20 October, 2020
09 May, 2021
ERA Nymburk v Pinar Karsiyaka - a closer look
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ERA Nymburk v Pinar Karsiyaka - a closer look

NOVGOROD (Russia) - The second Quarter-Final of the 2021 Basketball Champions League Final 8 sees ERA Nymburk reach their second Final 8 in a row and match up against Pinar Karsiyaka who have made the Quarter-Finals in each of their BCL seasons.

Let's take a closer look at both team's journey thus far and how they might play.

ERA Nymburk


Before we dive a little deeper into Nymburk's data story for the season, their rankings below show us where they stand amongst the other Final 8 teams. As we can see by their second-ranking for Defensive Rating and Offensive Rating, this is still a team with a very similar blueprint to the squad that made their Final 8 debut last year.

Effective Field Goal Shooting: 54% (Fifth)

Turnover Percentage: 14.8% (Fourth)

Offensive Rebound Percentage: 28.7% (Second)

Free Throw Ratio: 23.4% (Third)

Offensive Rating: 115.7 points per 100 possessions (Third)

Defensive Rating: 104.1 points per 100 possessions (Second)

Starting with the first sheet facing you when you look at the data story of Nymburk's season to data we can see "Pace". This sheet looks at possessions for each game of the season and also a moving average to show a trend if there is one. The color scale shows games where Nymburk played with a Pace above average as red and below average as black. If we take Nymburk's win on the final gameday of the Play-Offs, we can see this was their second-highest game of the season in terms of possessions. Their average of 78 possessions per game is the second-highest amongst teams at Final 8. Only Zaragoga play with an average of more possessions per game. This pace translates very positively to fastbreak points, where they lead all teams at the Final 8 with 17.8 points per game on the break. 

The next stat of note for Nymburk is Offensive Rebound Percentage. This is Nymburk'a second straight season as one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the BCL. They way this team attacks the glass with all five players has been a huge factor for helping them win games in Europe. If we filter for road games we can see what looks to be a promising trend for Nymburk at the Final 8. As you can see in the screengrab below they have been even more active on the glass when they have been on the road. In fact, the only road game when they didn't rebound more than 30 percent of their missed shots was the win in Sassari. Continuing this trend of smashing the glass in Nizhny Novgorod looks like it could be a major impact on their success in the tournament.

Last season Nymburk had one the better seasons of any club in the BCL's short history for defensive efficiency. As we can see from their second-ranked Defensive Rating amongst Final 8 teams they have been at it again this season. Slide over to the "Ratings" tab in their data story and we can see they they have been very consistent all season in terms of efficiency on the defensive end. The clearly outstanding performance was at home to Dijon on Gameday 5. They held the French club to just 73.9 points per 100 possessions.

To finish off we switch up back to offense and in particular, shooting. Home comforts have clearly been the order of the day for the perma-champions of the Czech league. If we filter for home games we can clearly see they have shot the ball much more efficiently at home this season. They saved the best for last, with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 64.6 percent in the home victory over fellow Final 8 returnees Zaragoza.

Nymburk’s shot map is one of the more distinct profiles amongst Final 8 teams. It is normal to find teams that are at their most efficient around the rim and in the paint. This is absolutely the case for Nymburk, where they shoot 70.3 percent at the rim. Where they do differ from most other teams at the Final 8 is in the midrange. Oren Amiel’s squad have two very efficient spots on the left elbow and around the right low post, where they shoot 67 percent for both zones. They also have a noticeable lean to the right of the floor when it comes to efficiency. They shoot 44.7 percent and 41 percent from the right corner and right wing respectively.

How they might play

As we gleaned from analyzing the data on their season, the two things we can absolutely expect to see from Oren Amiel's Nymburk squad is pace and smashing the offensive glass. What is unique to the way they approach the offensive glass is they regularly send all five players on the glass in a system known as "Tagging Up". In the video below you see two classic examples of both pace and tagging up. The first clip you see Hruban taking the transition 3-point attempt. As the ball hits the rim, Hruban is the only Nymburk player not already matched up against a Sassari defender. In this case Prewitt pulls down the rebound and finishes before Sassari knew what hit them. Nymburk had taken two shots inside 12 seconds of an offense. The second clip is from the same game and again it's a Hruban corner 3-pointer as the first shot. This time after drag screen in the middle of the floor early in the offense. This is something you will see a great deal. Again, all five attack the glass and on this occasion it was Hruba that chased down his own shot.

This ultra physical, uptempo style Nymburk play with is also partnered with one of the more creative halfcourt playbooks you will see in the BCL. Oren Amiel won coach of the season last season and for good reason. One of the more common sets you will see them run starts with a "UCLA" cut for an entry. This is very simply a guard to wing entry pass, followed by a vertical cut along the lane line by the guard. From there they have so many options. In the video below you see them enjoying success off the very first option with Hruban getting a layup at the rim, and then working their way through all of the options with the ball entering the post and followed by "Post Splits" and a drive and kick to the opposite corner.

Another of the more common sets you will see starts with a screen away from the ball, followed by the guard going to get the ball back from his pass. From there Oren Amiel and Nymburk run all kinds of wizardry. The two options in the video below are either flowing into a pick-and-roll with a strong side screen for a shooter, or the staggered pin down on the weak side of the floor that they use to devastating effect.

We would be amiss to tell you what to look out for with Nymburk and not mentioning the fun and games they run from out of bounds situations. In particular out of bounds from the baseline. We saw Amiel draw up a game-winner for Hayden Dalton already this season but the clip in the video below has to be one of the more creative out of bounds plays we have seen this season. Watch how the blur of actions makes it almost impossible for Zaragoza to switch all of those screens.


