With four rounds to go until the end of the regular season, Fenerbahce is considered the favourite to return to the top of Europe for the second time in three years.
The 2017 EuroLeague champions have been the best and most consistent team in the competition so far. They became the fastest club to qualify for the playoffs in the history of the league, while they are close to earning the top spot on the table.
They have also secured the home-court advantage and are in a position of strength to reach the Final Four for a fifth straight season.
Fenerbahce head coach Zeljko Obradovic has once again created a very deep and talented roster, which consists of some of the best EuroLeague players.
Kostas Sloukas and Jan Vesely have been the backbones of the team and their presence is paramount for the squad’s success. Concurrently, Nicolo Melli and Luigi Datome play at very high standards in every game, while Bobby Dixon is a game changer coming off the bench.
For his part, Nikola Kalinic is a defensive specialist, while Marko Guduric and Joffrey Lauvergne offer decent solutions on both ends of the floor. Even Erick Green has found his place in coach Obradovic’s tactics, even though he is not considered the most consistent player.
Against Barcelona on Friday (15/03), Fenerbahce showed why they are the number one favourite to lift the trophy. Despite trailing until the middle of the fourth quarter (37-50, 66-76), the Turks closed the game on a 22-6 run to seal the deal (88-82).
Barcelona made a decent performance for almost 35 minutes, but Fenerbahce stepped up and turned things around, claiming a crucial victory at home.
Once again, coach Obradovic saw Sloukas lead the way (22 points, 11 assists), but the stellar performance of Dixon (19 points) and some crucial shots by Melli and Datome were also vital in the team’s effort to remain competitive.
The Turkish team used a rather peculiar way to defeat the Catalans, as they tried 38 three-pointers along with an all-time low 19 two-pointers.
These 38 three-pointers were the most attempted by a team coached by Obradovic in the competition this century.
In addition, Fenerbahce can be equally productive defensively, too. The squad has the best defence in the entire league, conceding 74.4 points per game.
At the same time, the Turks have the highest two-point and three-point percentage among the 16 teams, with 58.89% and 44.52%, respectively. As a result, they are also on top in True Shooting, with 55.09%.
Furthermore, Fenerbahce has the fourth best offence, averaging 84.77 points per game, while the team is third in index rating (99.27) and assist-turnover ratio (159.61) and fourth in assists (19.85) and free-throw percentage (80%).
The aforementioned numbers show why the 2017 EuroLeague champions have dominated their opponents so far and are one step away from clinching the top spot in the standings.
Even though CSKA Moscow was initially considered the number one favourite by most betting websites in the UK, Fenerbahce has surpassed the Russians and now are the odds-on favourite to play in another Championship Game.
With that in mind, the question is whether there is any opponent (CSKA, Real Madrid, Anadolu Efes, for instance) that can stop coach Obradovic and his players from winning the second EuroLeague title in three years.