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Former blaugranes in the NBA this season

On 27 October a new NBA season begins with three players who were blaugranes last season now set to star in the North American League: Mario Hezonja with the Orlando Magic, Tibor Pleiss with the Utah Jazz and Marcelino Huertas with the Los Angeles Lakers. With the additions of this trio, there is now a record number of players in the NBA who have joined North American teams from FC Barcelona Lassa.

Hezonja, Pleiss and Huertas are not the only former blaugranes whose season starts on Tuesday. Five more NBA players made the trip across the Atlantic from Barcelona, the most well known being Pau Gasol, star of Spain’s recent win in EuroBasket2015, starts his second season with the Chicago Bulls. Another star of the league and former blaugrana is Ricky Rubio who returns to action with the Minnesota Timberwolves after time out due to serious injury. Aside from the two Catalan basketball stars, we also find Anderson Varejao at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ersan Ilyasova with the Detroit Pistons and Kostas Papanikolau at the Houston Rockets. For his part Marc Gasol, brother of Pau, was at Barça but made the jump to the NBA from Akasvayu Girona, joining Memphis Grizzlies.

Xavi Pascual coached eight current NBA players

The current blaugrana coach, Xavi Pascual, is in his eighth season as coach of the FC Barcelona basketball. In that time the coach has coached eight players who have moved on to the NBA. Aside from the three players who have made the switch this season, on the list are Kostas Papanikolau, Joey Dorsey, Ricky Rubio, David Andersen and Ersan Ilyasova.

Other players who switched to the NBA

In total some 16 players have signed for NBA teams from FC Barcelona. The first to do so was Jeff Ruland who played for the blaugranes in 1980/81 before signing for Washington Bullets. Nine seasons later in 1989/90, the Palau welcomed David Wood from the NBA. The following season he returned to US, signing for Houston Rockets. Other names who moved on to th e NBA from Barça are the Americans Tony Massenburg, Mike Peplowski and Shammond Williams as well as the current Barça Lassa captain Juan Carlos Navarro who played for just one season with the Memphis Grizzlies.

FCB Player and season
NBA team and seasons
Jeff Ruland FCB 1980/81 Washington Bullets (1981-86)
*David Wood FCB 1989/90 Houston Rockets (1990/91)
*Tony Massenburg FCB 1993/94 Los Angeles Clippers (1994/95)
*Mike Peplowski FCB 1995  Washington Bullets (1995)
Pau Gasol FCB 1999/01 Memphis Grizzlies (2001/08)
Anderson Varejao FCB 2002/04 Cleveland Cavaliers (2004/05-)
*Shamond Williams FCB 2005/06

Los Angeles Lakers (2006/07)

JC Navarro FCB 1997/07 Memphis Grizzlies (2007/08)
Xavi Pascual (XP): Ersan Ilyasova FCB 2007/09 Milwaukee Bucks (2009/15)
XP-David Andersen FCB 2008/09

Houston Rockets (2009/10)

XP-Ricky Rubio FCB 2009/11

Minnesota Timberwolves (2011-)

XP-*Joey Dorsey FCB 2013/14 Houston Rockets (2014/15)
XP-Kostas Papanikolaou FCB 2013/14 Houston Rockets (2014/15)
XP-Mario Hezonja FCB 2012/15

Orlando Magic (2015-)

XP-Tibor Pleiss FCB 2014/15

Utah Jazz (2015 -)

*XP-Deshaun Thomas (Cut) FCB 2014/15

San Antonio Spurs (2015 – Cut)


* players who had previously played in the NBA

Two in the draft

At the moment in the Barça Lassa first team there are two players who have been drafted by NBA teams but are yet to make the move to North America. Àlex Abrines was drafted number 32 in the second round by Oklahoma City Thunder and Marcus Eriksson number 50 by the Atlanta Hawks.


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