In a recent interview with FOX Sports Australia, posted Monday, Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon says he thinks international players, because of their early training, “learn how to play the right way” and “When you sprinkle in some international talent, hopefully that can influence your young players.”
While noting some of what he sees as playing the right way is not exclusive to international players, Langdon said he thinks the team-oriented play “at this point lack somewhat in American players.”
Asked whether by Olgun Uluc of FOX if It’s a goal of the Nets organization to embrace the international brand of basketball that's made the Spurs so successful, the Alaskan native and veteran of the Euroleague responded...
“I think there's things that come with the international game that can be found in the states as well. I think the one thing about international basketball that permeates over there is unselfishness and playing for the team.
“I think all kids that grow up training there grow up essentially learn how to play the right way, passing the ball, being efficient, understanding your role, working hard and having a common goal as a team, not wavering on that, being coachable. Those are the different things that you can find with international players that I think you can find with international players that I think at this point lack somewhat in American players.
“When you sprinkle in some international talent, hopefully that can influence your young players, regardless of where they're from and to help make your culture stronger and your team better.”
Langdon played his college ball at Duke, then after three years as an NBA journeyman, headed overseas where he became one of Europe’s top players, mostly at CSKA Moscow, when it was owned by Mikhail Prokhorov. He won two Euroleague titles and six Russian league championships. With his playing career over, Langdon joined the San Antonio organization, serving as a scout before joining the Cavaliers last year. Sean Marks recruited Langdon to be his No. 2 this summer.
The man known at Duke as the “Alaskan Assassin” said that his wide background made him appreciate the wide diversity of basketball and basketball players across the globe.
“I think its been very important to have an open mind, to be able to see things from different perspectives, trying to put yourself in the shoes of other players where regardless of where they're coming from, whether it's the inner city or the suburbs, kids from good backgrounds or whether it's Europe or Africa.
“So I've played with a lot of those players, whether it was in the NBA or in Europe --players from different backgrounds or different countries, so that was extremely helpful and making me a more well-rounded person. And also giving me more exposure to people with different backgrounds. I think it's also helped me understand the game some more and as you said, see it from a different perspective.”
The Nets have expanded their international scouting under Marks. Langdon does some of it and the Nets hired former Rockets executive Gianluca Pascucci as director of global scouting while retaining Danko Cjveticanin, their longtime international scout.
Marks has included international players as a subset of talent he hopes can improve the Nets team long-term. Brooklyn currently has three international players: Anthony Bennett of Canada, Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia and Luis Scola of Argentina. Justin Hamilton, whose mother is Croatian and grew up in that country, has dual U.S. and Croatian citizenship.
When Uluc thanked Langdon for coming on his podcast, Langdon responded, “thanks, we’ll need it.”