By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Eurohoops will select 3 players from each team in the Final Four whose performance we consider crucial regarding how their teams will fare in Madrid and will present them in 12 different parts. One by one they will “parade” through and we will focus on their role and the reasons they are important.
Why he’s a catalyst
The word ‘catalyst’ is not adequate. We are speaking of the absolute leader of Olympiacos and one of the most successful players in the history of the league. Spanoulis has the gift of getting the ball in the basket in a thousand ways and even though he doesn’t have height, or super athletic qualities, through hard work and his mentality, he has managed to remain at the highest level for many years. With a huge impact, not only on the teams he has played for, but on European basketball in general.
His season this year, as in 2011-12 not by chance, were his most complete and productive. This is clearly because they followed after summers when the Greek ace didn’t not play in the Greek national team because of injuries. This year he tallied 14.9 points with 5.7 assists, 2 rebounds, 48.3% in two-point field goals and 34.1% in three-point field goals. For yet another season he’s the best clutch player, the one with the best numbers and the biggest productivity in the final 5 minutes of games.
In the final four his coach, his teammates, the supporters of the Greek team are expecting Spanoulis to do what he did in all previous final fours. To lead his team to the conquest of the title. The obvious part of his role, what everyone can see, is to drive Olympiacos’s scoring and to create systematically for his teammates. To get baskets in every way and at the same time to create easy scoring opportunities for the bigmen, or create open shots in the weak side of the defense.
In the very likely scenario that CSKA’s defense in the semifinal is fully arranged around him and will try to stop him with constant ambushes, hedge outs and 2 or 3 players, it’ll be crucial to dispense the ball quickly from his hands in order to provide room and an advantage for the rest of his teammates.
In the first few seconds of possessions in offense he’ll need to pass the ball quickly. If the ball is circulating correctly and swiftly, when he receives it again the defensive positions will have changed and it’ll be easier to strike on the opponent. Add to this the right decisions and surely some big shots that will be needed, for his team to make the big win.
The best (dad) of all if…
Vspan’s career is characterized by a unique circumstance. He has played in 3 final fours and he counts an equal number of European titles and personal MVP awards. Coincidentally, each of the times he conquered the top as the MVP, his wife Olympia brought to this world one of their three little boys. The final four in Madrid is no exception. His partner is pregnant once again and this time she will give birth to the first girl in the family. Can you imagine if the outcome is once again the same? If Olympiacos manages to win the Euroleague, Spanoulis will be 4/4 in final fours and… kids. In this way, he will go down in history as the best (dad) of all time.