08 October, 2019
03 May, 2020
10 Sasu Salin (TENRF), 13 Martin Peterka (NYMB), 19 Giorgi Shermadini (TENRF), 4 Petr Benda (NYMB)
02/01/2020
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Help-Side Column: The race for the MVP of the Season, third checkpoint

ZAGREB (Croatia) - Season break is almost over. Before we get you to the rest of the Regular Season games, we need to check up on our MVPs in the MVP Race, for the third time during this awesome semester.

Now, if you've followed our First Checkpoint, or at least the Second Checkpoint, or anything that ever had words "Help," and "Side," and "Column" together, you probably know that this is nowhere near an official race. We don't do official races. We're not F1*, MotoGP**, WRC*** or the Snow Queen Trophy****, we're just here to watch some basketball, then asses stuff like who's better.

*people in onesies in one-seater cars
**people in onesies on two wheels
***people in onesies in cars on abandoned roads
****people in onesies going down a ski slope in Croatia. Onesies are the thing to wear if you're into races apparently.

So, basically, this is just an opinion of one completely awesome dude writer, and our way of helping you through the entire season, to let you know who's hot right now and who's in the mix to be the next MVP of the Season. And judging by the guys who won that award in our previous three seasons, you need to get a "YES" on at least four of the following five criteria:  

  • (1) Is your team above .667 so far?
  • (2) Is your team above .667 because of you?
  • (3) If your team makes it to the Final Four will it be because of you?
  • (4) Do you have the numbers to justify the MVP nomination here?
  • (5) Did you score 89 points in one game, and 76 in another when you were 15, then averaged 35.1 in a pro-league at 18?

Obviously, the fifth one is completely made up and I'm just using it so I can make you wonder who's the number one guy while you're scrolling through, all the way to the bottom. You're not going to be the MVP of the Season just because you scored 89 and 76 as a 15-year-old.

(Unless you are doing it in the Basketball Champions League.)

But even though the fifth one is made up, the actual ranking stands. The guy leading the race absolutely deserves to be in the MVP conversation, as do all the other guys here. Intro should've been over like five paragraphs ago so yeah, time to start the countdown.

#10 Brandon Brown (Nizhny Novgorod)

(1) Smack on the line, 6-3.
(2) Oh yes.
(3) Oh yes. Coach Zoran Lukic always finds ball dominant guards who are also dominant when it comes to reading the defensive coverage of their opponents. Brown has been amazing in making the right calls, all the time.
(4) 14.7 points, 5.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 2.0 steals per game. Let's not talk about the two games in which he scored 2 points, against Tenerife and Bamberg.
(5) Don't know about the 89 and 76 at 15, but he only got a taste of pro-basketball when he was 24, so this is a no.


#9 Zach Hankins (ERA Nymburk)

(1) Yep, 7-2, warned you about Nymburk, multiple times.
(2) Yes. Because he did score that game-winner at the buzzer earlier this season, and he leads the league in blocks per game. Meaning Nymburk would probably be like a four-or-five win team without him. 
(3) Jury still out, especially after Nymburk brought back Mike Dixon to pull off his 30-point magic like he did four years ago in Czech Republic. Meaning Nymburk would probably reach the F4 if Dixon goes mad, not Hankins.
(4) 10.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks per game. Not bad. But more of a Defensive Player of the Year kind of stuff than MVP numbers.
(5) He scored 98 points in 9 games this season, so it's highly unlikely, to be honest. You don't think "OH YEAH BUCKETS" when somebody says Zach Hankins. You're thinking "OH NO BLOCKS" or "OH YEAH DUNKS."


#8 David Holston (JDA Dijon)

(1) Right there, 6-3.
(2) Most definitely.
(3) Most definitely times two.
(4) 13.1 points, 44.4 percent from three on seven attempts, 7.6 assists, 1.8 steals per game. Also, JDA Dijon are +63 in 224 minutes with him on the floor this season, so he must be doing something right.
(5) Actually, for someone who scored 2000 points for Avondale High School in Auburn Hills, you'd guess he could've had 89-point games as a 15-year-old. But, when he was 18, he wasn't playing pro-ball. In fact - and this probably sounds crazy from today's perspective - at 18, David Holston did not receive a single college basketball scholarship. Yes, the guy who has unlimited range, who's in MVP talks here, who was the MVP of the French League last May. Crazy.


#7 TaShawn Thomas (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem)

(1) Right there, 6-3.
(2) Yep.
(3) This is another troubling question with Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem guys. Because all of them are so much so offensively gifted that you could see TaShawn Thomas The Tank Engine, J'Covan Brown, Suleiman Braimoh or James Feldeine with the MVP of the Season award. You really could. But even though this is an unofficial race, I still can't have four Jerusalem guys in a list that has only 10 entries.
(4) 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 19.6 efficiency per game. Oh, and he's dunking shooting 67.1 percent from the field.
(5) TaShawn was killing the stats at Killeen High School in Texas at 15. But at 18, he did not play pro-ball, he was a part of the Houston Cougars team.

