TalkBasket.net emphasises on the five things that stood out in the opening round of the EuroLeague.
The return of ASVEL Villeurbanne and ALBA Berlin
ALBA Berlin and ASVEL Villeurbanne made an impactful start as they returned to the EuroLeague after many years.
ALBA won against Zenit Saint Petersburg (85-65), playing incredibly well throughout the game. The Germans made a 10-0 run in the first quarter (12-15 to 22-15) and never looked back again.
The starters scored 52 of the home side’s 85 points. Also, ALBA had 23 assists in total and the starting five were responsible for 17 of them (Hermannsson had 9).
On the other hand, ASVEL played in a regular season game for the first time in ten years and crushed Olympiacos (82-63).
The French team allowed only 9 points in the second quarter and celebrated a victorious return to the big “stage” of the European basketball by dominating every aspect of the game.
Tonye Jekiri (13 points, 10 rebounds) made some thunderous dunks and had an incredible impact in the paint against Olympiacos’ “bigs”.
THE MEF (most efficient player) of the week
We watched some great performances from many players this week. Let’s refer to some of them.
Mike James was unstoppable against Valencia with CSKA Moscow’s guard having +28 in PIR, while scoring 20 points on 6/6 in field goals and 1/1 from the three point line.
Also, he assisted his teammates 5 times and scored 5 points from the free-throw line, being the MVP of Euroleague’s first week.
Moreover, Vladimir Lucic led Bayern to the victory against Milan having a suburb statline.
Namely, the Serbian scored 18 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and made two steals shooting 6/7 on field goals and getting fouled 7 times throughout the game for a +26 in player impact rating.
Other great performances from the opening round’s action were that of Facundo Campazzo, Jeffery Taylor and Derrick Williams, among others.
The downfall of Olympiacos continues
Olympiacos became the first team ever that will compete only in the EuroLeague. This decision will have both advantages and disadvantages for the “Reds”.
With the team not playing in the domestic competitions, no one had a clear idea on what to expect from coach Blatt and his players.
The opening round of the competition saw the “Reds” make one of the worst performances in the last seven or eight years and suffer a heavy defeat to Villeurbanne (82-63).
The Greek giants played very badly on both ends and the French team easily exposed all their flaws on the floor.
Olympiacos now is at a crossroads: They will either make many changes to their roster or they may end up with the worst record in the history of the EuroLeague.
Luis Scola, Ettore Messina and Nikola Mirotic are back to the EuroLeague
Luis Scola and Ettore Messina are back to the EuroLeague after many years, yet Bayern Munich spoilt their return and defeated Armani Milano (78-64).
The Argentinian legend made a great debut, with 17 points, even though he joined the squad a few days ago. Scola showed he will have a crucial role in coach Messina’s tactics.
The Italian coach took over Armani during the offseason, with only one target on his mind, namely to lead the team to the Final Four.
Despite creating a talented and deep roster, Messina knows the Italians will need an adjustment period to reach their full potential.
Nikola Mirotic had his first piece of Euroleague action in many years and he didn’t disappoint the fans of Barcelona.
The Montenegrian had an impactful and efficient debut in the competition scoring 24 points on a 9/18 shooting performance on an away win (64-74 against Efes).
Most importantly, Mirotic led his team to a victorious start against one of the favorites for a Top-4 seed and made a statement of the aspirations that Svetislav Pesic and his squad have regarding this season.
Nando De Colo and Derrick Williams impressive in their debut with Fenerbahce
Nando De Colo and Derrick Williams were tremendous in their first EuroLeague game with Fenerbahce, showing they will have a leading role in the squad this season.
The duo combined for 41 points (De Colo 22, Williams 19) and helped their team remain competitive until the end. However, Fenerbahce suffered its first loss in the competition (to Real Madrid, 81-77).
Both players proved from Day 1, though, that they are ready to take over and make the difference, helping the Turks reach another Final Four.
*Yiannis Bouranis and Alexandros Tsakos contributed to this article.