By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s EuroLeague’s Experts Round Table discusses the most-improved player of the 2019-2020 EuroLeague and the teams that have the best chances to pick up their pace in the upcoming games, especially the squads that have been hurt from injuries.
This week’s panel includes Euroleague Basketball Legend Theodoros Papaloukas; Luca Chiabotti, the former basketball expert-in-residence at La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy; Patrick Reichelt, sports editor for Munchner Merkur; Alex Madrid of Eurohoops Spain; and Frank Lawlor, Editorial Director of Euroleague Basketball. Check out their opinions on three key questions this week.
Who is your choice for most-improved player in the EuroLeague this season?
“I’m going to give the credit to Lukas Lekavicius. His return to Zalgiris Kaunas with a more important role has helped him make great progress in his stats and his impact on the game. He’s close to 11 points; he has the best percentages of his career in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, clearly higher than his last season in Kaunas before joining Panathinaikos OPAP Athens; and he has often functioned as a game-changer for his team.”
“I like Ioannis Papapetrou’s efforts to reach the top level in the league, and I believe that the Panathinaikos forward is lucky to have a coach like Rick Pitino working with him every day. Papapetrou posted his career highs this season and is improving his shooting percentages, but the very important thing is his impact on the games. Another player who is improving his game, in this case a veteran of European competition despite being only 27 years old, is Janis Timma of Khimki Moscow.”
“Obviously, there are a lot of guys, who would deserve these merits. But when we talk about players who were already there, my choice is Ioannis Papapetrou. He was a good player, but this season he has become a key player in the success of Panathinaikos so far. Very present and very efficient, putting almost 70 percent of his attempts into the basket.”
“There are several players – veterans, most of them – who come to my mind as performing much better compared to last season, such as Othello Hunter or Janis Timma. But being honest, nobody deserves it more than Shane Larkin. Yes, I know he is also the biggest MVP candidate, but check out his numbers and compare them with his statistics from last year: He scores almost twice as many points!”
“Although he wasn’t in the EuroLeague last season, but rather two seasons ago, I have to say that Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket has established himself this season as one of the competition’s best centers. He and Nikola Mirotic are the only top-10 player in performance index rating, points and rebounds, but Dubljevic scored and rebounded a lot less the last time he was in the EuroLeague and his improvement has everything to do with Valencia occupying a playoff spot right now.”