It can be tough for some of the NBA’s foreign-born players who have reigned in European leagues to make the adjustment to the American league. For Kostas Papanikolaou, though, the transition has been rewarding thus far – he’s averaging 5.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game – although it hasn’t been without it’s bumps in the road.
Initially drafted by the Knicks back in 2012, his rights were traded to the Portland Trailblazers who in-turn sent him to the Houston Rockets where he is currently enjoying his rookie season.
While his NBA future was still being decided, Papanikolaou was one of the focal points of teams in Greece (Olympiacos) and Spain (Barcelona) that won the Greek League, EuroLeague (twice) and then the Spanish League title as well.
Now, he’s adjusting from being ‘the man’ to a role player on a Rockets team stacked with talent. Starting5online caught up with Papanikolaou to find out about his inaugural NBA campaign, playing for the Greek team at the recent World Cup, and his thoughts on the golden era of Greeks in the NBA.
Watch the video below.
Feature image credit: Kathy Kmonicek, AP