 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Nick Calathes, Greece
Remember Calathes, the guy who looks like your office's IT professional and who played 129 games for the Memphis Grizzlies between 2013-15? The 30-year-old is one of the best point guards in Europe, leading his former Panathinaikos head coach Rick Pitino to call him a better passer than Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Isiah Thomas.
Luca Vildoza, Argentina
The 24-year-old Vildoza is one of the most exciting young playmakers in international basketball, frequently running the point for Spanish club Saski Baskonia with a freewheeling, playground style.
Nikola Milutinov, Serbia
Serbia is loaded with centers - Nikola Jokic and Boban Marjanovic chief among them. But the seven-foot, 250-pound Milutinov is one of the best traditional pivots outside North America, logging a 69-percent true shooting percentage for Greek squad Olympiacos last season. The 24-year-old's NBA rights are still held by the Spurs.