By Nikos Varlas/ email@example.com
Our Euroleague players ranking – something done for the first time in Europe by any media – is near its pick. According to the criteria we have established from the beginning, the sum of those five parts and our knowledge of European basketball’s modern history, we have made our final decisions.
As you can understand, being on the top ten has to do with the status of each player in the league, his achievements, his starting point in the season and also the potential of his team. The quality of each club and how far they are expected to get in the season is more than important.
The way the game is played in Europe is more than logical that the guards are dominating the league and our top picks. The guards decided the outcome during recent seasons in every crucial title game and the are monopolizing the MVP final four awards during the last decade.
Even the top big men are totally depended on the guards of their teams and no center with a back to basket game had influenced a final four, after the stellar performance of multitalented Nikola Vujicic back in 2005.
#10 Ante Tomic 1987 2m.17 C Barcelona
He is the best center in the league, combining great size and a great skill-set. He is a great offensive option in the low post, he can finish with both hands and a great passer when he is double teamed. Considering the fact that big men usually improve until the end of their career, Tomic can evolve even more.
Why he is just at number 10? He is not a factor yet in games that win titles. His leadership quality during the Final Fours is poor to say the least.
He is productive machine of pure basketball energy, the player who had more minutes on the court than any other for Real Madrid last season. What makes him great, besides his quickness, is that he gives 110% on both ends of the court, something very rare in modern basketball. He is a great one vs one defender, a streaky scorer and he is constantly improving his outside shot.
His passion and his experience can make him even better. However, even if he has stood his ground in many games against Barcelona, he hasn’t done that yet in a Euroleague final four and that’s an issue.
#8 Juan Carlos Navarro 1980 1m.91 G Barcelona
Like the gentleman in the next spot, he is already an icon in the league. He is probably the best ever scorer in the competition, his “bombas”, or floaters if you prefer, are a trademark, he is a proven leader and a player that has already carved a dominant place in the history of the sport.
He is the all time leading scorer of the league and the all time first in games played, has won two titles in 2003 and 2010 and he was also the 2010 Final Four MVP. He is past his prime and that has also to do with his chronic foot injuries. He can’t be consistent like he used to, but he is still the number one danger for every opponent.
Ηe is the most efficient all around player in the modern Euroleague era and one of the top5 players of the last decade. He is also a living legend. He is a jack of all trades, doing almost everything on the court with perfection and in his case this means a deadly efficient simplicity on every move and every decision.
He won 3 Euroleague title, two of them (2007, 2011) as the MVP and he was six year the best defensive player of the league. However he can’t also beat time. During the last two seasons his game is declining, but he has the basketball IQ to adapt. As a result he was the top passer of the league last year, averaging 6.21 assists. What’s also true is that the overall quality of Panathinaikos is not what it used to be, specifically when he was also on his primes.
#6 Keith Langford 1983 1m.93 G Unics Kazan
He is on the pick of his career, a real scoring machine and of course the top scorer of last season’s league, winner of the “Alphonso Ford” trophy with 17.6 points per game. He is not only that, as his 3.4 rpg and 2.9 asp prove. His role will be the same this season, despite leaving EA7 Milan for Unics Kazan. He will be the first option in his team’s offense and he is expected to be a leader.
He is a player who is maturing year by year and our opinion is that his distance from the Top five comes to this: Being a true leader who can make his teammates better, specially on the – rare we have to admit – nights his shots don’t fall in.
For the final 5-1 picks click here.