Pinar Karsiyaka


Effective Field Goal Shooting: 53% (Seventh)

Turnover Percentage: 12.9% (First)

Offensive Rebound Percentage: 24.7% (Fifth)

Free Throw Ratio: 23.4% (Third)

Offensive Rating: 116.6 points per 100 possessions (Second)

Defensive Rating: 110 points per 100 possessions (Sixth)

Pinar Karsiyaka's key stats reflect very well when stacked up against the other Final 8 squads. They turn the ball over less than any other team in Russia and in fact, only Hapoel Jerusalem turned the ball over on a lower percentage of their possessions this season. This has enabled them to record the second best offensive efficiency amongst the other Final 8 squads. They have also done an excellent job of getting to the Free Throw Line.

If we look at Karsiyaka's data story we can see on the first page where we see their Pace, the Play-Offs has seen a clear uptick in the number of possessions per game for Ufuk Sarica's squad. We also saw this with Holon who were in the same Round of 16 group so some of this was related to the teams in the group as much as it was Karsiayaka themselves. But, if we filter for their home games alone, we can also see that four of their six home games were played at an above-average Pace and three of those games were in the Play-Offs. 

If we slide over to the tab marked "Offensive Rebounds & Turnovers" we can take a look at how Karsiyaka's Offensive Rebound and Turnover Percentage has shaken out over the season. In particular we are interested in their turnovers as that has been a real strong point for Sarica's squad. They have been very consistent all season, the one outlier was the home win against Bilbao on the final game of the Regular Season. They turned the ball over on just 7.5 percent of their possessions. It's easy to see why this team has been efficient offensively.

On the topic of offensive efficiency, Karsiyaka really saved the best for last. Going into a final game of the Round of 16, needing a win by 10 points or more, Karsiyaka scored at a rate of 148.3 points per 100 possessions. What we can also see in this tab is that when we filter for the games that Pinar Karsiyaka won, the channel between offensive and defensive efficiency is at a consistent distance in all of those games. It's pretty unusual to see this and it also tells us that this team has won all of their most competitive games in terms of scoring. There was, of course, the heart-breaking and slightly controversial loss to Holon but the fact that Karsiyaka have managed to win close games will absolutely serve them well in the knockout environment of the Final 8.

Pinar Karsiyaka have two zones on the floor that stand out as their most efficient areas to shoot from; under the basket where they shoot 69.7 percent, and the right corner where they shoot 52.4 percent. The right corner alone generates 1.6 points per shot for Karsiyaka, only Nizhny Novgorod have been more efficient from that area of the court.

How they might play

If we are talking about what is at the heart of the way Pinar Karsiyaka play we have to start with the talent they have in terms of making plays in the pick-and-roll. Karsiyaka's ball-handlers score out of the pick-and-roll as well as anyone at the Final 8. They also love to reject ball screens and burn to the basket as often as possible. 

To give you an example the video below has two clips from identical game situations and against the same opponent.  With less than a minute to go in the half of both legs against Brindisi, Karsiyaka relied on their guards to make a play in the ball-screen. In the first clip we see that Sek Henry is more inclined to use explosion and speed, whereas Tony Taylor used more of a crafty edge.

It's not just Karsiyaka's guards that are tough to guard in the pick-and-roll. Amath M'Baye really has one of the most complete skill sets for any forward in the BCL. Coach Sarica takes full advantage of that and we will regularly see him making plays out of the pick-and-roll.  One of his favorite actions to get M'Baye the ball is a double drag screen with the Frenchman then receiving a down screen to come back up and get the ball. Notice how M'Baye rejects the screen on both plays. Nymburk will need to be alert to this.

Pinar Karsiyaka also love to use this same action to create a post entry. The video below you see them flow from the same double ball screen into a "Flex" action for Sek Henry to receive the ball back at the top of the key. Watch what he does against the pick-and-roll coverage...

Another thing that you can expect from Ufuk Sarica and Karsiyaka is deception. They love to find ways to mask what they are trying to run by entering the action in a different way. The play in the video below ends up with them generating a score from the same double drag screen but they enter with a double screen away and this time it's from a different angle. What you also see in the first clip is, yes you guessed it, M'Baye rejects the ball screen and gets to the cup. If you were thinking that all the defense needs to do is stop him rejecting the screen, make a note of the second clip.


The Matchup

For ERA Nymburk the first priority is to progress from a team with potential to a real threat to winning the BCL. Reaching a second straight Final 8 has consolidated their place amongst the best clubs in the competition, now it's about going that extra step further. To do that they will need Obasohan and Harding to be at their best on both ends of the floor. Obasohan is one of the better defensive guards in the BCL and his matchup with Henry and Taylor should be fascinating. The other area that Nymburk will be looking to find an advantage will be with pace. They spoke before the tournament about how their depth could enable them to keep the tempo up. Their ability to keep the game at a pace that make Karsiyaka uncomfortable could be the key.

For Pinar Karsiyaka, we have to start with Raymar Morgan. As important as their pick-and-roll playmakers are, the matchup that has the potential to cause Nymburk the most problems has to be the experienced American. Morgan has scored more points than anyone in the BCL this season so we can see he has been a problem for everyone. Does Nymburk have an answer for his face-up game in the high-post or mix of footwork and fadeways in the low-post? Karsiyaka will be hoping not. This should also be a fascinating coaching duel. Amiel may be the reigning Coach of the Season but Sarica is back at home with Karsiyaka and that has always resulted in success in the past.

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.