With the new Euroleague season nearing, BallinEurope is once more break down each of the teams individually on 16 consecutive days in the run up to tip off. As with last season, we’re going in reverse order from the opening round of games. We conclude our look at all 16 teams with the first team listed on Thursday’s fixture list, Anadolu Efes
The back to back defensive player of the year awards for Bryant Dunston look far better in hindsight as early versions of lifetime achievement awards. In neither year did he really look like the alpha defender in Euroleague. Pretty much since then he’s been a glorious force to watch on the interior at both ends, adding oodles of brains to his already established physcial talents.
That veteran brain is going to be awfully important for Dunston this year. There have been plenty of changes at Efes with some big names skipping town. The upside is that Dunston has shown he is an elite grade starter at his position in Europe so, as long as he stays healthy, the Istanbul club will always know they have a man that can cause huge problems for everybody else in Euroleague.
His shooting, which is hardly bad, is almost certainly going to need to go back up a touch this season as the more rounded game he has developed at Efes has seen him become a less offensively heavy option. The flipside is that he is like the Incredible Hulk with Bruce Banner’s brain on the glass and that should be a big asset going forward. This is his team now, and it’s been a long time coming.
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Coach: Velimir Perasovic
Arena: Sinan Erdem Dome, 16,000
Last season in Euroleague: 17-13, lost playoffs
Last season in BSL: 23-7, lost semi-finals
Who’s new? Josh Adams (Avtodor), Birkan Batuk (Darussafaka), Ricky Ledo (Baskonia), Justin Doellman (Barcelona), Errick McCollum (Galatasaray), Brock Motum (Zalgiris), Edo Muric (Banvit), Krunoslav Simon (Olimpia Milano), Vladimir Stimac (Besiktas)
Who’s gone? Thomas Heurtel (Barcelona), Jayson Granger (Baskonia), Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers), Samit Geyik (Besiktas), Can Muraf (Besiktas), Ogulcan Baycan (Buyukcekmece), Tyler Honeycutt (Khimki), Brandon Paul (San Antonio Spurs), Deshaun Thomas (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Alex Kirk (Toyota Alvark)
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When I made the rankings there was no injury to Derrick Brown. The situation may have changed but not enough to have me giving up on these guys yet. The big upside here is that Perasovic is now in his second year as coach and that should see some significant improvements in terms of the overall refinement of the game these guys deliver. The obvious flipside is that a whole bunch of good guys have left the club.
Those who have come in, like Edo Muric, Vlad Stimac, and Kruno Simon, are mentally in the right place for a Perasovic to drain every bit of basketball they’ve got in their bodies onto the floor. Doellman is a huge question mark, after being let go by Barca and hanging around a good while before getting a gig. Still, while I expect a step back from last year, the rumours of Efes’ death have been greatly exaggerated.
Fearless prediction: 8th. They make the post-season, just.
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