"[Battier is] as smart as hell. He understands how to play the game. He plays it at 100% ferocity all the time, a ferocity with sense. And on top of that, he's a character guy, he's a leader, he's a consummate pro. I hate him." - Gregg Popovich
Another ex-NBA draft pick to have signed in Italy is Milovan Rakovic, whose rights are owned by the Magic. Rakovic was one of the best players in the Russian Superleague last year, averaging 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25 minutes per game for Spartak St Petersburg. He's cashing in on that and moving to Italy to play for Italian powerhouse Montepaschi Siena. There's lots of upheaval in Russia at the moment; the Superleague teams have all signed a pact vowing to break away from the current governing body, with whom they are thoroughly disenfranchised, and to begin running operations on their own. Amidst this upheaval, many players have left; Spartak also released James White (14.8/3.7) and Goran Suton (played 94 minutes all season). Additionally, Unics Kazan have released veteran Lithuanian jumpshooter Saulius Å tombergas, and Lokomotiv Kuban have released their imports James Gist, Andre Owens and Gerald Green. It's probably fair to say that Green will not be returning to the Dallas Mavericks.
White was under contract to the Rockets to start this season after being signed through 2010 at the end of last year. However, with no chance of making the Rockets roster, he was traded to Denver for the draft rights to Axel Hervelle - essentially, nothing at all, since it's unlikely Hervelle ever comes over. White didn't make the team there either, though, and moved to Russia to play for Spartak St. Petersburg. He averaged 16.0ppg in the Eurocup and 14.8ppg in the Russian Superleague, and was also a participant in the Russian Slam Dunk Contest. (Obviously. I mean, he's James White.) He went up against Gerald Green, another renouned dunker, and here's the video of their little tÃªte-a-tÃªte.
Needs a little Damon Jones, maybe, but it was much better than the NBA's one.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.