Talkbasket Euroleague Profile: Maccabi Tel Aviv

Talkbasket continues is looks into all 24 teams in this season’s Euroleague, here is a look of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in Group B.

Introduction: Already crowned six times winners, Maccabi Electra is one of powerhouses in the Euroleague. After being knocked out last year in an incredible thriller against Panathinaikos, the Israeli club had a revolution in their roster. All Eurocup forward Nik Caner-Medley, rookie Sylven Landesberg, Ricky Hickman (Italy), Israeli Moran Roth, David Logan from Panathinaikos and Giorgi Shermandini that played with Cantú last season are the new players. Pops Mensah-Bonsu was also acquired but he with a significant injury he was cut at least for the beginning of the season.

Demon Mallet, Theo Papaloukas, Keith Langford, Jon Scheyer, Richard Hendrix and Sofoklis Schortsianitis left the team. With team captain Tal Burstein and long-time Maccabi player David Blu, both now retired from professional basketball.

This year’s team has a lot of skilled players but can they all coexist in a scheme where the coach wants to play a good, tough and very solid defence for the entire game? That’s the real question, because it’s clear that they are talented on offense.

Coach: David Blatt, the American coach continues to be the key to this entire organization and all of their successes in the last years, nationally and internationally. After a summer where Russia made a good run at the Olympics playing good basketball, mainly in defence Blatt returns to the club with a group of talented guys that need to put a lot of work if they want to be in this year Final Four.

Key Player: Nik Cader-Medley for whom had a great season playing in Liga Endesa and Eurocup received All Eurocup award finishing the season with 13.4 ppg and 6.4 rpb with Power Electronics Valencia. Playing in his first Euroleague the American player is going to be a great part of Blatt’s offense stretching the floor and creating mismatches at the 4 position against bigger but slower players.

Breakout Player: Sylvan Landesberg who played with Maccabi Haifa where he averaged 20.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 2.7 apg have a bright future ahead of him in Tel Aviv, at just 22 years old.

Landsberg as skill, a strong body, a decent shoot but he’s essentially a player who scores most of his points driving to the basket or getting fouled where he’s a decent free throw shooter. With his big frame, he can/should be a great player to play intensive defence on both exterior and interior players.

Biggest Euroleague Moment: Has to be the elimination Game against Zalgiris in 2004. With Maccabi down 94-91 with two seconds left in the fourth quarter, and a spot in the 2004 Final Four on the line. A timeout done, Gur Shelef throws a 60 feet pass to Derek Sharp who scores an amazing buzzer beater to tie the game and get in an overtime period.

In the overtime Maccabi continues the momentum and wins the battle grabbing a place in the Final Four and winning their first of back to back titles.