The Top Draft Pick From Every Country in NBA History

Updated: 103

OLBG compiled a list of the top draft picks for every country that has sent a player to the NBA.

The Top Draft Pick From Every Country in NBA History

Sarah Stier // Getty Images

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The 2023 NBA draft may not be happening until June 22, but there's already plenty of hype over it, and for good reason. While many teams will be vying for playoff seeding, those that had lackluster seasons will be fighting over something else: the #1 draft pick. OLBG knows all about top basketball picks and here we look at the best picks from each country that has sent a player to the NBA.

French player Victor Wembanyama is projected to go first in the 2023 draft. The 7-foot-4, 229-pound 18-year-old is being eyed for his ability to create a shot off the dribble, finish above the rim, run the fast break (which is not easy for someone that size), hit step-back 3s, and an 8-foot wingspan suited for blocking shots. This impressive skill set led LeBron James to declare Wembanyama "a generational talent."

If he does go #1, Wembanyama will be the first Frenchman to be selected first in the NBA draft. International players abide by slightly different rules than their American counterparts, with the main difference being they have to turn 19 during that calendar year to be draft-eligible. If they go undrafted by age 23, they can only join the NBA through free agency. Wembanyama turned 19 on Jan. 4, 2023.

Though a number of international players have been selected high in previous NBA drafts, U.S.-born athletes have gone #1 in 63 of the 76 drafts. The remaining 13 top picks have been split between eight different countries. In total, 76 countries outside of the U.S. have had a player selected in the NBA draft who went on to play at least one game.

OLBG compiled a list of the top draft picks for every country that has sent a player to the NBA using data from Basketball-Reference. Only international players who played at least one NBA game were included. Players who were drafted but didn't play in the NBA were omitted. Player nationality is based on country of birth, as per the structure of the Basketball-Reference data. Countries are sorted alphabetically.


Highest drafted player: Bruno FernandoSarah Stier // Getty Images

Angola

- Highest drafted player: Bruno Fernando

- Year drafted: 2019

- Team: Philadelphia 76ers

- College: University of Maryland

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 34


Highest drafted player: Leandro BolmaroMitchell Leff // Getty Images

Argentina

- Highest drafted player: Leandro Bolmaro

- Year drafted: 2020

- Team: New York Knicks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 23


Highest drafted players: Andrew Bogut, Kyrie Irving, Ben SimmonsMike Stobe // Getty Images

Australia

- Highest drafted players: Andrew Bogut, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons

- Years drafted: 2005 (Bogut), 2011 (Irving), 2016 (Simmons)

- Teams: Milwaukee Bucks (Bogut), Cleveland Cavaliers (Irving), Philadelphia 76ers (Simmons)

- Colleges: University of Utah (Bogut), Duke University (Irving), Louisiana State University (Simmons)

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


Highest drafted player: Jakob PöltlRick Madonik // Getty Images

Austria

- Highest drafted player: Jakob Pöltl

- Year drafted: 2016

- Team: Toronto Raptors

- College: University of Utah

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 9


Highest drafted players: Mychal Thompson, Deandre AytonMike Stobe // Getty Images

Bahamas

- Highest drafted players: Mychal Thompson, Deandre Ayton

- Years drafted: 1978 (Thompson), 2018 (Ayton)

- Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (Thompson), Phoenix Suns (Ayton)

- Colleges: University of Minnesota (Thompson), University of Arizona (Ayton)

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


Highest drafted player: Frank NtilikinaMike Stobe // Getty Images

Belgium

- Highest drafted player: Frank Ntilikina

- Year drafted: 2017

- Team: New York Knicks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 8


Highest drafted player: Dragan BenderMike Stobe // Getty Images

Bosnia and Herzegovina

- Highest drafted player: Dragan Bender

- Year drafted: 2016

- Team: Phoenix Suns

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 4


Highest drafted player: Nenê HilárioTom Pennington // Getty Images

Brazil

- Highest drafted player: Nenê Hilário

- Year drafted: 2002

- Team: New York Knicks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 7


Highest drafted player: Georgi GlouchkovSporting News Archive // Getty Images

Bulgaria

- Highest drafted player: Georgi Glouchkov

- Year drafted: 1985

- Team: Phoenix Suns

- College: None

- Round drafted: 7

- Overall pick: 148


Highest drafted player: Edy TavaresAngel Martinez// Getty Images

Cabo Verde

- Highest drafted player: Edy Tavares

- Year drafted: 2014

- Team: Atlanta Hawks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 43


Highest drafted player: Joel EmbiidMitchell Leff // Getty Images

Cameroon

- Highest drafted player: Joel Embiid

- Year drafted: 2014

- Team: Philadelphia 76ers

- College: University of Kansas

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


Highest drafted players: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony BennettNick Laham // Getty Images