 
#6 Marcelinho Huertas (Iberostar Tenerife)

(1) Si. 8-1, the best team in the BCL.
(2) Si. Two game-winning assists suggest that they would've been at 6-3 without him, and the only time that they lost, he wasn't playing. So they are actually 8-0 when he plays.
(3) Tricky. But yes.
(4) 10.9 points, 8.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and if you thought that Holston's +63 was impressive, get a load of Marcelinho's +84 in 193 minutes played this season.
(5) I can see Huertas having 89 assists, but hard to imagine him scoring that much.


#5 Moustapha Fall (Turk Telekom)

(1) Yep. 6-3.
(2) Yep.
(3) Nope. We all know how much Fall influences the game, but if you had one on the line and had to draw up a game-winning play, it feels like you'd go to R.J. Hunter or Kyle Wiltjer... Hang on, that did happen. Just now, against Dinamo Sassari, but Wiltjer missed a wide open triple, and Fall wasn't on the floor for the last play.
(4) 11.6 points, 67.7 percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists - he's an underrated passer, for sure - 1.7 blocks per game. Turk Telekom are a +86 team in Fall's 243 minutes this season, average efficiency of 20.4 gives him a yes over here.
(5) I can see Fall having 89 blocks, but hard to imagine him scoring that much.

 
#4 Keith Langford (AEK)

(1) Yep. 7-2.
(2) Yep and double yep.
(3) Yep and triple yep.
(4) 20.2 points, 42.9 percent from deep on six attempts per game, 3.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals. He will turn 37 in 2020, so all of these numbers look unreal, honestly.
(5) Probably scored a thousand points per game in his Fort Worth high-school days, but averaged 7.9 points per game when he was 18, so it's a no. He was hitting game-winners for Kansas, but no, he's not the one we're searching for in our question number five.


#3 Dyshawn Pierre (Dinamo Sassari)

(1) Si. 7-2.
(2) Yes, because he won a pair of games in the clutch.
(3) Yes, because he's awesome.
(4) 14.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, three double-doubles, double digit scoring in eight of the nine games played this season, so yes, he's got the numbers.
(5) He did lead Anderson Raiders to back-to-back OFSAA championships in 2011 and 2012, but he's only in his fourth pro-season right now. And he's 26. So he did not average 35 a game in a pro-league at 18. He did score from his knees at 19, which is also cool.


#2 Howard Sant-Roos (AEK)

(1) Yes. 7-2.
(2) Yes. He is the one who usually stops the hottest guys on the other side of the floor. AEK would've been at 4-5 or 5-4 without him, probably. (Scary thought considering all the noise about his future with the club.)
(3) If he stays, yes.
(4) 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.0 steals. Still the most likely candidate to file a triple-double this season.
(5) Nope. Started his pro career when he was 20, in third German division. But he did get the Dunk der Woche once, which is also cool.


#1 Giorgi Shermadini (Iberostar Tenerife)

(1) Yes! 8-1, the best in the league!
(2) Yes! Because he's the go-to guy whenever Tenerife are in search of a bucket or two, you'll see Txus Vidorreta calling for that play where there's a ball screen at the top for Marcelinho, while the real action is under the basket, where Shermadini gets a cross-screen and ends up in a perfect position to score.
(3) Yes! Because at 7ft 1in (2.16m) and his resourcefulness around the rim, Giorgi can score in bunches and win games for Tenerife all by himself. 
(4) Yes! He's averaging 16.7 points on 63 percent shooting, while grabbing 6.2 rebounds and dishing out 2.0 assists per game, giving him an efficiency of 19.7 at the end of each game. Plus, he only plays 23.5 minutes per game, so all of these numbers are actually stunning.
(5) YES!!! Giorgi Shermadini made news all over the basketball world when he showed up as a 15-year-old and started putting up absurd numbers in Georgia. There's even video evidence of his 76-point, 16-rebound game, right here, posted 13 years ago on YouTube. And the 2006-07 season saw him explode for 35.1 points and 16.4 rebounds per game for Maccabi Tbilisi, dominating the Georgian Super League while he was still just an 18-year-old. Now, he did travel a lot in his career, changing his address 13 times, but the way he's playing for Iberostar Tenerife this season - man, you can see him staying there for a long time. And winning some trophies along the way, right? Right.

So there you go. Giorgi Shermadini leads the MVP Race after nine Gamedays. Congrats, big guy! 

 

The Basketball Champions League's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA or the Basketball Champions League.

The Basketball Champions League's takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is Basketball Champions League's writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Live Blog coverage of the games and sorting out the teams on Mondays, in the Power Rankings. When he's not watching basketball, he's commentating Croatian Second Division soccer games for TV.