By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Shane Larkin returned to Turkey Monday and is projected to finally play this week after resuming practices with Anadolu Efes. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Round 6 game pitting the Turkish club against Olympiacos in Greece Friday is expected to be his first in the 2020-21 season.
Shortly following his arrival at Istanbul, Efes faced Besiktas in BSL Regular Season Round 5 action. He was not at the gym but will be on the floor for the remaining domestic league games, barring an additional setback.
The former Hurricane simulated the Miami tag through the 2019-20 EuroLeague season. His third run in Europe’s premier club competition featured plenty of record-breaking outings, including the most points scored in a single game, 49, in November 2019 versus FC Bayern Munich.
He was named MVP of the Round six times up to his Round 28 nod. That round was the last played prior to the decision to abandon the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, he missed the chance to complete a historic campaign, the Turkish outlet as well.
Larkin, 28, averaged 25.8 points, 4.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per contest. His 555 points were the most produced by any player, the same went for his 644 PIR, 25.76 per match. His massive displays made him the boss in the MVP race and propelled Anadolu Efes to a 24-4 record comfortably leading the pack heading to the playoffs.
The 2019-20 champion was not crowned, but Larkin is back. Despite being down 1-3 in the young EuroLeague season, additional firepower just might push Ergin Ataman’s side back to its previous status, the favorite to conquer EuroLeague.
“To win a [EuroLeague] championship with Efes is definitely what I want to do and what I want to accomplish. But I am from America and the NBA is the NBA and it’s always the goal as mine as well,” he explained in September. “So I would not say that you can completely rule out the NBA. I definitely had some great offers from the NBA this summer but ended up not working out.”
The former Miami standout made his way to 269 NBA games between the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics. However, his last appearance dates back to 2018 and him joining Efes.