By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season saw records set and history made. It’s been a season filled with great winning streaks, fantastic plays and unforgettable moments. All of that excitement comes thanks to the great players who make up the league. Euroleague Basketball is pleased honor among the very best of them the players who have been chosen to the 2018-19 All-EuroLeague First Team presented by 7DAYS. The selection process included voting by fans and accredited media members. After all the votes were tallied, the five players chosen to this season’s All-EuroLeague First Team are Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, Will Clyburn of CSKA Moscow, Brandon Davies of Zalgiris Kaunas, and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul teammates Kostas Sloukas and Jan Vesely.
Only two players, Calathes and Vesely, return from last season’s All-EuroLeague teams. In fact, the other three players are All-EuroLeague honorees for the first time. Media voting counted for 75% and fan voting 25% of the totals used to determine the All-EuroLeague selections. The All-EuroLeague First Team is among a series of honors being announced this week. The All-EuroLeague Second Team will be revealed on Friday. The EuroLeague MVP award will be named at the 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy and the Gianluigi Porelli EuroLeague Executive of the Year are post-season awards.
Nick Calathes – Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
Panathinaikos’s recipe for success started with the play of point guard Nick Calathes, who turned in a record-setting and history-making season to earn All-EuroLeague First Team honors for the second consecutive season. Calathes set league records this season with 8.7 assists per game and 286 total assists. He also accomplished the extremely rare feat of leading his team in performance index rating (15.8), points (12.2), rebounds (4.3) assists (8.7) and steals (1.7), the latter of which also led the league. Calathes turned in a 27-point, 14-assist effort for a PIR of 39 to garner MVP honors for Round 28 and was later named EuroLeague MVP of March. He finished the regular season with a bang by posting 11 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists to record the third triple-double in EuroLeague history.
Will Clyburn – CSKA Moscow
Will Clyburn’s third season in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has been his finest, with career highs set in average scoring (13.2), two-point shooting (53.7%), rebounds (6.9), steals (1.1) and performance index rating (17.5). He was the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 in both scoring (ninth) and rebounding (fourth) while posting the sixth-best PIR. Clyburn tallied a PIR of at least 20 in 13 games and collected four double-doubles. He was the Round 19 MVP after lifting CSKA to a 77-70 come-from-behind win FC Bayern Munich with 20 points, 8 rebounds and a PIR of 27. For Clyburn, who will celebrate his 29th birthday on the day of the semifinals at the Final Four, this is the first time he has been chosen to the All-EuroLeague team.
Brandon Davies – Zalgiris Kaunas
Center Brandon Davies dominated in the paint for Zalgiris this season and led his team in points scored (14.2), rebounds (5.5), steals (1.0) and performance index rating (16.9). He ranked sixth in the league in scoring and seventh in PIR. No player had as many monster games as Davies, who posted a PIR of at least 33 on six different occasions. He was the Round 23 MVP after tearing up Buducnost VOLI Podgorica for 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and a PIR of 34. In a must-win situation in the regular season finale, Davies went for 27 points, 10 boards and 2 steals in compiling an index rating of 34 to beat Real Madrid, clinch a playoff berth and capture the Round 30 MVP distinction. He is the sixth player to earn All-EuroLeague honors in a Zalgiris uniform.
Kostas Sloukas – Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Kostas Sloukas was the engine that ran the team with the best record in the EuroLeague this season, Fenerbahce. The 29-year-old playmaker and three-time EuroLeague champion ranked sixth in the league in assists (4.8) and set career-highs in both scoring (11.7) and performance index rating (15.6). Sloukas starred in Game 4 of the playoffs as Fenerbahce sealed a Final Four berth with a victory over Zalgiris Kaunas with 15 points, 10 assists and 4 steals. His average PIR of 16.3 in the playoffs was fifth-best in that stage. More impressive than his personal averages was how well the Fenerbahce attack ran with Sloukas at the helm. The Turkish champs led the league in both two-point (83.9%) and three-point shooting (43.4%) as one of the competition’s most efficient offenses ever.
Jan Vesely – Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
The man affectionately known as the Czech Jet had another monster season to secure his third All-EuroLeague selection. Jan Vesely ranked fourth in the league in both performance index rating (18.1) and steals (1.4) while leading Fenerbahce in points scored (12.4) and rebounds (5.0). He started the season with a bang, earning Round 1 MVP honors after dropping 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists on Herbalife Gran Canaria for an index rating of 34. He remained remarkably consistent after that by producing a PIR in double figures in all but two of his regular season appearances. Vesely, who scored the 2,000th point of his EuroLeague career and collected his 1,000th rebound during the season, was the EuroLeague MVP for December. He led Fenerbahce to a perfect last month of 2018, after which it never relinquished first place in the standings.