08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
Trevis Simpson (VECH)
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Help-Side Column: The race for the MVP of the Season, first checkpoint

ZAGREB (Croatia) - With three games down, we are starting to see some patterns here in the Basketball Champions League. Which means we can see who are the players in the front row. Which means we can start the MVP discussions. Which means we have to establish some ground rules. So let's get to it, okay? Okay. 

Now, any time we, the members of the Basketball Champions League editorial group, start any kind of discussion about the Most Valuable Players, we always get into fights about what does it really mean. Like, is the MVP the best player out there? Or, is he the best player on the best team? Or, is he the most valuable player literally, with the highest value in terms of stats and efficiency? Or, is he the player who turns an 8-6 team into a 10-4 or 12-2 contender? 

The fact that you are inside of a column means that I get to argue all of those with and by myself. That's why columns are great. And that's why columns are not great, too. 

Anyway. Since Basketball (And Other Things) is the best book about basketball (and other things), this piece is done in a similar fashion. Hopefully. Here are some questions that will help us with this first checkpoint of the MVP race: 

  • (1) Is your team above .500 so far? 
  • (2) Is your team above .500 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) Is your last name out of a cartoon, your school named after a beverage, your team named after a Bob Marley song? 

The first question is probably the most important one. This is where we say "sorry, pal" to the likes of Chris Wright (Torun), James McAdoo (Besiktas), Shevon Thompson (Oostende), Latavious Williams (Holon), Tony Wroten (Anwil) and don't tell anyone but he's my favorite player to watch after CJ McCollum Adrian Banks (Brindisi). Sorry. But we're still pals. 

#10 Nemanja Radovic (Casademont Zaragoza)

(1) Yes. 2-1. 
(2) Probably not, because they still have guys like Carlos Alocen, D.J. Seeley, Javier Justiz, Robin Benzing, Tryggvi Hlinason, Nico Brussino...
(3) If he gets the game-winning tip-ins like he did against Falco Szombathely this week, then yes. But Zaragoza are a team that plays with their egos left outside of the arena, and team-first mentalities are fine, really. Just not for individual award discussions. 
(4) 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. But 0 assists in three games so far, so this is a no.
(5) Ne baš. (Not really.)

#9 Bruno Fitipaldo (San Pablo Burgos)

(1) Yes. 2-1.
(2) Probably. But not definitely. 
(3) Yes and no. Because Fitipaldo is here to get the other guys involved. Which means yes. But also means no, because he's not there to score 20+ and win games by himself in a OH-MY-GOD-10K-PEOPLE-ARE-SHOUTING-MVP!-MVP! manner. 
(4) 12.3 points, 85.7 percent from the field (WHAT!?), 7.7 assists, oh and also 7-of-7 from three point range this season. If Bruno keeps these numbers up, he'll be in contention for NBA MVP...
(5) Nope.

#8 Jaromir Bohacik (ERA Nymburk)

(1) That's a massive yes, not only because of a 3-0 record, but also because Nymburk won 36 straight games since February.
(2) Yes.
(3) Probably not, because Ivan Almeida, Zach Hankins, Vojtech Hruban or Deishuan Booker can go off for 20+ anytime and win games even if Jaromir stays scoreless. (Which never happens, btw.)
(4) 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists...but just 4-of-14 from deep over the first three, and with 3.3 turnovers per game, so yeah, this is a no.
(5) Ne.

#7 Moustapha Fall (Turk Telekom)

(1) Yes. 3-0.
(2) Yes.
(3) Not really. Because R.J. Hunter is also on that team and he could've been up here at #7, too.
(4) 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. Plus somewhere around a thousand altered shots and deflections per game. Because that's what you do when you are 7ft 2in (2.18m) tall.
(5) No.

#6 David Holston (JDA Dijon)

(1) Yes. 3-0.
(2) Oh yes.
(3) Most definitely. David Holston is one of the most electric players on the court, with unlimited range, a series of crossovers and a wonderful feeling for drop off passes for his big guys.
(4) 14.0 points, 8.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals per game, all done in just 22.5 minutes every week. Efficient guy, this David Holston is.
(5) No. But he is from Pontiac, which explains his quickness I guess.