Canada

- Highest drafted players: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett

- Years drafted: 2014 (Wiggins), 2013 (Bennett)

- Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (Wiggins), Cleveland Cavaliers (Bennett)

- Colleges: University of Kansas (Wiggins), UNLV (Bennett)

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


Highest drafted player: Yao MingSporting News Archive // Getty Images

China

- Highest drafted player: Yao Ming

- Year drafted: 2002

- Team: Houston Rockets

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


Highest drafted player: Serge IbakaKevork Djansezian // Getty Images

Congo

- Highest drafted player: Serge Ibaka

- Year drafted: 2008

- Team: Seattle SuperSonics

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 24


Highest drafted player: Mario HezonjaMike Stobe // Getty Images

Croatia

- Highest drafted player: Mario Hezonja

- Year drafted: 2015

- Team: Orlando Magic

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 5


Highest drafted player: Jan VeselýMike Stobe // Getty Images

Czechia

- Highest drafted player: Jan Veselý

- Year drafted: 2011

- Team: Washington Wizards

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 6


Highest drafted player: Dikembe MutomboKevork Djansezian // Getty Images

Democratic Republic of the Congo

- Highest drafted player: Dikembe Mutombo

- Year drafted: 1991

- Team: Denver Nuggets

- College: Georgetown University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 4


Highest drafted player: Lars HansenDAN LEVINE // Getty Images

Denmark

- Highest drafted player: Lars Hansen

- Year drafted: 1976

- Team: Chicago Bulls

- College: University of Washington

- Round drafted: 3

- Overall pick: 37


Highest drafted player: Al HorfordChris McGrath // Getty Images

Dominican Republic

- Highest drafted player: Al Horford

- Year drafted: 2007

- Team: Atlanta Hawks

- College: University of Florida

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


Highest drafted player: Alaa AbdelnabyPorter Binks // Getty Images

Egypt

- Highest drafted player: Alaa Abdelnaby

- Year drafted: 1990

- Team: Portland Trail Blazers

- College: Duke University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 25


Highest drafted player: Martin MüürseppMark Dadswell // Getty Images

Estonia

- Highest drafted player: Martin Müürsepp

- Year drafted: 1996

- Team: Utah Jazz

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 25


Highest drafted player: Lauri MarkkanenMike Stobe // Getty Images

Finland

- Highest drafted player: Lauri Markkanen

- Year drafted: 2017

- Team: Minnesota Timberwolves

- College: University of Arizona

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 7


Highest drafted player: Dominique WilkinsRick Stewart // Getty Images

France

- Highest drafted player: Dominique Wilkins

- Year drafted: 1982

- Team: Utah Jazz

- College: University of Georgia

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


French Guiana - Highest drafted player: Kevin SéraphinAl Bello // Getty Images

French Guiana

- Highest drafted player: Kevin Séraphin

- Year drafted: 2010

- Team: Chicago Bulls

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 17


Gabon - Highest drafted player: Stéphane LasmeLea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle // Getty Images

Gabon

- Highest drafted player: Stéphane Lasme

- Year drafted: 2007

- Team: Golden State Warriors

- College: University of Massachusetts

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 46


georgia Highest drafted playerSTAN HONDA // Getty Images

Georgia

- Highest drafted player: Nikoloz Tskitishvili

- Year drafted: 2002

- Team: Denver Nuggets

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 5


Germany Highest drafted playerRonald Martinez // Getty Images

Germany

- Highest drafted player: Shawn Bradley

- Year drafted: 1993

- Team: Philadelphia 76ers

- College: Brigham Young University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 2


Ghana Highest drafted playerJohn Wilcox/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald // Getty Images

