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European veteran warns: This isn’t like the NBA

Jul 22, 2011, 1:55 PM EDT

marcus Williams Getty Images

Things are different in Europe. What people consider an old building does not mean it went up in 1960. Roads are narrower, the cars smaller. Beer is stronger (which is nice) and the meal portions are generally smaller (which would be good for most Americans anyway).

And for all those American-born NBA guys thinking of heading overseas, the basketball is different, too. Very different.

Marcus Williams — the former UConn star who was a first round pick of the Nets and played four NBA seasons — has spent the last couple years playing in Europe. He likes it, he told Dime Magazine.

But he warned that the NBA players thinking of flooding the European market during the lockout will find this a very different game.

I think the gameplay is a complete 180. Here, there’s more space it seems like and it’s more open, it’s more free world. Over there a lot of the game is half-court, a lot of the offense…like if you get a fast break somebody will foul you before you actually get the fast break started. They don’t really want the game to be up and down, and that makes it difficult for players who like to run.

It’s a lot more physical over there as far as fouls not being called. It’s just completely different from here. Completely different. And I think as foreigners, you don’t really get as many calls as the guys who are from there. They tend to take it a little rough on you.

Throw in the challenges with different foods, different languages and a very different lifestyle, and it’s not easy for everyone.

Which a few guys may learn the hard way.

  1. minnesotablizzard - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    I think Europe would be great for some of the younger guys to experience like Durant. Everyone needs time abroad, it helps one mature and grow as a person. It’s a big world out there and some Euroball might humble some stars. Not to mention the best beer and public transit in the world, no one will have to worry about DWI

  2. randysavage4ever - Jul 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Marcus Williams was an underrated PG at U-Conn

    he was like a maestro with the ball, dishing dimes and all sorts of crazy shots

    I thought the Nets landed it with him and Boone as the U-Conn 1-2 punch!


    he will get his chance soon though…

  3. meansjc - Jul 24, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Macho Man, I’m guessing you’re a UConn fan? lol

    Jerome Dyson had a nice season for the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League, but I can’t imagine him making it up into the Thunder rotation with the draft pick of Reggie Jackson this year, so hopefully he can get another avenue to make it up to the league and I think that playing in Europe or Asia could be that for players of that caliber trying to find their game.
    The point guard position seems more traditional over there with the spacing it’s not a slasher type pg they want. And young pg’s might be able to develop into a more technically proficient passer. If the lockout continues and the nba has a shortened or cancelled season, I’m curious to see what kind of effect it will have on the players that take the opportunity to play across the oceans. I’m not very familiar with the style of asian ball, but from what i’ve noticed from my novice scouting of euro ball, I think that some young players that maybe should still be in college could use it as a semester abroad if they go over with a clean slate and willing to learn. Maybe the nature of foreign basketball would find its way back into the nba that way. They have less games and more time to coach their players during the season and younger players could really use that.

    That being said, I’m also wondering how so many Americans in these leagues would affect the euro league game play there. What I’m getting at is if a superstar goes over there like kobe or durant, then how would those teams incorporate our nature into theirs. Surely their fans would want to see kobe go for 81, but with the lower scoring of their leagues, would a player with a career usage rate of around 35% ever be able to be comfortable enough to run all those miles in Euroleague shoes without changing the game play drastically, and the trade off probably coming out of the wins column. We have our way of doing things and they have theirs. North American basketball players are the alpha males of the sport and I can’t imagine a large number of players going over to play in europe without imposing their games to a massive extent. Many leagues have restrictions on the number of non euro players and it looks as though their pockets might not be deep enough to entice more than just a few marquee players should the lockout continue throughout the season. However I am interested how this experiment might play out should the new CBA not be reached.

    This is all just my rambling speculation, but it’s something for me to think about while I ponder the potential sustained lockout. I think it will all get figured out in time for the season to be played out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is shortened to less than 82 games. I’m excited to see what will play out.

    This is my first time posting a comment in here, so hopefully it was taken with a grain of salt. I’ll try to be more precise and to the point and actually try to remain within the subject matter of the article, but I just gotta talk hoops man!

    peace and love

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