Photo: AS Monaco Basket

AS Monaco Basket is one of the surprising stories at the beginning of the season. The newcomers in the EuroLeague competition have painted their start with some nice victories and, at times, great play.

Despite being a new team with a huge amount of newly signed players, Zvezdan Mitrovic side showed great resiliency and massive effort in every game.

You see, Monaco has not a standard EuroLeague contract, there is no indication that the French club could acquire one in the near future. Monaco entered this year’s competition as the winners of the 7Days EuroCup.

They started the season with a 2-1 record in the first three games, including wins against Panathinaikos and UNICS Kazan. They only lost to Real Madrid yesterday, after a hard-fought battle that ignited a 25-point deficit comeback.

Monaco’s power duo

The French club added Mike James as the crowned jewel of their signing spree last summer. James has not disappointed the fans, as he came back to EuroLeague after a short stint with the Brooklyn Nets.

The Alphonso Ford award candidate is leading Monaco in scoring by averaging 16.3 points, 5.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds through three EuroLeague games.

In the loss to Real Madrid Wednesday, the scoring guard took over and help the team get back in the game, finishing with 24 points and 10 assists.

James is a huge factor for Mitrovic’s offense, as Monaco is ranked third in points production, with an average of 83 points per contest. They are also fourth in assists, averaging 20 dishes per contest.

The three-point plays are a considerable weapon at the hands of the French club, as the EuroLeague newcomers are shooting 41 percent (3rd best) from deep in 73 attempts through the first three rounds.

Another big part of Monaco’s success is Donta Hall. The American center is a force to reckon with under the basket, as he shoots a massive 75 percent from the field through the first three games with AS Monaco.

He’s putting great effort in rebounding the ball, and he is really great at executing pick and roll plays with his high-flying type of game. He’s also a genuine rim-protector, swapping and deflecting a good number of shots.

Putting the work

The French side is putting the work in every game, playing like it’s its last in the competition. The effort is there in every game and that’s fun to watch.

The addition of EuroLeague veterans like Leo Westerman, Will Thomas and Mike James helped the team sync fast to the top-tier level of the European competition.

Now, it remains to be seen, if AS Monaco can maintain their high-octane type of play through 34 games, taking into consideration that it’s the first time the club is participating in the EuroLeague.