By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
The Final 8 field is set. JDA Dijon and Iberostar Tenerife came through in the clutch of their respective, game three deciders, and now know who they will face next week. In what promises to be a fascinating clash of playing styles, JDA Dijon will go into Quarter-Final 1 to meet Türk Telekom and their roster of Monstars in Athens. Let’s dive into the tactics and look at where the key battlegrounds might be, as featured on championsleague.basketball.
This roster looks absolutely stacked. Coach Gören’s men from Ankara have undergone some major roster changes but it has enabled them to put together possibly the strongest squad (on paper at least) in the Final 8. The club is certainly flying into Athens in a bullish mood.
Michael Eric – Center
The biggest departure (literally) from the team was center Moustapha Fall. The giant Frenchman was enjoying one of the most dominant seasons we have seen from a big man, and was also a pivotal part of coach Gören’s system. Replacing him is Michael Eric, fresh from winning the ACB Bubble with Baskonia. Eric is a slightly different style of center but is still an explosive, above-the-rim finisher in the pick-and-roll, and also particularly hard to hold on the left block. Eric is also a real threat on the offensive glass.
Sam Dekker – Power Forward
The power forward rotation also sees a high-profile change with Sam Dekker coming in to join Kyle Wiltjer. Dekker is – like Wiltjer – a former Houston Rocket and possesses genuine NBA level athleticism. He plays very hard on both ends and is the kind of player that can contribute to the game in multiple ways.
Kyle Wiltjer – Power Forward
Wiltjer is coming off his best season in Europe and after leading Türk Telekom in scoring at 17.9 points per game, including shooting 43% from deep, he has proven himself to be one of Europe’s best offensive players at the power forward position. Make no mistake, this is a well-balanced and very talented rotation at the four.
Tyler Ennis – Point Guard
The high-profile recruits don’t stop there. Maybe the highest-profile signing is 6’3” (1.91m) point guard Tyler Ennis. Ennis is coming off a season-ending injury during his rookie season in Europe but now back to full-health, Türk Telekom have themselves a genuinely elite point guard. Ennis shot 53% overall and 44% from 3-points across all competitions in his rookie season with Fenerbahce and has a floater package to rival any you will see at the Final 8, including those guys at AEK. If Rice and Langford are some of Europe’s most established scorers at the guard position, Ennis may be among the next incoming.
Kamar Baldwin – Guard
Also joining Ennis is Kamar Baldwin, a rookie out of Butler University. Baldwin will be stepping into the role once filled by Nick Johnson and has a versatile offensive skill-set. For Butler, Baldwin was a threat running off screens, and also creating for himself with the ball. As with all rookies, it is yet to be proven what he will contribute in Europe but he projects to be a microwave scorer and somebody with a very interesting season follow – not least because he is in the unique position of being draft-eligible for 2020.
Kiefer Sykes – Guard
Kiefer Sykes can flat out score. Just ask Avellino fans. Sykes owns the single-season scoring record in the BCL with 43 against Banvit and when he gets cooking, there really isn’t a way to stop him. Sykes is also a Chicago native and plays with the kind of toughness that you’d expect from ballers that hail from that neck of the woods. If you haven’t seen his documentary “Chi-Town”, now might be a good time to do so.
Muhammed Baygül – Shooting Guard
When November’s National Team windows come around, don’t be surprised to see Türk Telekom’s captain Muhammed Baygül earn a call up for Turkey. He has been integral to everything the team from Ankara does this season. 11.4 points, 3.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, shooting 50% from deep, and 89% from the line, Baygul has produced at a high level all year. The former Darüşşafaka and Pınar Karşıyaka man is now 28 and seems to have found a home. Despite all the new, high-profile recruits, Baygül will be vital if Türk Telekom are to achieve their target of taking Europe’s most beautiful trophy back to Ankara.
Before the break Türk Telekom had the best field goal percentage in the BCL at 50.4%, largely thanks to being the league’s most precise snipers from behind the arc – they are the only club to shoot over 40% from deep this season. They also head into the Final 8 with the third-ranked offense in the BCL, scoring an impressive 116.5 points per 100 possessions. On the defensive end, coach Gören’s men have taken care of business on the glass all season, pulling down 75% of their opponent’s misses – better than any of the other Final 8 teams. It isn’t just efficient shooting and defensive rebounding where Türk Telekom lead all of their other Final 8 opponents, they also score 37.6 points in the paint, again leading the field in the Final 8.