The best line of forwards in EuroLeague

06/Feb/17 13:45 February 6, 2017

Antonis Stroggylakis

06/Feb/17 13:45

Eurohoops.net

With two-thirds of this year’s thrilling and still ongoing regular season behind us in the EuroLeague, Eurohoops did the necessary research and presents, based on the rankings, the teams with the best lines of guards, forwards and centers in the competition.

By Stelios Toromanidis/ info@eurohoops.net

The main subject of much discussion and analysis in various basketball hangouts throughout Europe is the comparison between the best teams of the Old Continent with regard to the completeness and effectiveness in the three main positions of the sport. Those of the backcourt (positions 1-2), the forwards (positions 3-4), and the centers (position 5). Which team is superior and where, which position makes all the difference in the end and which players are barometers for each unit throughout the season in the EuroLeague?
Trying to give some answers to the above questions, Eurohoops looked at the stats of all the players in the competition and presents to you the best backcourts, forwards and big men so far in the competition, based on the numbers.

PART 2: Small/Power Forwards
In the second of three parts of this special, we are going to deal with the backbone of every team. They might be neither “small” nor “big,” but especially in modern basketball their performance is key to the effectiveness of the whole.
We are talking about forwards. With the completion of 20 of the 30 games in the regular season, we have a sufficient statistical sample that allows us to highlight the best but also lower ranked teams with regard to the forward positions (3-4).

Ranking method:
1st Step: First of all, we gathered the forwards of each team separately and made 16 tables, one for every unit in this year’s EuroLeague.
2nd Step: On each team’s table, we added the points collected by every forward in the ranking system (PIR) and then divided the result by the total of games of every forward on the team. This is how we calculated the average ranking (PIR) of the line of forwards for each of the competition’s 16 gladiators. In this way, the stats of ALL the players who play in a team’s 3 and 4 positions are presented as if they were ONE player.

Results: Brown, Honeycutt and Osman’s Efes are at the top, Zalgiris are second, while in sixth place we find Olympiacos. CSKA, Real and Panathinaikos are not even in the top ten
The teams that are tied at the top in the standings (CSKA, Real) are pretty far behind in the battle for the best line of forwards in the EuroLeague for reasons that are analyzed above each team’s table. In contrast, Efes, a team that is not even in the top eight in the regular standings have the best team in the 3 and 4 positions, followed by Zalgiris, Galatasaray and Armani Milan, with Printezis and Lojeski’s Olympiacos closing out the top six. Lastly, Panathinaikos are 15th, ahead only of Unics Kazan who are bringing up the rear. But let’s look at each team separately…

1 Efes (PIR: 10,7)
Efes’s lead is not really… surprising when one considers the names that occupy the 3 and 4 positions in coach Perasovic’s team. The “secret,” though, is the small number of forwards they have (only four), in combination with the very good performance levels of all four of them. Derrick Brown and Tyler Honeycutt are two of the best players in the competition in their position, while the talented Cedi Osman and the “executioner” Deshaun Thomas are excellent solutions.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Derrick Brown 20 254 86/166 10/27 117 34 330
2 Tyler Honeycutt 20 186 43/98 20/68 157 30 297
3 Cedi Osman 20 156 24/59 28/64 55 14 139
4 Deshaun Thomas 20 164 31/67 26/85 35 13 86
  FORWARDS TOTAL 80 760 184/390 84/244 364 91 852
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 9,5 47,2 34,4% 4,55 1,1 10,7

2 Zalgiris Kaunas (PIR: 10,6)
The same goes for the Lithuanian champions as well, who, aside from the 19-year-old Hartenstein who counts very few appearances, have a small but… effective line of forwards. The best of them is none other than the leader and veteran, Paulius Jankunas, while alongside him the Australian Brock Motum is also having a very good season. The quartet is complemented with the only pure small forward in Zalgiris, Edgaras Ulanovas.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Paulius Jankunas 20 251 73/141 12/30 125 35 308
2 Brock Motum 20 232 72/118 21/50 69 21 205
3 Edgaras Ulanovas 20 143 42/77 7/23 63 23 168
4 Ιsaiah Hartenstein 4 2 1/2 0/2 4 2 0
  FORWARDS TOTAL 64 628 188/338 40/105 261 81 681
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 9,8 55,6% 38,1% 4,1 1,3 10,6

