By George Orfanakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With the help of 5 specific criteria, Eurohoops presents for the fourth time the race for the MVP award as it currently stands. Take another look at the rankings in the third MVP Ladder of the season.
The criteria that were used are the following:
Player’s performance: The individual performance in combination with the demands that existed before the start of the season greatly affects the decision as to who is the MVP. Certain players exceeded initial expectations and others confirmed they belong in the elite of European basketball.
Team’s course: Basketball is a team sport and if someone cannot convert their individual performances into wins for their team, then they automatically lose points in the race for the MVP.
Player’s role: How would each team perform if we automatically removed the MVP candidate from the squad? There are players who are the alpha and omega of their squad, with their key presence providing an advantage on the MVP Ladder.
Consistency: The performance of certain star players varies in big games. Some play consistently at full throttle, without fluctuations. There are also players who specialize in making their teammates better in every game, even if they themselves don’t put up good numbers. As the season progresses, however, their value peaks.
Leadership: The biggest names in the EuroLeague have to step up when their team needs them. Their contribution in those moments – both in defense as well as in offense – can be as important as their overall numbers. This element, along with other leadership characteristics, adds points and is seriously taken into account when drafting the MVP Ladder.
As we approach the end of the season, the choices are getting fewer. In contrast to previous occasions, in this 4th MVP Ladder the candidates are limited to seven, with the competition having risen… dangerously. That’s not to say other candidates cannot re-enter this list. The last few rounds are going to be crucial.
7. NICK CALATHES
Player’s performance: 9
Team’s course: 6
Player’s role: 10
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Nick Calathes simply is Panathinaikos OPAP Athens this season. Everything goes through the hands of the talented point guard who has a unique gift in passing (8.3 assists), and at the same time he’s the team’s top scorer (11.7 points), with a considerable difference from the second in line.
Calathes sets the pace, he’s the first to run the fastbreak, he creates space with his drives, he presses hard on defense and can make the most of his teammates at any moment, making the Greens a better team in the process. It’s telling that Rick Pitino didn’t hesitate to say that Calathes is the best passer he has come across in his great career, mentioning him in the same sentence as names like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
The only major blemish in the 30-year-old guard’s game is his rather poor shooting percentages, mainly on three-pointers and free throws, with figures of 23.9% and 49% respectively. At the same time, the Greek team is in danger of being left out of the playoffs and, as a result, Calathes loses significant ground in the battle for the MVP award.