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EuroBasket 2013: NBA role players making most of opportunity

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Jeff Taylor is one of a number of role players who have shined at EuroBasket by taking on bigger roles.


EuroBasket's second round is coming to a close, and so far we have a good feel for the NBA players who have succeeded in international play and the ones that haven't.

For NBA observers, one interesting twist is seeing players in different roles. Some guys, like Orlando Magic center Nik Vucevic for Montenegro, actually play a smaller role on their national team, but others have been given chances to carry teams that they would never get in the NBA.

Here's a look at a few role players who have stepped their game up over the last two weeks:

Jeff Taylor, Sweden

The Charlotte Bobcats swingman played 20 minutes a game during the 2012-13 NBA season, but he had a significantly larger role for Sweden, which didn't advance past the first round. Taylor led all EuroBasket scorers with 21.2 points per game and did so efficiently. He shot 46.8 percent from the field and hit 42.3 of his 3-pointers, which isn't far off his overall shooting accuracy of 43.1 percent from this last NBA season. Though he had some turnover issues, Taylor certainly grew this summer.

Alexey Shved, Russia

Playing a reserve role with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season didn't do much to help Shved's notoriety, but even though his Russia team struggled and exited after the first round, Shved was nonetheless impressive. He averaged 16.4 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Luigi Datome, Italy

Teammate Marco Belinelli is a low-percentage gunner, but a big part of Italy's perimeter-oriented makeup. Complementing the Spurs guard is Datome, who makes up for any inefficiencies as a precise and thoughtful shooter. The free-agent signing of the Detroit Pistons is averaging 14.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for an Italian team still going strong. Datome is shooting 49.3 percent from the field and hitting 45.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc, showing what he'll bring to the Motor City this coming season.

Mirza Teletovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

It's hard to say how much Mirza Teletovic helps or hurts his teams considering his questionable shot selection. But for an NBA player who played in 53 games at just nine minutes a night for the Brooklyn Nets last season, opportunity only knocks so often. Teletovic took advantage this summer. He averaged 21 points per game -- second highest in EuroBasket -- to go with 7.6 rebounds an outing. He took a tournament-high 17.6 shots per game and shot just 38.6 percent -- the following video explains a bit about those numbers:

Jan Vesely, Czech Republic

Vesely led the tournament by averaging 11.2 rebounds per game and also averaged 17 points a night for the Czech Republic. The athletic Washington Wizards forward also led EuroBasket by shooting 58 percent from the floor, and averaged 1.8 steals. The confidence boost should be a boon for the Wizards and their 2011 first-round pick, who seemingly regressed last season. Now, to fix that 35 percent free-throw shooting.

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