3 Galatasaray (PIR: 9,8)
If you’re wondering how it is possible for a team that has two players with an overall ranking of 1 and -1 to be in third place, the answer is that, due to their small number of appearances (the two of them count only three) they don’t disturb the overall excellent image. Even though Gala are bringing up the rear in the EuroLeague, the team’s forwards are nevertheless doing a good job based on the numbers, as Schilb and Micov count more than 200 points in the PIR each, while Daye and Preldzic, who have missed several games, had full stats whenever they played.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Blake Schilb 20 183 62/108 15/56 71 32 224
2 Vladimir Micov 19 204 38/98 34/75 71 33 202
3 Austin Daye 15 124 18/37 21/39 39 14 140
4 Emir Preldzic 13 77 14/36 12/31 35 9 119
5 Ege Arar 2 2 1/2 0/0 1 0 1
6 Orhan Haciyeva 1 0 0/0 0/0 0 0 -1
  FORWARDS TOTAL 70 590 133/281 82/201 217 88 685
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 8,4 47,3% 40,8% 3,1 1,3 9,8

4 Armani Milano (PIR: 9,1)
Armani Milan don’t have the most quality forwards in the competition. Besides, neither of them is a starter except for the ex-Milanese, Alessandro Gentile, who was among the top options at the beginning of the season. Why are they ranked so high? Due to the small number of forwards in combination with their effectiveness whenever they play. It’s one of those cases where numbers don’t tell the whole truth.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Jamel McLean 20 174 64/106 1/8 90 27 207
2 Rakim Sanders 16 219 57/111 27/62 58 15 200
3 Davide Pascolo 12 50 21/33 1/7 34 1 58
4 Simone Fontecchio 5 14 4/8 2/9 5 0 7
5 Alessandro Gentile * 9 97 35/69 3/14 27 20 93
  FORWARDS TOTAL 62 554 181/327 34/100 214 63 565
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 8,9 55,4% 34% 3,5 1 9,1

5 Brose amberg (PIR: 8,8)
Andrea Trinchieri’s team has in its ranks the best forward in the competition, Nicolo Melli, who does everything on the court, and they also have one of the best Americans in the EuroLeague, Darius Miller. They are the reason they are placed fifth. As for the complementary players Radosevic, Heckmann and Harris, they do what is absolutely necessary whenever they’re on the court, presenting a positive image whenever they are needed.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Nicolo Melli 20 254 63/114 30/60 158 34 376
2 Darius Miller 20 258 40/87 47/110 60 32 216
3 Leon Radosevic 18 100 42/73 0/0 39 21 90
4 Patrick Heckmann 19 43 7/22 9/19 13 9 17
5 Elias Harris 3 7 3/5 0/0 1 2 5
  FORWARDS TOTAL 80 662 155/301 86/189 271 98 704
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 8,3 51,5% 45,5% 3,4 1,2 8,8

6 Olympiacos (PIR: 8,7)
Olympiacos follow closely behind, with Lojeski, Printezis and Papanikolaou (who is currently going through an in-form period) playing first fiddles in the forward positions. Perhaps the Red-and-whites would have been higher if their second in command hadn’t missed one-fifth of games.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Matt Lojeski 20 207 40/70 30/72 65 18 241
2 Georgios Printezis 16 197 70/138 11/33 70 11 205
3 Kostas Papanikolaou 20 144 36/71 14/48 90 20 183
4 Ioannis Papapetou 20 96 22/40 14/44 51 12 91
5 Dimitrios Agravanis 9 22 6/11 2/16 14 2 18
  FORWARDS TOTAL 85 666 174/330 71/213 290 63 738
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 7,8 52,7% 33,3% 3,4 0,7 8,7

7 Baskonia (PIR: 8,6)
Baskonia also present an excellent image in the forward positions. First of all, Hungarian Adam Hanga, but also Tornike Shengelia and Kim Tillie (who mostly share the 4 position), are the main pillars in the Basques’ game, while Chase Budinger provides valuable solutions since he was acquired (after the start of the season).

