The Europeans Are Coming! The Europeans Are Coming!

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An NBA First Awaits His Chance

The Sixers are stacked in the front court. They have loaded up, whether by the randomness of the draft or by choice, to the point where they now have an impressive front court. With players like Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Furkan Aldemir, Joel Embiid, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Richaun Holmes all competing for the post, is there any room on the roster for an undersized 6’7″ power forward? The odds are stacked against Iranian Arsalan Kazemi, but that is par for the course.

Much like Pierre Jackson, he has fought an uphill battle to get this far. So far, he’s made it.

"“He started at Rice, transferred to Oregon, played in the Pac-12 and played well. That’s why he’s here. He’s a competitive player. He’s an energetic player. Any level of basketball needs a guy like that.” – assistant coach Lloyd Pierce"

But it’s not enough to be talked up by a coach in this league. You need to believe in yourself. That is where Kazemi stands tallest.

"“I can’t talk about (making it to the NBA) enough. (Iranians) are really excited, and this was my dream since 15 years ago. I get to (fulfill) my dream. And this keeps everyone else’s dream alive back in, not just my country, but the region of the Middle East. I’m just trying to do that to perfection. I’m hoping that . . . it leads to being a part of this team. (GM Sam Hinkie) knows what I can do and what I can bring to the table. Some players play the game with heart. You can’t teach someone to have a heart to play the game. I play with heart and I don’t mind getting dirty. Everyone knows what I do best — I’m a defensive guy. I get a lot of rebounds and make a lot of hustle plays. I’ve been trying to add a little bit of a jumper and I’ve been working on that.”"

What does he bring to the table?  Check out this video:

With the Chongqing Soaring Dragons in the China Basketball Association, Kazemi was second in the league with 3.1 steals per game, averaged 15 points per game. He was also fifth in the league with 13.7 rebounds per game. He shot 67% from the field and 58.1 % from the foul line. Competition is welcome in Philadelphia.  With Kazemi attempting to become the first NBA player from Iran, this competition could become fierce.

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