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NBA - US Sports: Top five European players

There have been some incredible European players in the NBA over the years, but there is an argument to suggest the current crop are the best group there has ever been in the league.

Croatian Toni Kukoc won a three-peat with Chicago Bulls in the 90s, Dirk Nowitzki of Germany guided Dallas Mavericks to their first - and so far only - championship in 2011 and Tony Parker, who was born in Belgium and represented France internationally, ended his NBA career with four titles with San Antonio Spurs.

A few British players have cracked the NBA as well, including Luol Deng, a two-time All-Star who is best remembered for a decade with Chicago Bulls, while former MVP Steve Nash - currently the head coach of Brooklyn Nets - holds both British and Canadian citizenship due to a Welsh mother and English father.

Some of the NBA's biggest current stars hail from Europe and each of the last four MVP awards have been won by a European (two each for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokcic).

With such a wealth of talent in the league, we've had a run through of the best five players who hail from Europe.

Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks talisman Giannis Antetokounmpo hails from Athens, Greece, although he also holds Nigerian citizenship.

Antetokounmpo is officially listed as a forward, but has played in all five positions at various stages of his career, which has been spent entirely with Milwaukee since he was drafted with the 15th overall pick in 2013.

Due to his athleticism and versatility, Giannis is one of the best all-round players in the NBA and his greatest achievement to date was leading the Bucks to the championship in 2021, winning the Finals MVP award.

The 27-year-old is one of just three players, alongside Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, to have won the MVP, Finals MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year awards during the span of his career.

Nikola Jokic - Denver Nuggets

Like Antetokounmpo, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is a two-time MVP having won the award in each of the last two seasons.

The Serbian dragged the Nuggets into the playoffs last season despite the fact they were without their two other stars, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, for the majority of the campaign.

Jokic is yet to claim a championship, but Denver should be in the mix next season with Porter and Murray available again.

The Nuggets handed the 27-year-old a five-year, $264million supermax contract extension - the richest deal in NBA history - earlier this month, highlighting just how important he is to the team.

Luka Doncic - Dallas Mavericks

Dallas' Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic holds numerous 'youngest ever' player records in the NBA and has the potential to eclipse the achievements of both Antetokounmpo and Doncic in the years ahead.

Like Antetokounmpo, he boasts incredible athleticism and versatility and has the ability to play in a variety of positions.

The Mavs reached the Western Conference Finals last season, losing out to eventual winners Golden State Warriors, and are in the process of building a team around Doncic.

If the 23-year-old continues along his current trajectory, expect more records to be broken and the Mavs to be a real force in the NBA in the years ahead.

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Rudy Gobert - Minnesota Timberwolves

Frenchman Rudy Gobert joined Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this month after nine seasons with Utah Jazz - he is a three-time All-Star and a three-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Gobert plays at center and led the league in rebounds last year at an average of 14.7 per-game.

The 30-year-old may be one of the best defensive players in the league, but he is also a danger around the rim and has averaged the highest field goal percentage in three of the last four seasons.

Gobert has also enjoyed success at international level with France, helping them claim silver at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and his arrival in Minnesota should be a huge boost for the Timberwolves.

He will start at center, meaning Karl-Anthony Towns should switch to a forward role and that will free him up for more offensive play.

Nikola Vucevic - Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls embarked on a rebuild ahead of last season and their first major move was to bring in Montenegrin center Nikola Vucevic from Orlando Magic.

Vucevic is a two-time All-Star and is a center who can make an impact at both ends of the court, having averaged over 20 points-per-game in three of the last five seasons.

The 31-year-old is a player who can raise his game in the playoffs and, if the Bulls are to make a real impact in the postseason next year, Vucevic is likely to play a key role.

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