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Adam Hanga 20 198 53/97 20/63 92 27 255
2 Tornike Sengelia 15 175 55/111 7/13 57 31 176
3 Kim Tillie 19 104 31/49 9/22 68 10 140
4 Chase Budinger 16 86 23/41 10/31 60 14 97
5 Tadas Sedekerskis 10 17 6/8 0/1 8 3 18
  FORWARDS TOTAL 80 580 168/306 46/130 285 85 686
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 7,3 55% 35,4% 3,6 1,1 8,6

8 Maccabi Tel Aviv (PIR: 8,4)
Talent is plentiful in the “people’s team” and their line of forwards. Victor Rudd, Sonny Weems (who is now a thing of the past) and Devin Smith maintain a consistently good statistical image that keeps the Israelis in first place, even though Maccabi haven’t managed to present a cohesive whole for yet another year.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Victor Rudd 20 178 49/87 15/50 89 26 222
2 Devin Smith 20 200 42/95 32/87 121 31 206
3 Guy Pnini 19 33 9/17 3/20 24 6 38
4 Quincy Miller 3 17 3/13 3/7 8 5 7
5 Sonny Weems * 19 221 72/123 17/52 63 58 211
  FORWARDS TOTAL 81 649 175/335 70/216 305 126 684
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 8 52,2% 32,4% 3,8 1,6 8,4

9 Fenerbahce (PIR: 7,7)
The plethora of players in the 3 and 4 positions does not allow Fenerbahce to be in a better position in our special ranking system. Vesely, Datome, Nunnally and Kalinic yield from good to excellent results, but from there on down the image of the forwards is rather mediocre.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Jan Vesely 20 228 89/151 0/1 92 34 269
2 Luigi Datome 20 193 37/90 32/62 76 22 176
3 James Nunnally 20 139 29/58 23/43 46 23 146
4 Nikola Kalinic 18 119 39/72 8/27 59 22 135
5 Pero Antic 18 85 8/22 17/51 42 7 76
6 Baris Hersek 3 4 2/3 0/2 0 0 -1
7 Egehan Arna 1 0 0/0 0/0 0 0 -1
8 Anthony Bennett 1 0 0/1 0/1 0 0 -2
9 Yordan Minchev 2 0 0/2 0/1 2 3 -6
  FORWARDS TOTAL 103 768 204/399 80/188 317 111 792
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 7,5 51,1% 42,6% 3,1 1,1 7,7

10 Darussafaka Dogus (PIR: 7,3)
The trio of Clyburn, Moerman and Anderson is moving along a very good statistical level, but the very next trio in line (Harangody, Slaughter and Batuk) hasn’t been performing as well as they could have so far, and as a result David Blatt’s line of forwards is only in tenth place.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Will Clyburn 20 257 84/187 14/42 108 36 241
2 Adrien Moerman 19 181 43/96 27/82 105 15 184
3 James Anderson 20 192 39/90 31/85 67 25 158
4 Luke Harangody 15 48 13/23 6/20 45 3 59
5 Marcus Slaughteur 9 42 15/23 0/0 26 8 51
6 Birkan Batuk 18 62 10/18 11/34 32 5 43
  FORWARDS TOTAL 101 782 204/437 89/263 383 92 736
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 7,7 46,7% 33,8% 3,8 0,9 7,3

11 Real Madrid (PIR: 7,2)
Real’s line of forwards is truly… awe inspiring. Despite this, it’s not possible for everyone to be a protagonist and as a result, players like Maciulis, Taylor, Reyes and Nocioni have a secondary role in coach Laso’s rotation and their statistical image is mediocre considering their worth as players. So, the Queen has to settle for eleventh place.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Anthony Randolph 18 162 48/97 12/35 100 24 205
2 Rudy Fernandez 18 152 21/54 31/93 60 24 192
3 Felipe Reyes 20 137 40/76 3/9 63 19 172
4 Jonas Maciulis 16 109 17/37 22/39 38 6 118
5 Jeffery Taylor 14 53 5/13 12/28 28 3 51
6 Trey Thopkins 13 64 9/22 14/30 30 7 44
7 Andres Nocioni 10 24 4/11 5/17 9 5 4
  FORWARDS TOTAL 109 701 144/310 99/251 328 88 786
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 6,4 46,5% 39,4% 3 0,8 7,2

