The 2018-19 Euroleague season will begin in just under two months. As part of our season preview, we kick off with our ranking of the top 50 players in the league this year. You can find nos. 50-41 here.
Euroleague is the second best league in the world outside of the NBA. The league brings together 16 of the best clubs across Europe, and essentially functions like the NBA – a 30-game regular season where teams play a home and away round-robin, with the eight best teams making a best-of-five playoff, and then a single-elimination Final Four. The league features teams stretching from the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa, to Moscow and Tel Aviv. Last year’s competition was dominated by Luka Doncic, both in terms of coverage and, arguably, on-court play, as Doncic won MVP and helped Real Madrid win the title over Fenerbahce.
Doncic, of course, is gone, off to the NBA. As are a few other players – Bradley Wanamaker is a Boston Celtic, and James Nunnally joined the Minnesota Timberwolves. The league also lost a legend, as former Memphis Grizzly and Barcelona stalwart Juan Carlos Navarro hung it up over the offseason. But, that’s one of the charming aspects of Euroleague, and a reason to watch. Players come and players go, and a new crop of players will assuredly come to fill the gaps in one of sports’ most volatile free agency structures. The league blends a solid mix of European talent, old and new, with former NBA players, fringe players desperate to make it stateside to the NBA, and Americans who have found life in Europe to be a wonderful place to make a career.
This year should be a fun one in Euroleague, as the annual talent drain to the NBA wasn’t as vicious in quantity as it has been in year’s past. This year, there are countless teams and players who are NBA caliber, and the league’s fun styles and indiosyncracies blend well with the talent base to create a must-watch basketball product. Many Americans who watch Euroleague get into the league for the players – the next big thing NBA rookie, the forgotten player from your favorite college team, the guy with the long last name that you remember torching someone in an Olympics a few years ago. All of those players are here. To help prep for the coming Euroleague season, we’ll be profiling the top 50 players in Euroleague over this week, giving background on who they are, where they come from, and why they’re important for the coming Euroleague season. We continue with number 40, one half of Euroleague’s deadliest pick-and-roll combo.