By Nikos Varlas/ varlas @eurohoops.net
Stratos Perperoglou’s career and his relationship with Dusan Ivkovic did not develop ideally… The Greek forward left Efes and straight away he got a contract and the role he wanted in Xavi Pascual’s Barcelona!
Stratos Perperoglou, one of the most experienced and successful forwards in the Euroleague, will continue his career in Barcelona with a contract that lasts until the summer of 2017. His transfer to the big Spanish club was initiated very quickly from the moment he agreed with Efes and signed the joint cancelling of his contract, receiving a – small, compared to his contract – compensation.
The expression “one of the most successful” is not arbitrary. Before the 30-year-old player (height 2m.03) signed with Efes, in his first 6 active seasons in the Euroleague, he won 3 of them! Two with Panathinaikos in Berlin (2009) and Barcelona (2011) and one with Olympiacos (2013) in London. In 2 of the 3 last victorious final fours, he made excellent appearances and a big contribution in winning the titles.
Esentially, he started his professional career from Ilisiakos, got a transfer to Panionios and his journey at the top level started in the summer of 2007 with his transfer to Panathinaikos. In Anadolu Efes he made a good start, but from the middle of the season onwards, things changed.
The arrival of Heurtel, the change in the style of play, some things that didn’t satisfy the player and at the same time some of Perperoglou’s appearances that didn’t… satisfy Ivkovic, created an issue and “broke the glass.” In the end, the solution was a “divorce.” In his one season in the top league as a player for Efes he tallied 9.8 points with 42% in two-point field goals, 34.4% in three-point field goals and 86.8% in free throws. His role compared to the start of the season started to wane in importance and participation minutes after February and this was even more apparent in the playoffs of the TBL.
He’s one of the most pure ‘3’s in Europe, with clear elements in his game. A really good player on the weak side, a reliable shooter, the last 3-4 years he has also included to a satisfactory degree the execution after a dribble as well. Something that provides him with the option to create plays himself. He moves well without the ball and he’s one of the few ‘3’s with such quality game in the post. He has specific but very effective moves, but and aside from the fact that he scores a lot from post situations, he’s at a high level in the facilitating part.
Overall, in offense he’s one of the most skilled and complete forwards in the Euroleague. He has the quality to threaten and facilitate in many ways. The negatives in his game are that he doesn’t possess a great deal of athleticism and that in every defensive situation he is mediocre. A lot of the time, though, his experience and his top-level basketball perception, help him cover up these weaknesses.
The prediction: He really matches Pascual’s philosophy
Stratos Perperoglou’s choice seems… entirely natural if one considers Xavi Pascual’s philosophy, the criteria according to which he selects his players and the unique style that Barcelona represents in offense.
The Greek player can consistently support in terms of execution the creative plays of his teammates that end up in passes to the weak side of the opposing defense. He can finish Pascual’s numerous plays that end up in isolations in ‘3’ and ‘4’ and above all he has the quality and the elements in his offensive repertoire to match harmoniously with the systems that are tailored to Ante Tomic.
What does Pascual demand from the forwards who play alongside the Croatian scorer and facilitator in the paint? Movement without the ball, high accuracy percentages in open shots and good perception in order to create offenses with triangles at the right distances and consecutive passes that lead to an easy hoop.
Since Perperoglou is so good facing the basket, as well as in post situations, he’s ideal to participate in and support triangle offenses. We saw this emphatically in Olympiacos with Printezis, Antic and Spanoulis, as well as in Panathinaikos in the past with the greens’ great guards and the collaborations of Nikola Pekovic and Mike Batiste.
He can execute, pass, move without the ball and help Barcelona keep the right distances in offense, something that Pacsual puts a lot of emphasis on. It’s a given that Perperoglou matches the offensive philosophy of his new team. Whether his career in Barcelona will be deemed successful or not, will not be judged by his numbers, which will be good, but from whether Barcelona will return to winning titles, after what turned out to be a painful season for them.
Perperoglou is the classic case of a quality player who depends on and is influenced by the proper function of the system he is a part of. He’s a great supporter, but not a leader.