08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
11 David Holston (DIJO)
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Help-Side Column: The race for the MVP of the Season, second checkpoint

ZAGREB (Croatia) - With six games down, it seems like we have a much clearer picture when it comes to the strongest individuals in the Basketball Champions League. Meaning, we can see MVP potential.

Again, if you followed the first checkpoint of the MVP race, you know that this is in no way an official race. But it will give you an idea on who is in the mix to win the award, to be the next Jordan Theodore, Manny Harris or Tyrese Rice. Things that all three of our previous MVPs have in common - they took their teams to the Final Fours, they were winning games, their teams were winning games because of them and they had the numbers which made us say "oh, okay, he is CLEARLY the Most Valuable Player out there."

With that in mind, here are the five questions we need to answer. Four of them are the same as three weeks ago (and only those four matter, really), and the fifth one is there just so I can dunk it down when we arrive to number one.

  • (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 just celebrate your 26th birthday?

See? It's not like there's a written rule that somebody had to have their 26th birthday in November 2019 to win the 2020 MVP award. You get it.

First question is improved to .667 because 3-3 or 2-4 or 1-5 or Mornar just don't sound like they have an MVP in there. Sorry, Mornar, to single you out like that. But there is nobody else at 0-6 here. That (1) part rules out guys like Chris Wright, Tony Wroten, Latavious Williams, Shevon Thompson, James McAdoo, Shaq McKissic and the other Shaq, Zeljko Sakic. 

Then, (2) took out two strong candidates from the first checkpoint. In fact, Trevis Simpson and James Feldeine were 1 and 2 last time, but Simpson cooled down and went 7-of-21 from beyond the arc over the last three games, and Vechta were -8 with him on the floor in those three. Feldeine had his second cold game of the season, after 1-of-14 against Bandirma, Hapoel's shooting guard struggled again against EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez, fouling out in 21 minutes with 7 points and being -12 in that one.

The two of them are obviously still strong candidates for the award, but they already burned a pair of lifelines in this Who Wants To Be A Millionaire metaphor. Metaphor which stands, because the winner of the competition actually takes home one million, remember? 

Okay. Enough with the intro. Here's your Top 10:

#10 Zach Hankins (ERA Nymburk)

(1) Yes. 5-1. Impressive.
(2) Yes. Really.
(3) Yes. But also no, because Vojtech Hi-Tech Hruban just dropped 28 v Mornar without breaking a sweat. And Jaromir Bohacik has been impressive, too. So this is a "yes, but not because of you only."
(4) 10.3 points, 58.7 percent from the field, 7.3 rebounds, and league-leading 2.3 blocks in 21.8 minutes per game. Not bad. But the 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers and -21 against Tenerife don't really have "MVP" written over them.
(5) No. Turned 23 in July.

#9 Steve Vasturia (Rasta Vechta)

(1) Right there. 4-2, with a win away at AEK.
(2) Yes.
(3) Yes. Because it feels like everything is right when he runs the offense for coach Pedro Calles.
(4) 14.0 points, 46.5 percent from the field, 5.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals. Steve does it all.
(5) Nein. Will turn 25 in February.

#8 Marcelinho Huertas (Iberostar Tenerife)

(1) Yep. 6-0, game, first set Tenerife.
(2) Yes.
(3) Yes. Back-to-back assists for game-winning three-pointers over the past two weeks are all the proof you need.
(4) 11.5 points, 41.9 percent from the field, 7.5 assists (!), 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals per game. Also, the first ever 20/10 game in points and assists off the bench in the history of the Basketball Champions League.
(5) (Let's be polite and not talk about age here.)

#7 Howard Sant-Roos (AEK)

(1) Right there. 4-2.
(2) Yes.
(3) Yes. Because not only is he responsible for the numbers you are about to see in segment (4), he's also the main defensive weapon for coach Ilias Papatheodorou.
(4) 13.7 points, 54.5 percent from the field, 46.4 percent from three on five attempts per game, 6.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals.
(5) όχι. Will turn 29 in February.

#6 David Holston (JDA Dijon)

(1) Right there. 4-2.
(2) Oh yes.
(3) Did you not see what he did to PAOK three Gamedays ago? Three straight triples in the final 90 seconds to give Dijon the lead and the win? Brutal.
(4) 13.7 points, 48.2 percent from the field, 46.5 percent from three on SEVEN attempts per game, 7.3 assists (!), 2.0 rebounds - hey, he's 5ft 6in (1.67m) so that's like 12.0 rpg for a seven footer - 2.2 steals.
(5) (Let's be polite and not talk about age here.)

#5 Moustapha Fall (Turk Telekom)

(1) Evet. 5-1.
(2) Definitely. This photo alone is worth like two wins.
(3) Maybe. Because even with enormous productivity in numbers, especially on the defensive end, Turk Telekom will live or die depending on what Kyle Wiltjer, R.J. Hunter, Muhammed Baygul and others do on the offensive end.
(4) 10.7 points, 58.7 percent from the field, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists - I have no idea what's going on here, Fall at 7ft 2in (2.18m) is getting the assists and Holston is getting the rebounds - and 1.8 blocks per game, trailing only Hankins and Kingsley Moses in that column. Oh, and Turk Telekom are +69 in his time spent on the floor. That's +11.2 per game. That's a lot.
(5) No. Will turn 28 in February. Which is when we'll go broke if we have to buy presents for Fall, Sant-Roos, Vasturia...

#4 J'Covan Brown (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem)

(1) Right there. 4-2.
(2) Yes. Brings smarts off the bench.
(3) Yes. Brings smarts off the bench.
(4) 18.0 points, 46.3 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three on eight attempts per game (that's three threes every night), 3.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals. All of this as the Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford of the Basketball Champions League, coming off the bench in five of the six games so far.
(5) No. Will turn 30 in February OH COME ON ALREADY WITH FEBRUARY!

#3 Giorgi Shermadini (Iberostar Tenerife)

(1) Very yes. 6-0.
(2) Yes. Seems like every time Tenerife need to get going, Txus Vidorreta draws up a play for the big guy.
(3) Yes. Read (2) again.
(4) 15.0 points on 56.9 percent from the field, 6.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, but he gets the best-player-on-best-team clause here. Usage rate of 29.1 percent also means that almost every third Tenerife possession ends with Shermadini getting a shot up, getting fouled or turning the ball over.
(5) No. Will turn 31 in April.

#2 Keith Langford (AEK)

(1) Right there. 4-2.
(2) Duh.
(3) He is the definition of "this team made it to the Final Four because of him."
(4) Ready? You aren't. 22.2 points. 53.4 percent from the field. 54.3 percent from three. On six attempts per game. 3.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and for someone with usage rate at 30.3 percent, 1.8 turnovers really aren't a big deal.
(5) (Let's be polite and not talk about age here.)

#1 Dyshawn Pierre (Dinamo Sassari)

(1) Si. 5-1.
(2) Yep. Clutch free throws to win the game v Lietkabelis, two Team of the Week nominations.
(3) Yes. Because 20/10 double-doubles usually get teams to Final Fours.
(4) 15.2 points, 52.3 percent from the field, 42.3 percent from three on more than four attempts per game, 92.3 percent from the charity stripe, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists. Also, if you take out one cold night against Torun, you'd have averages of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Also, Sassari are +63 with him on the floor this season.
(5) YES!!! Happy birthday, DP. Enjoy this one, as you are now the new leader in the race for the MVP of the season. Which is understandable, because being the best and most consistent player on a 5-1 team should be up here, for sure.

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.