SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - The more international players enter the NBA, the bigger the presence of African-born players in the league.
By the time the 2016-17 NBA season tips off on 25 October, 14 players born on the continent of Africa will be expected to suit up for 13 different NBA teams.
But that number could rise if Angolan Yanick Moreira finds his way onto the Toronto Raptors roster and if Tanzanian Hasheem Thabeet can effectively make his comeback to the league.
Here is a look at African-born players set to make their NBA debuts in the upcoming season.
Cheick Diallo (Mali)
The 20-year-old, who spent a season at Kansas University before declaring for last June's draft, was a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Clippers before being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. A 2.06m power forward, Diallo may lack experience, but his talents certainly won't go unnoticed.
Thon Maker (South Sudan/Australia)In his NBA pre-season debut, the 19-year-old rookie helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their second game in a row. He finished with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block in his team's 88-74 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Selected 27th overall in the 2016 draft, the 2.06m power forward continues to make his presence felt in the pre-season. After a convincing Summer League, the Douala-native had a solid performance finishing with 9 points and 8 rebounds in the Toronto Raptors' 97-93 win over the Golden State Warriors last week.
"It's exhibition and it's hard to see, but I thought he did a decent job for the first time out," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of Siakam.
His aggressiveness at both ends of the floor indicates how desperate he is to make his official NBA.
The African NBA contingent is complete with the Orlando Magic duo of Serge Ibaka (Republic of Congo) and Bismack Biyombo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (Democratic Republic of Congo), Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), South Sudan's Luol Deng who joined the Los Angeles Lakers, Tunisian Salah Mejri (Dallas Mavericks), LA Clippers Luc Mbah a Moute (Cameroon), Nigerian Festus Ezeli (Portland Trail Blazers), and Cape Verde's Walter Tavares (Atlanta Hawks).
The second generation of African players includes Boris Diaw (Utah Jazz), Clint Capela (Houston Rockets), Dennis Schroder (Atlanta Hawks), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Victor Oladipo (Oklahoma City Thunder), Thabo Sefolosha (Atlanta), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland) and Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets).
Coaching associate DeSagana Diop (Utah) and assistant coaches Patrick Mutombo (Toronto) and Ime Udoka (Nigeria) are also part of the Africans gearing up for new NBA season.
Let the battle begin.