12 Barcelona (PIR: 7)
The numerous injuries have disrupted Barcelona’s entire function as a team, since only Vezenkov has been able to play in every game. This is one of the reasons why Barca are ranked so low, although the Catalans’ position in the overall rankings in the EuroLeague isn’t much better.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Aleksandar Vezenkov 20 136 31/47 19/37 69 13 194
2 Victor Claver 17 98 21/37 13/34 75 23 143
3 Justin Doellman 14 106 24/60 14/26 42 13 118
4 Stratos Perperoglou 13 67 13/44 11/25 33 14 65
5 Marcus Eriksson 13 27 3/7 7/16 13 7 22
  FORWARDS TOTAL 77 434 92/195 64/138 232 70 542
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 5,6 47,2% 46,4% 3 0,9 7

13 Crvena Zvezda (PIR: 6)
Simonovic and Bjelica are the most stable pillars among Crvena Zvezda’s forwards. But Mitrovic and Dangubic present a mediocre image based on numbers, even though they’ve played in most games. So, the Serbs are forced to… make do with 13th place.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Marko Simonovic 20 261 48/84 43/99 64 15 234
2 Milko Bjelica 20 157 45/97 7/40 64 14 167
3 Luca Mitrovic 18 68 27/59 2/11 36 21 58
4 Nemanja Dangubic 18 95 24/54 13/35 39 20 50
5 Ognjen Dobric 7 13 6/8 0/4 2 2 8
6 Borisa Simanic 2 2 1/3 0/2 3 0 -3
  FORWARDS TOTAL 85 596 151/305 65/191 208 72 514
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 7 49,5% 34% 2,4 0,8 6

14 CSKA Moscow (PIR: 5,8)
The European champions are a team that is built around the amazing guard duo of Teodosic and De Colo, while they often play with small line-ups that use backcourt players in the 3 position (Higgins, Jackson, Fridzon). This is the main reason that players like Kurbanov and Antonov aren’t allowed to fill up their statistical harvest even further, while Vorontsevich and Khryapa are important in the rotation but don’t really play first fiddles.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Nikita Kurbanov 20 125 24/48 11/29 81 22 160
2 Andrey Vorontsevich 20 157 22/49 34/58 49 11 157
3 Victor Khryapa 19 62 21/50 4/24 56 15 95
4 Semen Antonov 18 41 6/14 9/13 24 6 33
  FORWARDS TOTAL 77 385 73/161 58/124 210 54 445
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 5 45,3% 46,8% 2,7 0,7 5,8

15 Panathinaikos (PIR: 4,6)
Gist’s injury and the many rearrangements in the roster with players that were added after the start of the season (Gabriel, Gentile) haven’t allowed Panathinaikos’s forwards to have (at least so far) clear roles in the team, and as a result all of them are mediocre in terms of stats.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Demetris Nichols 20 97 21/51 14/38 58 14 90
2 James Gist 7 75 28/42 2/14 33 12 79
3 Kenny Gabriel 11 69 14/24 10/24 31 6 67
4 Antonis Fotsis 19 41 5/12 9/29 50 4 59
5 Alessandro Gentile 5 19 7/22 1/4 13 4 14
6 Vasilis Charalampopoulos 5 4 2/4 0/1 2 1 0
  FORWARDS TOTAL 67 305 77/155 36/110 187 41 309
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 4,6 49,7% 32,7% 2,8 0,6 4,6

16 Unics Kazan (PIR: 4,4)
Last place for Unics Kazan, and in their hierarchy something similar to that of CSKA applies. The guards (Langford, Colom etc.) are the protagonists, and as a result the performance of the forwards as represented in the stats is low.

  Player Games Points 2FG 3FG Rebounds Turnovers PIR
1 Kostas Kaimakoglou 18 85 20/42 12/42 61 21 82
2 Marko Banic 14 69 32/47 0/0 36 10 62
3 Pavel Antipov 18 76 10/20 17/37 24 7 60
4 Coty Clarke 7 42 10/35 3/9 35 15 46
  FORWARDS TOTAL 57 272 72/144 32/88 156 53 250
  FORWARDS AVERAGE 20 4,8 50% 36,4% 2,7 0,9 4,4