#5 Giorgi Shermadini (Iberostar Tenerife)

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🔥 @GioShermadini9 went for 24PTS & 9REB to fuel @CBCanarias to their first W of the season! #BasketballCL

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(1) Yes. 3-0.
(2) Yes.
(3) Nope. Txus Vidorreta just has a proven winning system that always works out for big guys, like Mike Tobey, Tim Abromaitis, Georgios Bogris, Fran Vazquez, Colton Iverson...
(4) 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks per game. Shooting 60 percent from the field also helps, so Shermadini could be in contention because of the "best player on the best team" clause early in May.
(5) Nope. Although, I'd gladly watch a cartoon named The Shermadinis.

#4 Dyshawn Pierre (Dinamo Sassari)

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Order N°21, extra sauce! 👨‍🍳 MVP @DyshawnPierre was cooking during Gameday 1! #BasketballCL⁠

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(1) Si. 2-1.
(2) Very much so, because he won the game with a pair of late free throws against Lietkabelis.
(3) It would be because of Pierre. He's a matchup nightmare doing a bit of everything as you are about to see in (4) part of this paragraph.
(4) 17.3 points, 54.3 shooting from the field, including 46.7 percent from deep on five attempts per game, 11.0 rebounds, including 3.3 offensive rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 blocks per game. Dude does it all.
(5) Nope.

#3 Keith Langford (AEK)

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🌡️Keith Langford erupted for @AEKBC, knocking down 27PTS! #⁠BasketballCL⠀

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(1) Yes. 2-1.
(2) OH YES. Diccon Lloyd-Smeath already wrote about the gravitational power of a Langford right block post up
(3) Yep. Wouldn't be the first time that an AEK star player took them all the way, too. Manny Harris did it in 2018.
(4) So, over the first two games, Southpaw Spike averaged 27.0 points per game while shooting 9-of-11 from three-point range. The third game put a little bit of a dent into his stats, but at 23.3 points per game, 64.3 percent from three, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, Langford will be gunning for the lead when we reach the second checkpoint of MVP race in three weeks.
(5) Nope.

#2 James Feldeine (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem) 

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🎯 6/9 from downtown: we're living in @KiNGJF4's world! 🌍⁠⠀ #BasketballCL ⁠

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(1) Yes. 3-0.
(2) Yes, because the stats don't paint the actual worth of a Feldeine dagger or two when it matters most. Like in the closing stages of the best Regular Season game ever, against AEK.
(3) Yes. Even though Tamir Blatt is a pleasure to watch with the way he's conducting the orchestra, even though Suleiman Braimoh is probably the best summer signing, even though TaShawn Thomas is on a mission to destroy all rims everywhere. Still feels like Feldeine is the one you want to stop when you are facing Jerusalem.
(4) 15.3 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals per game. But let's ignore the first game of the season, when he went 1-of-14 for 3 points against Bandirma, and focus on the 19 and 25 he had against AEK and Rasta Vechta, respectively. And the 10-of-17 shooting from long range over those two.
(5) Nope.

#1 Trevis Simpson (Rasta Vechta)

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Have you ever seen a man fly?⁠⠀ #BasketballCL

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(1) Yep. 2-1. 
(2) Yep.
(3) This is a tough one. Because, honestly, it feels like if Rasta make it all the way to the Final Four, it will be because of the playcalling of Pedro Calles, the reigning Coach of the Year in Germany. But also yes, because...
(4) ...24.3 points, 17-of-34 from beyond the arc (THAT'S 5.7 MADE THREES PER GAME), 3.7 rebounds, ZERO turnovers in the first three games. MY LORD. 
(5) YES! Finally! The Simpsons are the cartoon, his high school's name is Coffee, his team's name is after Rastaman Vibration by Bob Marley. There you go! Trevis Simpson is the clear leader of the MVP race so far.

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 a Basketball Champions League writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Power Rankings and his Takeaways on Gamedays. When he's not covering basketball, he's probably watching a Hajduk Split game somewhere.