08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem v Hereda San pablo Burgos - a closer look
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Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem v Hereda San Pablo Burgos - a closer look

ATHENS (Greece) - They meet again. Hereda San Pablo Burgos and Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem met twice during the Regular Season and now they will battle it out again for a place in the Semi-Final. During the Regular Season, homecourt advantage held true as both teams played to the crowd and handled business at home. With both teams recruiting heavily there will be new personnel to scout but in terms of playing style, these two clubs and their coaching staff will already know each other very well.

Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem

Oded Kattash has retooled his squad considerably. Tarik Phillip comes in from Tofas Bursa. The GB international averaged 11.6 points and 4 assists for Tofas in the Eurocup and has all the tools to be the perfect Jerusalem guard in Kattash's system - he can shoot off the dribble, he makes composed decisions, and is great at finding cracks to hit the short roll. Chris Kramer and Nikos Pappas have also joined the backcourt to stack things out. Kramer is one of two players to ever record a triple-double in the BCL. He comes in after a season with Khimki and will contribute all over the box score. As for Nikos Pappas, there isn't much that greek fans will need to be told about his game. In fact, after eight seasons with Panathinaikos, it's likely Pappas that will be the one enlightening Jerusalem on how to win games in the OAKA. 

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Deividas Sirvydis was an eye-catching pickup from Lietuvos Rytas and Luka Mitrovic from Manresa has also joined the frontcourt. Sirvydis has already impressed people since arriving in Jerusalem and is a player with the skills and self-confidence to be a surprise factor in this game. Mitrovic - like Tarik Phillip - fits the bill perfectly for the profile that Jerusalem recruits in his position. The Serbian big man can finish around the rim but more importantly, has the passing skill and IQ to fit in perfectly in coach Kattash's system where the bigs are expected to be playmakers. 

Maybe the most important addition for Jerusalem was Malcolm Hill. With James Feldeine leaving they needed scoring and 3-point shooting. Lots of 3-point shooting. Hill has the talent to provide all of that and more. After recovering from injury, Hill had a huge season in Astana, putting up 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the VTB. BCL fans, especially those in Germany, will remember Hill as a player that can really score. 


Playing Style

Oded Kattash guided Jerusalem to the best offensive rating ever recorded in four seasons of the BCL. 120 points per 100 possessions is scary good. They also shot a league-best Effective Field Goal Percentage of 58.5%. The way they achieved those numbers starts with the way Kattash utilizes his bigs. In particular, the mobility and playmaking skills of TaShawn Thomas and Suleiman Braimoh. It starts in transition. The clip below is a great example of how quickly Jerusalem looks to put pressure on the defense. Watch how quickly Braimoh got out and ran straight to the rim, even on a made shot they were trying to play fastbreak basketball. 

The way Kattash and Jerusalem use their bigs in the halfcourt is even more unique. In a world where 3-point shooting means teams want to play with four or five perimeter focused players and traditional big men aren't always valued at the premium they used to be, Jerusalem finds their advantages by being different. Kattash uses two big men as his playmakers. The two possessions in the video below are from the home win against Burgos and should open a window into what we can expect to see.

In both possessions, Braimoh is already in the paint when TaShawn Thomas sets the ball screen. In terms of spacing, It should be counter-intuitive to have the paint occupied but watch what happens when Braimoh moves as Thomas starts to roll. Braimoh's defender moves with him, thus removing the most obvious help defender. Now the responsibility is on a perimeter defender to "tag" Thomas as he rolls. Jerusalem's bigs are experts at making the decision to score if the tag is late, or pass when it's too early.


Key Player

Even considering all of Jerusalem's new recruits, the main man is still TaShawn Thomas. The "Tank Engine" recorded one of, if not the, most efficient shooting seasons in BCL history. He shot over 72% for the season and did everything for this club. He blocked shots and defended pick-and-roll. He scored and created for others. We are talking about a big man who can do all that, and also create his own shot with a snatchback crossover. How much fun is that?


Hereda San Pablo Burgos

This is a team that is really starting to make waves in European basketball. After a very strong season in the BCL, journeying all the way from the Qualifying Rounds to the Final 8, they followed that up by finishing fourth in the ACB bubble. However, even after considering all of that, the biggest achievement of the summer for Burgos was signing coach Joan Penarroya to a new contract. 

Penarroya has also restocked his squad ahead of the Final 8. In the guard spots, Omar Cook and Alex Renfroe take over from Bruno Fitipaldo and Ferran Bassas. In many ways, this is two like-for-like swaps. Cook and Renfroe are both pass-first leaders that will be more than happy getting others going before looking for their own shot. Cook has been one of the best import guards in the ACB over the last three years and has so much experience to call on. Renfroe is another experienced leader and has also played some of his best basketball under Penarroya previously. To balance the backcourt Thad McFadden and Vitor Benite are both back to take most of the scoring load. Benite has enjoyed one of his best-ever seasons in Burgos. His average of 14.8 points in the BCL is the highest he has produced in Europe. When you add to that the 46% from 3-points on six attempts, you start to get the picture of how well he has played for Burgos. To add the final punctuation mark to Burgos offensive firepower on the perimeter, Xavi Rabaseda has come in from Gran Canaria. 

In the frontcourt, there are three more signings in Ken Horton, Jordan Sakho, and Dejan Kravic. The latter of that three has started his Burgos career so well that he's earned one of the best player nicknames ever.

Kravic may have go-go-gadget arms fit the name perfectly but he's no joke in a Burgos uniform.  After a season in Spain with Obradoiro, the player we will see at Final 8 is an even better player than the one that won the BCL with Virtus Bologna. In three ACB games Kravic has averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, and done things like this:

Rivero and Huksic are back to join Kravic, Sakho and Horton. Ken Horton is a replacement for the scoring punch of Earl Clark and Burgos fans will be pleased to Huksic return from injury and work his way back to the player that was so important last season. Jasiel Rivero may be the X-Factor of the entire Burgos roster. His versatility at the four and false-five position means Penarroya can rely on him to contribute in multiple ways. Rivero averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds, in the BCL. A lot of his best work was done in the paint, but he also shot 37% from deep. The trait that Rivero is possibly most known for, is hustle. In a Final 8 setting, plays like this putback below can be game-changers when it comes to Burgos' emotional momentum.


Playing Style

San Pablo Burgos are the second-rated offense in the BCL, scoring 118 points per 100 possessions. This is also thanks to having the league-best scoring output from the bench at 41.9 points per game. They are also the fourth-best shooting team, with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 56% and shoot an impressive 38.5% from 3-point range (also fourth in the BCL). Joan Penarroya has installed a very halfcourt focused offensive system with this team. They are almost always set up with one perimeter oriented forward and a more interior oriented center.

Burgos take and make more 3-pointers than any team in the BCL. As you'd expect, they generate a lot of those shots in transition and by running players like Benite and McFadden off down-screens. They are also experts at using the gravity of their shooters to create open looks for other players. Watch the video below and you can see the pressure that Benite puts on the defense to deny him the down screen from Rivero. When Benite slips the screen and cuts to the basket, his gravity separates Rivero's defender and gets the Cuban wide open.


Key Player

For Burgos to win Vitor Benite will likely need to have a huge game. Luckily for Penarroya and Burgos, he has previous against Jerusalem. In the home win at the Coliseum, Benite took matters into his own hands in the fourth quarter.



Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon is a basketball coach and analyst living in Madrid. Constantly digging in the crates of box scores and clicking through hours of game footage. Diccon is on the hunt for the stories within the stories. If you like to get a closer look at what’s going in the Basketball Champions League, you have found it.