Ghana

- Highest drafted player: Ben Bentil

- Year drafted: 2016

- Team: Boston Celtics

- College: Providence College

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 51


Ben GordonJonathan Daniel // Getty Images

Great Britain

- Highest drafted player: Ben Gordon

- Year drafted: 2004

- Team: Chicago Bulls

- College: UConn

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


Greece Highest drafted playerMike Stobe // Getty Images

Greece

- Highest drafted player: Georgios Papagiannis

- Year drafted: 2016

- Team: Phoenix Suns

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 13


Guadeloupe Highest drafted playerIcon Sports Wire // Getty Images

Guadeloupe

- Highest drafted player: Mickaël Piétrus

- Year drafted: 2003

- Team: Golden State Warriors

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 11


Guinea Highest drafted playerSarah Stier // Getty Images

Guinea

- Highest drafted player: Sekou Doumbouya

- Year drafted: 2019

- Team: Detroit Pistons

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 15


Haiti Highest drafted playerRobert Laberge // Getty Images

Haiti

- Highest drafted player: Olden Polynice

- Year drafted: 1987

- Team: Chicago Bulls

- College: University of Virginia

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 8


Iceland Highest drafted playerAbbie Parr // Getty Images

Iceland

- Highest drafted player: Pétur Guðmundsson

- Year drafted: 1981

- Team: Portland Trail Blazers

- College: University of Washington

- Round drafted: 3

- Overall pick: 61


Israel Highest drafted playerPatrick Smith // Getty Images

Israel

- Highest drafted player: Deni Avdija

- Year drafted: 2020

- Team: Washington Wizards

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 9


Italy Highest drafted playerChris Chambers // Getty Images

Italy

- Highest drafted player: Andrea Bargnani

- Year drafted: 2006

- Team: Toronto Raptors

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


Jamaica Highest drafted playerFocus On Sport // Getty Images

Jamaica

- Highest drafted player: Patrick Ewing

- Year drafted: 1985

- Team: New York Knicks

- College: Georgetown University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


Japan Highest drafted playerSarah Stier // Getty Images

Japan

- Highest drafted player: Rui Hachimura

- Year drafted: 2019

- Team: University of Washington

- College: Gonzaga University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 9


Latvia Highest drafted playerElsa // Getty Images

Latvia

- Highest drafted player: Kristaps Porziņģis

- Year drafted: 2015

- Team: New York Knicks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 4


Lebanon Highest drafted playerFocus On Sport // Getty Images

Lebanon

- Highest drafted player: Rony Seikaly

- Year drafted: 1988

- Team: Miami Heat

- College: Syracuse University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 9


Lithuania Highest drafted playerRene Johnston // Getty Images

Lithuania

- Highest drafted player: Jonas Valančiūnas

- Year drafted: 2011

- Team: Toronto Raptors

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 5


Luxembourg Highest drafted playerDoug Pensinger // Getty Images

Luxembourg

- Highest drafted player: Alvin Jones

- Year drafted: 2001

- Team: Philadelphia 76ers

- College: Georgia Tech

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 57


Mali Highest drafted playerNick Laham // Getty Images

Mali

- Highest drafted player: Cheick Diallo

- Year drafted: 2016

- Team: Los Angeles Clippers

- College: University of Kansas

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 33


Martinique Highest drafted playerLisa Blumenfeld // Getty Images

Martinique

- Highest drafted player: Ronny Turiaf

- Year drafted: 2005

- Team: Los Angeles Lakers

- College: Gonzaga University

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 37


Mexico Highest drafted playerDoug Pensinger // Getty Images

Mexico

- Highest drafted player: Eduardo Nájera

- Year drafted: 2000

- Team: Houston Rockets

- College: University of Oklahoma

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 38


Montenegro Highest drafted playerKen Faught // Getty Images

Montenegro

- Highest drafted player: Aleksandar Radojević

- Year drafted: 1999

- Team: Toronto Raptors

- College: Barton County Community College

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 12


Morocco Highest drafted playerMark Junge // Getty Images

Morocco

- Highest drafted player: Mike Flynn

- Year drafted: 1975

- Team: Philadelphia 76ers

- College: University of Kentucky

- Round drafted: 7

- Overall pick: 113


Netherlands Highest drafted playerMitchell Layton // Getty Images

Netherlands

- Highest drafted player: Rik Smits

- Year drafted: 1988

- Team: Indiana Pacers

- College: Marist College

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 2


New Zealand Highest drafted playerMike Stobe // Getty Images

New Zealand

- Highest drafted player: Steven Adams

- Year drafted: 2013

- Team: Oklahoma City Thunder

- College: University of Pittsburgh

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 12


Nigeria Highest drafted playerTom Hauck // Getty Images

Nigeria

- Highest drafted players: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Olowokandi

- Years drafted: 1984 (Olajuwon), 1998 (Olowokandi)

- Teams: Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), Los Angeles Clippers (Olowokandi)

- Colleges: University of Houston (Olajuwon), University of the Pacific (Olowokandi)

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


North Macedonia Highest drafted playerAnadolu Agency // Getty Images

North Macedonia

- Highest drafted player: Cedi Osman

- Year drafted: 2015

- Team: Minnesota Timberwolves

- College: None

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 31


Panama Highest drafted playerFocus On Sport // Getty Images

Panama

- Highest drafted player: Rolando Blackman

- Year drafted: 1981

- Team: Dallas Mavericks

- College: Kansas State University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 9


Poland Highest drafted playerRodolfo Molina // Getty Images

Poland

- Highest drafted player: Maciej Lampe

- Year drafted: 2003

- Team: New York Knicks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 30


Portugal Highest drafted playerThearon W. Henderson // Getty Images

Portugal

- Highest drafted player: Neemias Queta

- Year drafted: 2021

- Team: Sacramento Kings

- College: Utah State University

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 39


Puerto RicoCasey Sykes // Getty Images

Puerto Rico

- Highest drafted player: Butch Lee

- Year drafted: 1978

- Team: Atlanta Hawks

- College: Marquette University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 10


