By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The EuroLeague “Experts Round Table” for Round 17 and 18 includes a discussion about the ideal player to start a team,the defender that could win a game in the last possession, and the players who might take their game to another level in 2019.
1. Who is the first EuroLeague player you would sign if starting a team?
Well, that sort of question probably defines who is my favorite player in the EuroLeague right now. I would probably need some great point guard, which means the chosen one is supposed to be a player with great organizational skills, not necessarily a point guard. Players like Nicolo Melli, Milan Macvan, Vladimir Micov… And of course, Nando De Colo, Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez… Players like that bring an idea to the court and provide good results.”
Nando De Colo is the most determinant player in the EuroLeague in my opinion. He’s a veteran, at 31, but he’s not yet on the downside of his career. He offers scoring, efficiency and leadership. I value the player who knows how to put his team on his back when things aren’t going well, and De Colo does that for CSKA. There are few EuroLeague players with that characteristic. Maybe Spanoulis and Llull, but De Colo is a surer thing: in 13 of the 17 games until now, he has scored at least 10 points.
Now that Luka Doncic has taken his talent to Texas, I’d have to go with a veteran who can still produce big-time numbers and knows how to win. That’s why I’d choose Jan Vesely from Fenerbahce. He’s the most-utilized player by coach Zeljko Obradovic, and I believe he knows what he’s doing… After all he’s only won nine Euroleague titles! If I wanted to go a bit younger, I’d choose Arturas Gudaitis from AX Milan. He was good in his first season when the team was struggling. Now that he has a backcourt with Mike James and Nemanja Nedovic (when healthy), who can open up space inside, he’s dominating.
As the back-court players are mainly helpful at ensuring a more dynamic functioning of the schemes, I will go with one of them even though two big men, Jan Vesely and Nikola Milutinov, are both having a fantastic season. I pick Sergio Llull, who can play both guard positions efficiently and is a coachable leader who can improve the performances of his teammates. He couldn’t play much last season due to injury, but in the previous season, his individual performance was one of the best I’ve ever seen in the EuroLeague in a single season, and I had the answer for this question in my mind back then.
To get an immediate impact, while still considering long-term future of the team, my signing might be Fenerbahce point guard Kostas Sloukas. Still young as he turns 29 next week, Sloukas has played in six championship games in the last seven years, winning three titles. An impact player, but also the ultimate team player, as well, he is my team’s building block.