(Reuters) - For the sixth consecutive season opening night rosters will feature at least 100 international players including the likes of Greek MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Australian Ben Simmons but Canada lead the way with 16, the NBA said on Tuesday.
In total there will be 108 internationals from 38 countries and territories sprinkled across 30 teams when action tips off on Tuesday. The Toronto Raptors open the defence of their title against the New Orleans Pelicans and there is a Los Angeles derby with the Lakers facing the Clippers.
The 108 foreign players are down from the record of 113 from 42 countries set at the start of the 2016 and 2017 seasons but the 16 Canadians represent the most players from a non-U.S. country ever on opening-night rosters.
Canada is followed by Australia with nine, France eight and Croatia seven.
The Dallas Mavericks are the NBA’s most cosmopolitan team with a league high seven international players, followed by the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers with six.
Opening nights could produce a couple of milestones with the Atlanta Hawks Bruno Fernando seeking to become the first player from Angola to play in an NBA game. Washington Wizards’ Rui Hachimura and Memphis Grizzlies’ Yuta Watanabe will look to become the first two Japanese players to play in the NBA during the same season.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Christian Radnedge