The 22-23 season like before begun with a bang pretty much. While I do keep track of my favorite teams the league in general has really been fun to see with some change happening overall.
As a former International Scout, I wanted to especially chime in on what I see in terms of teams that have been struggling with their performance overall.
What you will find in this article are my opinions about three key teams.
Zalgiris Kaunas, Anadolu Efes and Olimpia Milano and why they have been struggling in my opinion garnished with statistical insight I have gathered using my own means. Insight from 3stepsbasket.
In terms of key reasons I will focus on the coaching strategies that have led the teams from the first round to round twenty so far and to additionally point to the fact of how the teams have not been able to execute certain plays that have made them suffer with consequential situation of where they are now in the standings.
All in all I heavily think that out of all the teams its unfortunately the case that Olimpia Milano is suffering the most.
Anadolu Efes – The balanced one out of all three teams
To start out with I wanted to first of all look at the most optimally balanced team. Let me be clear that I still think that Anadolu Efes performance-wise should be in a better situation than where they are after round 20 has been played out and they definitely are putting in a ton of effort in.
A key I feel to their dynamic and in part of why they are underperforming is going to be stating the obvious that their leading player Shane Larkin so far has only played in four games.
To focus a bit more on their plays and on their on court situation please take a look at the following video:
How the stats translate for all teams:
As we can deduce from the graphic above, Zalgiris Kaunas that I am paying attention to ends up being one of the teams that has its downfall. Their lack of being able to produce on the offensive end becomes very evident eventhough they manage to get close to the rim. I will explain things further below on why they suffer so much in comparison to the rest of the league and they are bad in not one but two zones as we see in the graph.
Funny that while Olimpia Milano while on the bottom part of the league in most areas I would have expected them to turn up in the this graph are not to be seen. To a point they don’t show up on the radar yet but in all fairness they are not good nor that bad, plain and simple.
With regards to Anadolu Efes, with the fire power that they do have and the coaching strategies in place I would have been surprised if they would have turned up on this graph.
As a former international scout, one side of what I do was and always is, reading into certain numbers that make sense to me that are simply transferrable insights that relate to why teams struggle.
In all three of these teams’ cases I see the following in terms of offense as pointed out here:
This is clear proof that in terms of True Shooting aligned to 40 min. game play while Anadolu Efes manage to play sufficiently well so much so as just mentioned they optimally come up with enough offense to cover their gaps defensively.
Zalgiris Kaunas, fall middle of the pack and while they fall under the tendency that they do turn the ball over a lot across the league which I will dig further into shortly, they produce enough offense as well to cover up their flaws.
Olimpia Milano is the team that stands out unfortunately as the deal last in these terms in this chart.
Please take a look at this compilation of data I pulled together from the EuroLeague site.
While all three teams are the slowest in terms of Pace Milano being dead last in the EuroLeague to a point proves how tough of a league this is to be honest.
Knowing somewhat of the coaching and having witnessed it this past summer during a private coaching clinic out in Las Vegas, Coach Messina is very precise on what his expectations are and he demands the best out of his players always. Some might think that this could be applicable to any and all EuroLeague head coaches however the way in which Coach Messina sets expectations and what unravels on court are think the the link that are somewhat disconnect. Individually while Milano has some of the best players that they possibly could find in the league the collective effort does not seem to translate well into producing offense.
Before moving on I also wanted to leave this for your consideration:
A Head to head analysis of all three teams underperforming and the league leaders as well as how all three teams rank in the league in some statistical areas:
All data is compiled from the EuroLeague site!
Zalgiris Kaunas – Middle of the pack yet turning the ball over the most?
I find the circumstance in Kaunas always very interesting at the start of each EuroLeague season since I have been following the league (now for about 18 years). This season to some sense did feel different I must say. Their roster seemed more stable than ever and with the recent coming in of Achille Polonara from Anadolu Efes ( now having played for Zalgiris for 4 rounds) this issue of turning over the ball has not really plateaued yet. To a point the common denominator I think of where they suffer if the fact that defensively the effort on one end does not fully translate to the offensive end.
Please take a look at this video for my insight on Zalgiris:
Like Anadolu Efes, and Milano Zalgiris are one of the worst in the league in terms of their pace both offensively and defensively but that should not come as a surprise if the added fact that as mentioned above they struggle not being able to take care of the ball.
Milano – Dead last in the league this season
In all fairness, its with a heavy heart that I am writing the following lines. I admire Coach Messina a lot and what he is building up in Milano is nothing less than impressive but the star studded roster including the likes of Pangos, Melli, Hines, Thomas, Mitrou-Long, Luwawu-Cabarrot and Barron to just name some that simply have the pedigree to be able to do so much just seem to not be clicking. Dead last in terms of playing with pace based on my above share of stats and insights. While they do not appear anywhere in terms of the worst teams to produce the team chemisty as well as adjustments coming in late have been an issue.
Here is a specific number of clips I compiled from the recently played Kaunas game to make the point on their under performance:
With recent news that Shabazz Napier would likely join the team this could potentially maybe boost Milano to get out of a slump offensively and produce more points with the number of possessions they play with.
Check this compilation I did no Napier here:
All three teams have through the first 20 rounds been underperforming with Anadolu Efes being able to come up with offensive solutions takes them to the top of this list but with Kaunas and their turnover issue they struggle playing offense.
Last but not least, Milano just cannot seem to get things going on offense but that comes in from the granted fact that their defensive effort does not seem to be translating into offense and if shots do not drop in the EuroLeague your strategy to win games is not going to work. The hope that Shabazz Napier possibly joining the team could give them the boost they need is waiting to be confirmed by the team.
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Thank you for the opportunity, hope to provide more of my insights an options with you all in the up and coming times.