The acquisition of former Unics Kazan center, Artsiom Parakhouski, shows the Israeli powerhouse does its best to return to the top of Europe for the first time in four years.
In 2014, Maccabi defied the odds and beat both CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid to win their sixth European title.
Since then, though, things have been difficult for the legendary club. Not only have they failed to qualify to the Final Four, but they were also unable to reach the quarter-finals, too.
However, and during this off-season, the administration has signed talented and versatile players that can make the difference on both ends of the floor.
More specifically, with many players leaving the club at the end of last season, new head coach, Neven Spahija, had to make many changes to the active roster.
Consequently, guards Pierre Jackson, Michael Roll and John DiBartolomeo joined the Israelis in order to strengthen their back-court line, with the latter coming off a tremendous season, being named the 2016/17 MVP in the Israeli League.
Moreover, Maccabi’s executives made a great decision and acquired two-time NBA Champion Norris Cole, however I think that only if he is highly motivated, he will be able to be a game changer.
Concerning the squad’s front-line, former Anadolu Efes’ power forward and excellent three-point shooter, DeShaun Thomas, joined the club, while the Israeli powerhouse signed two excellent centers in order to become dominant inside the paint.
2014 Euroleague champion, Alex Tyus, and Parakhouski will form an impressive duo inside the paint, as their different playing style will offer coach Spahija the opportunity to take advantage of Tyus’ pick’n’roll’ ability as well as Parakhouski’s great post-up game.
The Croatian coach seems to have created a roster that can be equally effective both in transition and 5-on-5 situations, as the squad is consisted of talented players that can be productive in different playing styles.
More specifically, Roll, DiBartolomeo, Jackson and Cole can run the floor very well as well as set many pick’n’rolls and score crucial three-pointers.
In addition, Maccabi’s front-line can be excellent both inside the paint and above the rim, therefore coach Spahija now needs to work on helping his players adapt to his ideas and tactics.
Based on the roster, I think the only drawback is that only Tyus is great defensively (especially as a rim protector), with almost all the other players being mediocre on the other end of the floor.
Norris Cole can be the exception to this rule, as he is capable of playing excellent defence, yet there is a big difference between the European and American defensive tactics.
I guess, though, that coach Spahija will do his best to cover his players’ defensive weaknesses and it’s likely he will use many defensive plays in order to enhance the squad’s defensive performance (e.g full-court press, switch defence, hedge out etc).
Last but not least, although Maccabi’s roster consists of great players, I believe the Israelis should acquire one more player, namely 2014 Euroleague champion Tyrese Rice, who perfectly fits in the club’s playing style and can create an unstoppable duo with Tyus.
Although the American point guard has not left Barcelona yet, the Israeli team should do its best to sign him in order to further enhance the squad’s quality and become one of the favourites to go all the way to the end.
To sum up, after a three-year downfall, Maccabi Tel-Aviv looks ready to make the come-back and fight for another Euroleague title.