This season the NBA has seen more European players on squads then in any other year since the league was formed, 55 in total.
Two of the newest European additions to the league are on the Atlanta Hawks squad; Macedonian National team captain, Pero Antić and German-born guard, Dennis Schröder.
The duo’s arrival is most welcome, according to sharp shooting guard, Kyle Korver, who spoke to UK media via a conference call ahead of the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets’ clash in London on the 16th January 2014.
“I think they’re both going to have a big role, especially when you consider how long an NBA season is: 82 games, plus pre-season plus play-offs,” said the 12th year guard. “Guys get hurt, guys go through slumps and guys have to step up and they both bring a unique talent to our team.”
Speaking first about the 20-year-old guard who claimed the German BBL’s Most Improved and Best Young Player of the Year awards for 2013, Korver said: “Dennis is going to be a really good player some day. He’s really young and he has a lot to learn but he’s very, for his age, he’s very mature. He has a lot of confidence.
“He’s already a great defender, he’s learning a lot about offense here in the NBA. He’s going to be a really good player, it’s just going to take time on the court, so I think he’s going to get a lot of that this year.”
Korver then turned his attentions to accomplished 31-year-old Macedonian centre, Pero Antić, who joined the Hawks from Olympiacos, where he helped secure the 2012/13 Euroleague title.
FYR of Macedonia shocked the basketball world by finishing fourth at Eurobasket 2011 and despite being eliminated at the Eurobasket group stages this past summer in Slovenia; Macedonian basketball has grown considerably, highlighted by Antic’s move to the NBA.
“Pero brings a skill set, as a seven-footer, that’s very unique. He’s a great shooter, he can put the ball on the floor, he has a really good feel for the game. And so when you have someone who’s seven feet and has that kind of skill set, you kind of make time for them somehow.
“On our team, we don’t have a whole lot of height – I think he’s our tallest player – so there’s definitely going to be a role for him too. Plus he’s a really good guy, I like Pero a lot.”