How they got to the Final 8: Lenovo Tenerife
TENERIFE (Spain) - Lenovo Tenerife will go up against SIG Strasbourg in the third Quarter-Final of the BCL Final 8, on May 6. Here's a look at what helped the 2017 champions reach the season-ending tournament in Nizhny Novgorod.
What is special about Lenovo Tenerife?
- If the title was awarded solely on the basis of statistical dominance, then Tenerife would be the surefire champions. The Spanish yellow-blacks are leading the league in four fairly important stat categories, starting with their impressive offensive rating: They score 121.1 points per 100 possessions, which is not only a whole 4.2 points more than the second most-efficient BCL offense, but it is high even by NBA standards, let alone the European 40-minute game and relatively slower pace.
- The next three stat categories which Tenerife dominate are three components that contribute to their aforementioned huge offensive rating. The first is a truly eye-popping effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 60 percent. The best part of this is that Tenerife are not heavily reliant on any one way of putting the ball through the hoop - they are in the top-5 in both two-point field goal percentage (57.6 percent) and three-point field goal percentage (42 percent).
- The second component is Tenerife's excellence at the stripe. They lead the league in free-throw shooting with 86.1 percent, and their accuracy is not due to taking infrequent trips to the line - on the contrary, the Spanish side attempt 16.1 free-throws per game. It obviously helps when you have on the team players like Marcelinho Huertas, Bruno Fitipaldo, Sasu Salin or Giorgi Shermadini, who are all averaging over 90 percent from the free-throw line this season.
- Tenerife's fourth area of excellence is their passing, and that is reflected in their league-high assist rate of 21 assists per 100 possessions. In absolute terms, Tenerife are third in the league, averaging 21.4 assists per game and of course the point guard duo of Huertas and Fitipaldo are leading the charge here, as they combine for 10.2 assists per game on average.
- So Tenerife deserve a lot of high praise, but it's also fair to point out that all the brilliant stats we have pointed out so far have to do with the offensive end. The Spanish team's defensive rating is not that remarkable, as they give up 109 points per 100 possessions, but that again is almost identical to that of their quarter-final opponents, Strasbourg, so perhaps it's a case of no harm, no foul.
- Part of what makes Tenerife's defense quite permissive is the fact that they don't always contest shots effectively. They allow opponents to shoot 50.7 percent from two-point range and 37.5 percent from three-point range, so they are fourth and seventh, respectively, among the eight teams that will do battle at the Final 8.
- Beyond the stats though, Tenerife's hallmark is that they have a wealth of good options and can bring quality players off the bench, affording to manage the minutes of their star players as to avoid burning them out before the business end of the season. It is indicative that Tenerife's second unit scores almost half of the team's points (40.3 out of 86.3 per game) on average.
The 2020-21 Lenovo Tenerife highlights
Tenerife finished tied with Dinamo Sassari at 4-2 but won Group A thanks to their head-to-head advantage over the Italian team. The Spanish side suffered one of their heaviest losses in BCL history, 92-72, at Sassari, but responded by blowing out Dinamo 115-85 in January, in their best offensive showing in the competition.
Tenerife also topped their Play-Offs group and did so in similar fashion to the Regular Season, as they inflicted a heavy 89-60 loss on Hereda San Pablo Burgos in the game that decided first place in Group J on the final gameday, thus avenging their 22-point loss at the hands of the reigning champions on gameday 2.
The last shot
Tenerife have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. Yes, they have played in Nizhny before (in the 2019-20 season), but of course we're referring here to their experience of conquering the BCL title, in 2017, under the same head coach they have now, Txus Vidorreta.
This season, they well-oiled yellow-black machine has built a roster that can compete in two top competitions, as apart from chasing the BCL title they are also about to conclude their best ever Regular Season campaign in the Liga Endesa.