20 October, 2020
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29/03/2021
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Basketball Champions League MVP Race: Third checkpoint

ZAGREB (Croatia) - Play-Offs are in full progress, we already have one team reaching the Final 8, and there's plenty more action to come until the end of March. Perfect timing to update the MVP Race in the Basketball Champions League!

Have you read the First checkpoint of this column? Or the Second? If so, you know the method to this madness. If not, here's a quick breakdown:

  • It's not an official race.
  • It IS an actual update to see who's doing fine and who could end up winning the award at the end of the season.
  • First four questions are for real.
  • Fifth one is just random to lead you towards the leader of the MVP Race.
  • I avoid using my compatriots in the piece because I don't want to sound biased. But you should know that Tomislav Zubcic is my actual pick for the MVP. See? Not biased at all.

When you think about the previous MVPs of this competition, all of them were able to lead their team to the title or the Final or the Semi-Finals or the Quarter-Finals, which means we had to intervene in here, in the MVP Race. It's not just a list of players playing really good - their teams' records are equally as important. Hence, nobody under .500 is here. In fact, only two of them are at .500 right now, all other eight guys are above it!

Now that we've gotten the technicalities out of the way, it's time to give you the five questions which will help us determine the current leader of the most important race taking place right now, the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2021   the 2021 Basketball Champions League MVP Race:

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
(5) Does he share a name with a world famous electronic dance music DJ?

(See? Number five is just random.)

#10 D'Angelo Harrison (Happy Casa Brindisi)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep. Sitting at 3-1 in Group I.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Not really. He's out injured.
(3) So... Why are we still doing the questions for D'Angelo Harrison?
Because he would've been the season MVP, no doubt about it, if he had better luck and stayed healthy. I guess he's still a strong candidate if he ends up leading Brindisi to continental glory in the Final 8.

#9 Sasu Salin (Lenovo Tenerife)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Hard to think of a time when Tenerife didn't have a winning record. 3-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yep. Shooting 16-of-34 from beyond the arc in four games in Group J. Spreading the floor for others, that's what he does.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
Probably. Although Giorgi Shermadini would have something to say about that.
(4) So... He's out of the hunt?
For now. But he's led Tenerife's offensive arsenal all season long, so it's good to keep him in the Top 10 as a reward over here. Also, DJ Sasu Salin would've had a monster of a musical career.

#8 Raymar Morgan (Pinar Karsiyaka)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Nope. 2-2.
(2) Wait... I thought he was supposed to have a winning record?
Yep. That's why he's only #8 here. Otherwise, 18.1 points per game at 62 percent shooting with 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game would send him to Top 3. Probably the MVP of the Season if Karsiyaka make a deep run.

#7 Dylan Ennis (Casademont Zaragoza)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep. 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Of course.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
That's a question that only somebody who hasn't watched Dylan Ennis play would ask.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
15.1 points, 4.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds. This is a yes.
(5) Does he share a name with a world famous electronic dance music DJ?
He did play with a DJ (Seeley), but nope. There are no world famous DJs named Dylan Ennis. Sadly.

#6 Keith Langford (AEK)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Nope. 2-2.
(2) Wait... I thought he was supposed to have a winning record here?
Yeah, but listen. AEK are still very much in the hunt for a place at the Final 8. If they make it, and Keith Langford does his magic, he could be the back-to-back winner of the MVP award. That's why he's ranked #6 DESPITE the fact AEK aren't a team with a winning record here.

#5 Jasiel Rivero (Hereda San Pablo Burgos)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Always. 3-0 in Group J.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yep. Monster performance against VEF Riga, as you can see in the Instagram post below.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
Sure, if Vitor Benite, Thad McFadden, Omar Cook, Alex Renfroe, Xavi Rabaseda, Ken Horton and Dejan Kravic are all closely guarded.
(4) Wow. That's a stretch.
Yep. That's why he's not the leader of the MVP Race. He could become one if he pulls out another tip-in for the win - he's done it already this season.

 
#4 Retin Obasohan (ERA Nymburk)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep. 2-0.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yep. He's a bolt of energy, for sure.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
Nope. He's the one delivering the perfect pass for the win, as evident by the Instagram post below.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
14.4 points, 5.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals. Just imagine how good he would be if he shot better than 8-of-24 from deep or 37-of-57 from the charity stripe.
(5) Does he share a name with a world famous electronic dance music DJ?
Nope. So he's not the MVP, obviously.

 
#3 Giorgi Shermadini (Lenovo Tenerife)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep. 3-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yep. Had more points than minutes played in their last two wins in the Round of 16.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
Probably. You just send the ball to him on the low block, 1v1 he scores, 1v2 he passes to guys like Marcelinho Huertas or Bruno Fitipaldo or Sasu Salin, you foul him, he's 44-of-47 from the free throw line this season... Yep. Drawing up a play for him to win the game, sure.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, all done in less than 23 minutes per game. Yep.
(5) Does he share a name with a world famous electronic dance music DJ?
I'd love to see DJ Sherminator perform, but this is a no-no. So, he's not the MVP.

 

#2 Kasey Shepherd (Nizhny Novgorod)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep. 4-0. First ones to make the Final 8!
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
LOL.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
LOL2.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
18.8 points, 50.9 percent from deep on more than five attempts per game, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals. Man.
(5) Does he share a name with a world famous electronic dance music DJ?
DJ Kasey Shepherd does not tour the world with his music. He'll have to settle for second spot right now, because...

 

#1 C.J. Harris (Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep. 3-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Double digits in all nine games he played, went north of 20 four times, flirting with a 50-40-90 split.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final 8, is he the one taking it?
And making it.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
18.6 points, 49 percent from the field, 44 percent from deep, 83 percent from the free throw line, with 4.0 assists to his name.
(5) Does he share a name with a world famous electronic dance music DJ?
YES! C.J. Harris' actual name is Calvin Harris Jr. And Calvin Harris the basketball player and Calvin Harris the DJ have a lot in common, too - DJ had that song We Found Love, CJ found love in Holon; DJ had that song Slide, CJ makes his defenders slide (a lot); DJ had that song Feel So Close, CJ and Holon are feeling so close to the Final 8; DJ had that song Outside, CJ is making money shooting from outside the painted area; DJ had that song Pray to God, which is the only thing you can do when you're left 1v1 with CJ on the basketball court. There you have it! CJ Harris is your current leader in the MVP Race!

 


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.