By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Eurohoops will select 3 players from each team in the Final Four whose performance we consider crucial regarding how their teams will fare in Madrid and will present them in 12 different parts. One by one they will “parade” through and we will focus on their role and the reasons they are important.
Why he’s a catalyst
We are talking about the top scorer, not only of Fenerbahce, but the entire Euroleague! This fact alone is enough for him to be considered a key player in the final four. The stocky but so charismatic in offense guard, in his first season in the Euroleague is proving that when talent and offensive instinct abound, there is no need for experience or a long adaptation period in order to take the world by storm.
In his first season as a member of a top club that possesses many players that are able to score a lot, he tallied 16.4 points on average with 52% in two-point field goals and consistently with a +45% in three-point field goals. The only exception was the playoffs series against Maccabi. He scored +20 points 9 times (!) in a total of 27 games and broke the record for most three-pointers. He scored ten of them in one night in Munich! A specialist in 1v1, he’s hard to stop without backup and he can “destroy” a defense in more ways than one. Long-range shots, drives, floaters, there is nothing in execution that is missing from his repertoire.
Zeljko Obradovic did something smart and imperative midway through the season. Without reducing the possessions that end with an effort by the American, he took the ball from his hands – and with that, the need to make most decisions – moved him at the ‘2’ position (Nikos Zisis’s presence mostly provided the capability to do this) so he can use him mostly as an executioner.
In this way, players that are more experienced and better at making decisions and reading plays (Zisis, Preldzic, Bjelica) can create and the American “bomber” can execute undisturbed without having to waste energy or think too much.
On special occasions that decide the outcome of a game in the final seconds, a lot of the time he is Obradovic’s choice for him to get the ball in his hands and take over the attempt after the isolation game. Just like it happened in the 3rd semifinal against Maccabi.
These are exactly the things that the team is expecting of Goudelock in the final four! To score close to his average, with high percentages and without his game affecting or reducing the productivity and contribution of the other top-class players.
His offensive strike has to result from a team effort, with Fenerbahce’s cohesion remaining at high levels! In the creative part, he’s not yet at a high level (he has the talent, but not the experience and the consistency in decision making), but there are other players for this.
Second title, why not a third MVP!
Last year he won the first title of his career in Europe, the Russian Cup! He was the MVP of the final and the MVP of the entire season in the Eurocup, where UNICS reached the final but was defeated by Valencia. What does he dream of? His second title, infinitely more important… the European championship! If that comes, why not a third MVP award in 2 seasons?