Βy Panos Katsiroumpas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of teams seem like they’re going to change their roster to a small or larger extent and, in general, it’s expected that we are going to experience huge changes this summer.
The first team to complete a very important transfer is CSKA Moscow who, like Eurohoops had exclusively informed you, acquired Will Clyburn from Darussafaka. The American made an impression last season in the EuroLeague, although that was no surprise for those who knew about and had seen his feats in the Israeli league. Of course, we shouldn’t forget that the level of the EuroLeague is clearly higher, which makes the American forward’s limit up noteworthy.
His transfer to CSKA perhaps also shows a turn in terms of the style of play for Dimitrios Itoudis’s team, who clearly hasn’t had a player of this kind on his roster in the last two years.
The American forward was born in 1990 in Michigan, where he made his first steps in basketball. His course in the college championship passed rather unnoticed as he changed three colleges before managing to play at Iowa State in his senior year.
As was expected, he wasn’t picked in the 2013 draft and he was probably fortunate that the German Ulm picked him, so that he could keep playing basketball in Europe. After two years in Germany, he was transferred to Hapoel Holon, where he did amazing things in the Israeli league. He finished the year being the top scorer with almost 21 points on average, while he also had an amazing percentage in two-point field goals.
These feats made him known in the rest of Europe with Darussafaka hitting the bull’s eye with their selection, as he had an excellent season. He was one of the key members of David Blatt’s team and their course to the playoffs and a very important cog in the Turkish team’s competitive profile.
He finished the year in the EuroLeague with 13 points and 5 rebounds on average, having some truly amazing nights. These nights, along with certain competitive features, were the passport that took him to Moscow, to start playing in the colors of CSKA starting next season.
Change of course
With this signing, CSKA Moscow show that they want to introduce some competitive elements that were missing from their game in previous years. Clyburn is a player who can play in both forward positions. He plays mostly at 3, but he has often played at 4 in small and flexible line-ups. The truth is that he’s something completely different from the forwards we’ve grown accustomed to in CSKA in the last two seasons.
Until now, the players that played in the two forward positions for the Russian team were mainly players that set up the spacing in offense, while they were also very good defenders. They are all excellent shooters, but they are players who wait for the ball to come to them through team movement, they know how to move well without the ball and in open spaces, and take advantage of those situations.
Clyburn is a player who wants the ball in his hands and then, to set up situations for himself as well as his teammates.
The former player for Darussafaka is a real purebred. A very explosive player with a great jumping ability and stride.
He’s excellent at running the court, whether we’re talking about defensive or offensive transition. He likes trying to run on the open court and goes after these kinds of plays even from a defensive rebound if he has the chance.
He’s favorite game, though, is the isolation game from the outside in. He can put the ball on the floor with great ease and go up against any opponent. His speed and explosiveness make him very hard to deal with, even for the best defenders.
Aside from everything else, he has very good finishes from two or three meters out and, in general, he has good balance and feel for the basket. We’ve seen him finishing numerous plays on a defense while he can also score on a defense.
He can take advantage of every lane, whether he has created it himself or there is an opening created from the good movement of the ball. From the moment the opponents’ scouters realized what they were up against, most coaches decided to deal with him with some risk on his shooting.
They tried to shut off the right lane mainly, which is his favorite, and played defense on him from a distance. This led the American to start executing more from 4-5 meters as the year wore on in the EuroLeague. This is a shot that he makes, but often he’ll take it after some hesitation. This hesitation has often led him to make turnovers and bad offensive choices.
He’s an excellent rebounder, while he’s a good defender as a rim protector, but his body isn’t that strong and this is a negative, especially when he has to defend in the post against stronger opponents.
He needs to improve
The two things that he has to improve in order to be able to perform to the max for CSKA are his shot and creation.
The Russian team is one of the best teams in the department of the perimeter shot, with half their roster shooting over 40%. Clyburn is a player who cannot, in any way, be described as a spot shooter, while, in general, long-range shooting is not his strongest point. Aside from the fact that he’s not a great shooter, he also lacks in comfort and ease in execution. Last season, he was just 28% from behind the 6.75 line and this is something he has to work on, especially considering the way CSKA play.
The second part he needs to improve is his passing ability and more generally his court vision. Since he is a player for whom the defense often sends help to mark, either from the side, or in the last zone of defense in order to block his drives, he has many passing options. Despite this, Clyburn had barely averaged more than one assist on average, which shows that, from the moment he launches an attack, he mostly has scoring on his mind. Besides, we’ve often seen him scoring against a double-team on him. Despite this, his passing ability needs work, since CSKA are a team that works hard on ball movement and always seek out the best options through that movement.
To summarize, we can say that Clyburn is a player with amazing skills, who does certain things impressively on the court, but his potential is even greater. What remains to be seen is whether he will reach this potential in CSKA Moscow. If that happens, then the Russians will have added a nuclear weapon in their arsenal.