By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaining the faith of the EuroLeague experts is no easy task. However, the Experts Round Table: Round 18 presents the stars that would be the first addition in a new team, preferred defensive options and players that are expected to up their game in the second half of the Regular Season.
Per EuroLeague: “If you needed one stop to win a game, which defender would you want most on the court?
Matjaz Smodis: It depends on the situation. If I’m up by three and I need to stop someone on the perimiter, it would be Nikola Kalinic. His grit and determination on the defensive end is unmatched. If I have to stop a two, I’m going for Walter Tavares. His sheer size and skill are the explanation.
Gur Shelef: The EuroLeague is filled with players with great athleticism and impressive physical abilities, but there’s more to defense than just the physical side. When I think of defense, I think of a combination between physical ability, positive attitude, strong will and high basketball IQ. Players such as Adam Hanga, Jeffery Taylor, Daniel Hackett and, of course, Kyle Hines and Jan Vesely, are all great defenders, but if I had to choose just one, I’d go with Maccabi Tel Aviv‘s Yovel Zoosman. Zoosman is 6-foot-7, with a wingspan of 7-foot-1 and can play both as a guard and as a forward. He’s agile, has quick feet, fantastic instincts and most of all – a great will to make as many stops as possible on defense. In addition, he has great character – a sort of peace of mind and calmness that helps him focus on the task at hand – playing defense and making stops. And when he is fully focused, I see him as the best EuroLeague has to offer right now.
Manuel Moreno: Coaches normally say that games are won on defense. Having a determinant player is normally decisive as there are not many players who can stop an opponent’s scoring streak or impose respect under his basket. Probably the most intimidating one right now is Real’s Walter Tavares. His 2.20 meters make him a wall that disrupts the plans of rival coaches and forces changes to the trajectory of short shots. Tavares has more than 4 blocks in two games (Zvezda and ASVEL) and averages 1.9, but if we look at the stats, we can see that percentages of inside players went down when facing him. Even without scoring much, Tavares is a guarantee for Real.
Semih Tuna: CSKA Moscow‘s Kyle Hines is one of the best defenders the Old Continent has ever seen. Even though we have seen other great defenders who stopped the biggest shots, Kyle Hines provides us with the most reliable defense with his continuous and steady contribution. No matter how he executes on the other hand, he is never lazy to fight on defense. How can we ask for more?
Igor Petrinovic: I would surely want Walter Tavares. Real Madrid‘s center is one player whose arm length and shot-blocking prowess will likely make an offense think twice before taking the ball to the rim. He makes their defensive jobs easier for every one of his teammates on the perimeter, too, allowing them to be more aggressive for knowing that he’s got their backs.”
Read the rest of the Experts Round Table: Round 18 on EuroLeague.net.