Romania Highest drafted playerPaul Natkin // Getty Images

Romania

- Highest drafted player: Ernie Grunfeld

- Year drafted: 1977

- Team: Milwaukee Bucks

- College: University of Tennessee

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 11


Russia Highest drafted playerLisa Blumenfeld // Getty Images

Russia

- Highest drafted player: Yaroslav Korolev

- Year drafted: 2005

- Team: Los Angeles Clippers

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 12


Adonal FoyleLiz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle // Getty Images

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

- Highest drafted player: Adonal Foyle

- Year drafted: 1997

- Team: Golden State Warriors

- College: Colgate University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 8


Senegal Highest drafted playerAl Bello // Getty Images

Senegal

- Highest drafted player: DeSagana Diop

- Year drafted: 2001

- Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 8


Serbia Highest drafted playerChristian Petersen // Getty Images

Serbia

- Highest drafted player: Darko Miličić

- Year drafted: 2003

- Team: Detroit Pistons

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 2


Slovakia Highest drafted playerIcon Sports Wire // Getty Images

Slovakia

- Highest drafted player: Richard Petruška

- Year drafted: 1993

- Team: Houston Rockets

- College: UCLA

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 46


Slovenia Highest drafted playerMike Stobe // Getty Images

Slovenia

- Highest drafted player: Luka Dončić

- Year drafted: 2018

- Team: Atlanta Hawks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


South Africa Highest drafted playerChristian Petersen // Getty Images

South Africa

- Highest drafted player: Steve Nash

- Year drafted: 1996

- Team: Phoenix Suns

- College: Santa Clara University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 15


South KoreaKARIM JAAFAR // Getty Images

South Korea

- Highest drafted player: Ha Seung-Jin

- Year drafted: 2004

- Team: Portland Trail Blazers

- College: None

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 46


South Sudan Highest drafted playerEVAN HURD PHOTOGRAPHY // Getty Images

South Sudan

- Highest drafted player: Luol Deng

- Year drafted: 2004

- Team: Phoenix Suns

- College: Duke University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 7


Spain Highest drafted playerLars Baron // Getty Images

Spain

- Highest drafted player: Pau Gasol

- Year drafted: 2001

- Team: Atlanta Hawks

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


Sudan Highest drafted playerElsa // Getty Images

Sudan

- Highest drafted player: Bol Bol

- Year drafted: 2019

- Team: Miami Heat

- College: University of Oregon

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 44


sweden Highest drafted playerJim McIsaac // Getty Images

Sweden

- Highest drafted player: Jeffery Taylor

- Year drafted: 2012

- Team: Charlotte Hornets

- College: Vanderbilt University

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 31


Enes KanterMike Stobe // Getty Images

Switzerland

- Highest drafted player: Enes Kanter

- Year drafted: 2011

- Team: Utah Jazz

- College: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 3


Joe AlexanderNick Laham // Getty Images

Taiwan

- Highest drafted player: Joe Alexander

- Year drafted: 2008

- Team: Milwaukee Bucks

- College: West Virginia University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 8


Tanzania Highest drafted playerJim McIsaac // Getty Images

Tanzania

- Highest drafted player: Hasheem Thabeet

- Year drafted: 2009

- Team: Memphis Grizzlies

- College: UConn

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 2


Carl HerreraGetty Images North America

Trinidad and Tobago

- Highest drafted player: Carl Herrera

- Year drafted: 1990

- Team: Miami Heat

- College: University of Houston

- Round drafted: 2

- Overall pick: 30


Turkey Highest drafted playerArturo Holmes // Getty Images

Turkey

- Highest drafted players: Hedo Türkoğlu, Alperen Şengün

- Years drafted: 2000 (Türkoğlu), 2021 (Şengün)

- Teams: Sacramento Kings (Türkoğlu), Oklahoma City Thunder (Şengün)

- Colleges: None

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 16


Tim Duncan J Pat Carter // Getty Images

U.S. Virgin Islands

- Highest drafted player: Tim Duncan

- Year drafted: 1997

- Team: San Antonio Spurs

- College: Wake Forest University

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 1


ukraine Highest drafted playerMike Stobe // Getty Images

Ukraine

- Highest drafted player: Alex Len

- Year drafted: 2013

- Team: Phoenix Suns

- College: University of Maryland

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 5


Venezuela Highest drafted playerJonathan Newton/The Washington Post // Getty Images

Venezuela

- Highest drafted player: Greivis Vásquez

- Year drafted: 2010

- Team: Memphis Grizzlies

- College: University of Maryland

- Round drafted: 1

- Overall pick: 28



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