The French Connection: NBA Central Division

France/French Ian Hahinmi

What’s up with France grabbing all the headlines lately?

Former NBA player Kemba Walker is continuing his basketball career in Monaco, the NBA will be playing a regular-season game in Paris, and the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama, was born in France.

With that in mind, let us review some of the French players who were or are connected to teams in the NBA’s Central Division.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers will be playing a game in Paris in January 2024 and you have to wonder if they are giving Jerome Moiso a free ticket for the event. The Paris-born Moiso used to play for Cleveland but might not get an invite to watch them play because he never really had an impact on the team through four games.

Chicago Bulls

Adam Mokoka had a two-year stay in the NBA when he was employed by the Bulls. The shooting guard never earned major minutes because he was stuck behind Zach LaVine. The best game in his short NBA career came when he scored 15 points in five minutes and seven seconds. In that hot stretch, he went 6-for-6 from the field with a trio of three-pointers.

Detroit Pistons

Killian Hayes, who was born in the USA to an American father and French mother, gained French nationality status after his family moved to France when he was a baby. He grew up learning Europe’s style of basketball and was already playing professionally before being drafted by the Pistons. Entering his fourth year in the NBA, Detroit’s fans are hoping that Hayes can finally lead the Pistons to the playoffs.

Milwaukee Bucks

Axel Toupane, born in the northeastern area of France, had two stints with the Bucks. The first one was back in 2017. The second one, however, turned out to be the best of his career. When the team came calling for his services in 2021, little did he know that it would lead to him earning a ring. The Bucks ultimately beat the Phoenix Suns in the Finals.

Indiana Pacers

Over his 12-year NBA career, Ian Mahinmi spent most of his time with the Pacers. Remember those Pacers that had Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and George Hill in the lineup? Well, Mahinmi was there, too. He was mainly a part of the bench unit; it was not until his final year there that coach Frank Vogel made him a starter.

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