Guarding the EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy

2022-03-22T13:48:04+00:00 2022-03-22T13:50:37+00:00.

John Rammas

22/Mar/22 13:48

Eurohoops, with the assistance of Keith Langford, examines how 18 out of the 20 top scorers in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague history played out of the guard positions.

By John Rammas/

Looking into the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague list of top scorers, guards won the race in 18 out of the seasons. Normal or not? Backed with Keith Langford’s know-how, Eurohoops presents all the EuroLeague best scorers.

Guards might not match the height of the forwards and centers but are pretty tall themselves and undoubtedly can produce points in basketball games. Throughout modern EuroLeague history, point or shooting guards earned the top scorer distinction every single season except for 2007-08’s Marc Salyers and 2009-10’s Linas Kleiza, the two exceptions to that rule.

The late Alphonso Ford became the first top scorer in 2000-01 and the second in 2001-02, after moving from Peristeri to Olympiacos. Beginning in the 2004-05 season, the award named after him, the Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy, goes to the EuroLeague’s best scorer.

Since, three players have topped the scoring list on multiple occasions.

x3 Igor Rakocevic (Tau Ceramica 2007 & 2009, Efes Pilsen 2011)
x2 Keith Langford (EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 2014, UNICS Kazan 2017)
x2 Alexey Shved (Khimki Moscow Region 2018 & 2021)

The trio of Langford, Shved and Mike James (AX Armani Exchange Milan 2019) has won every scoring title since 2016-17 and the change to the current double-legged round-robin format. Only Shved managed to combine that individual achievement with a berth in the playoffs, however, as Khimki Moscow Region squeezed in as the eighth seed in the 2017-18 season.

“In my opinion, there are a couple of reasons that basketball has primarily become a guards game,” Langford told Eurohoops. “In this day and age, all of the best, most capable high-scoring big men are in the NBA. I’m more than certain if guys like [Nikola] Jokic, [Pau] Gasol, Dirk [Nowitzki], Giannis [Antetokounmpo], [Nikola] Vucevic and others spent significant years in the Euroleague they would take not only scoring awards but a majority of the accolades.”

“Secondly, Euroleague basketball uses four- and five-men as spot-up shooters and defenders, or roll guys for finishes. The emphasis on playing through a big man has long gone. I’m not sure if that’s because big men don’t focus on skill from the block as much anymore or if it’s philosophical from coaches. The truth is probably somewhere in between. The last big I remember in EuroLeague that consistently received post touches and isos was Erazem Lorbek.”

FC Barcelona forward Nikola Mirotic can potentially snap the streak of the guards. Anadolu Efes point man Vasilije Micic jumped to first place over “Miro the Hero” in Regular Season Round 28 but the top spot is up for grabs with some games left on the schedule. Will he make it or will yet another guard became the EuroLeague’s best scorer?

  1. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes) – 17.3 ppg in 26 appearances
  2. Nikola Mirotic (FC Barcelona) – 17 ppg in 27 appearances
  3. Mike James (AS Monaco) – 16.3 ppg in 29 appearances
  4. Scottie Wilbekin (Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv) – 16 ppg in 26 appearances
  5. Elie Okobo (LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne) – 15.5 ppg in 23 appearances

“As for who will win this year’s Alphonso, it’s hard to say but I will go with [Vasilije] Micic. I feel like he has more control over how many times he will shoot and when he wants to shoot. [Nikola] Mirotic should be the MVP but his offense is more so regulated through the plays his coach calls and how often his point guard can get him the ball.”

We will find out after a few more Rounds.

  • 2000-01: Alphonso Ford | SG | Peristeri | 26
  • 2001-02: Alphonso Ford | SG | Olympiacos | 24.8
  • 2002-03: Milos Vujanic | PG | Partizan | 25.8
  • 2003-04: Lynn Greer | PG | Idea Slask | 25.1
  • 2004-05: Charles Smith | SG | Scavolini Pesaro | 20.7
  • 2005-06: Drew Nicholas | SG | Benetton | 18.5
  • 2006-07: Igor Rakocevic | SG | Tau Ceramica | 16.2
  • 2007-08: Marc Salyers | PF | Chorale Roanne | 21.8
  • 2008-09: Igor Rakosevic | SG | Tau Ceramica | 18
  • 2009-10: Linas Kleiza | PF | Olympiacos | 17.1
  • 2010-11: Igor Rakosevic | SG | Efes Pilsen | 17.2
  • 2011-12: Bo McCalebb | PG | Montepaschi Siena | 16.9
  • 2012-13: Bobby Brown | PG | Montepaschi Siena | 18.8
  • 2013-14: Keith Langford | SG | EA7 Emporio Armani Milan | 17.6
  • 2014-15: Taylor Rochestie | PG | Nizhny Novgorod | 18.9
  • 2015-16: Nando de Colo | SG | CSKA Moscow | 18.9
  • 2016-17: Keith Langford | SG | UNICS Kazan | 21.8
  • 2017-18: Alexey Shved | SG | Khimki Moscow Region | 21.8
  • 2018-19: Mike James | PG | AX Armani Exchange Milan | 20.2
  • 2020-21: Alexey Shved | SG | Khimki Moscow Region | 19.8

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