2019 Euroleague Final Four Preview by Ermay Duran

The EuroLeague regular season has come to an end, with many ups and downs as well as unexpected turn of events the playoffs have led to the Final Four teams. This article is a preview to the final games that will be played out of the EuroLeague that will end up in one team being crowned the best team of the EuroLeague.

(I would like to note that all numbers and figures are based on findings through the official euroleague.net as well as my friends at http://overbasket.com)

Real Madrid

The team that has played the least playoff games out of the remaining four teams in the 2019 F4 had a few bumps in the road across the season. Having played a total of 1320 minutes to get to this point Real Madrid led by coach Laso has racked up a +37% three point shooting average and a +56% two point average in a total of 33 games played.

When we look at the playoff stats of the team we see a very diverse number of player that have definitely contributed to the success. Its my strong opinion that if Real Madrid want to create an edge over CSKA Moscow whom they will face in the semi final stage on Friday. While expectations are that production from Rudy Fenandez as well as Jeffery Taylor are high. As long as Jaycee Carroll is in the game his contribution on both the offensive and defensive end will make or break the Spanish side from making an appearance in the Final’s game.

Real Madrid are deadly running a very tight rotation of players when it comes to critical games but lets be honest they are not as stong as they were few years ago but given that they are led by Coach Laso and the entire team is mentally ready to make a push towards the 2019 F4 makes them dangerous bt any standard.

While out of all the F4 teams Real Madrid have played the least playoff games this season. I do not see this as hindering them yet given the strategic circumstances I am sure that Coach Laso would have loved to be more prepared heading into the F4 with certain scenarios much more well established.

As Rudy T. said in the past “never underestimate the heart of a champion”. As the reigning champions they will definitely do their utmost best to fend off CSKA Moscow by any means.

CSKA Moscow

The so called gold standard when it comes to F4 appearances has been set by CSKA Moscow and Coach Itoudis over the past few years. Kyle Hines and the entire Moscow always thrive during this time of the season. Sergio Rodriguez and more recently Nando De Colo have been phenominal the entire EL season.

So far throughout the playoffs Moscow have been one of the two teams that have played 4 games and here are the accumulated stats of the team:

Unlike in the past, this year the question with CSKA Moscow is the bench production on both ends of the court, both offensively and defensively Coach Itoudis will look at added production and if they manage to pull a proverbial rabbit out of the hat with least turnovers and added assists against Real Madrid in the semi-final round they could see themselves returning to the EL finals yet again.

My initial prediction after having run round 15,000 simulations for the Real Madrid – CSKA Moscow game has resulted in a Win Probability in favor of CSKA Moscow of %66.

Anadolu Efes

To me while Anadolu Efes really played out a cinderella season, the team cohesiveness as well as mentality going in to the F4 seems to be intact and Coach Ataman after many years has managed to merge a team that consists of well rounded defenders lead by B.Dunston and D.Balbay as well as the scoring capacity of Micic and Larkin.

Its interesting that Anadolu Efes has been the team that has had to endure the most playoff games this season in the EL. Just like Real Madrid (playing the least playoff games), having played the most playoff games the question of if they will be hindered by this at all will remain to be seen.

Unlike in past EL season where Anadolu Efes have had up and down regular season endings this year could be a true testiament to how a well managed team ends up making it all the way to the finals.

Fenerbahçe Beko

The former champions after having been eliminated at the finals last season are looking at making another major push to the finals yet again. With so many players injured and relying on the bench depth it looks like it will be a hard run for them to make it to the finals game and while they face off against Anadolu Efes, the semi-finals game which could be considered a Turkish finals of sorts will make for a great storyline no doubt.

A lot is riding on how Sloukas, Guduric, Green as well as Muhammed really end up playing. While Sinan Guler has been out of a major part of the action throughout the season his productivity if he can pull it off will be very much needed. The team captain Mahmutoglu has been doing his thing hitting three pointers yet as a team out of all the other competitors Fenerbahçe seems like the least lucky due to their roster situation to make it to the finals.

Coach Obradovic will have his work cut out for himself with so many critical bits missing.

In terms of predictions after having run round similar number of simulations for the Anadolu Efes– Fenerbahçe game has resulted in a Win Probability in favor of Anadolu Efes with not much by %51.

Conclusion

Lets face it as always the EuroLeague Final Four 2019 will be a stage setting amazing feats. I will likely be scolded for pointing this out among my peers but overall the mid range game is starting to die out even in the EuroLeague and more and more team strategies are becoming more of the close to basket or behind the arch plays.

There are a few added key factors that I can say will make a difference for all four teams:

  • The teams that manage to contain their turnovers to below 10 will likely end up with a 4% higher chance to make it to the finals and 1.4% chance to win the EL championship.
  • Teams that manage to create +19 points from assisted 2pt shots will have a 5% higher chance to make it to the finals and a 2.2% chance to win the EL championship.
  • Teams that manage to stick to a 7-8 man rotation throughout the semi-finals games have a +3% better chance to stay more fresh in the finals game.
  • Among all the F4 teams the ones that manage to deflect the ball on the righthand side (+2 extra possessions) vs. the lefthand side (+4 extra possessions) will be able to create added opportunities to score across the entire F4 weekend. This might seem a bit tangling up in terms of explanation however on average the EL is played out with 68 or 69 possession on offense. Therefore added 2 to 4 possessions become critical on either side of the court.

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