Latvia produced some very famous basketball players in the NBA’s history. Despite a population of barely 2 million, the nation is renowned for punching above its weight when it comes to sports. We’ve listed the top 5 Latvian basketball players performing at a global stage in 2021. While you can agree on some, few others might spark a debate.
Top 5 Latvia Basketball Players to Watch Out for in 2021
1. Dāvis Bertāns
28-year-old Dāvis Bertāns is a professional basketball player and a favorite among Latvian bookmakers. Bertāns currently plays for the Latvian national team and the NFL’s Washington Wizards. He was selected by the Indiana Pacers during the 42nd Pick during the 2011 NBA draft. Starting July 14, 2016, Bertāns was signed by the San Antonio Spurs, and he made his season debut on October 25, 2016, scoring five points in under four minutes during a 129-100 win against the Golden State Warriors.
2. Dairis Bertāns
Born on September 9, 1989, Dairis Bertāns is a Latvian professional basketball player and Dāvis Bertāns’ elder brother. He’s currently engaged with Khimki of the VTB United League and EuroLeague. Dairis Bertāns has played for numerous leagues and franchises over the years, including a brief stint with the NBA in 2019 playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. Bertāns signed a 2-year contract with Khimki on July 8, 2019, and has appeared in 21 out of 28 encounters of the EuroLeague.
3. Rodions Kurucs
A Small Forward for the Brooklyn Nets, Rodions Kurucs was first named in the 2017 NBA draft. However, the player withdrew his candidacy on June 12, 2017, as he was left out. Kurucs finally made his NBA debut with the Nets during the 2018 season. On December 21 of the same year, Kurucs scored a career-high of 24 points, although his team lost 114-106 to the Indiana Pacers. He was named in the Rising Stars Challenge as a member of the World Team on January 29, 2020.
4. Anzejs Pasecniks
Associated with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, Anzejs Pasecniks made his professional debut in 2012 in the Latvian league playing for VEF Riga. He was drafted by the Orlando Magic during the first round of the 2017 NBA draft and was immediately traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. After the 76rs renounced their draft on July 1, 2019, Pasecniks joined the Wizards only to be waived three days later. The player signed a two-year contract with the Wizards on December 17, 2019.
5. Kristaps Porzingis
One of the tallest active players in the NBA, Kristaps Porzingis is currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks. Porzingis began his professional basketball career in 2012 with team Sevilla in the EuroLeague and entered his name in the 2015 NBA draft. On November 16, 2016, Porzingis scored a career-high 35 points, helping the Mavericks win 105-102 over the Detroit Pistons. The knockout game pushed him to the forefront of media attention. A few solid performances later, Kristaps Porzingis was seen as a rising star.