20 October, 2020
09 May, 2021
24 Amath M'baye (KSK)
to read

How they got to the Final 8: Pinar Karsiyaka

IZMIR (Turkey) - Pinar Karsiyaka will do battle with ERA Nymburk in the second Quarter-Final of the Basketball Champions League Final 8, on May 5. Here's a look at what helped the Turkish team reach the season-ending tournament in Nizhny Novgorod.

What is special about Pinar Karsiyaka?

  • Karsiyaka's best feature as a team is the exemplary way in which they take care of the ball. The Izmir side leads the league in that respect as they average only 9.8 turnovers per game and are actually the only team to not turn the ball over more than 10 times per game. Their turnover rate (turnovers per 100 possessions) is also the best in the league, at 10.6.

  • Karsiyaka's second area of excellence is defensive rebounding, although admittedly that's not apparent from their average, which is 23.9 defensive rebounds per game (fifth among Final 8 teams). This is due to the slower pace at which Karsiyaka play, so there are fewer possessions, fewer shots taken, fewer rebounds to contest. If we take all that in consideration, Karsiyaka's defensive rebound rate is a very impressive 73.6 percent, which is 3 whole percentage points more than the second-rated team, Burgos.

  • Another aspect where Karsiyaka are very good at is perimeter defense, as they hold opponents to 34.7 percent three-point shooting. However, the Turkish team allow opponents to shoot 55.1 percent from within the arc, and this combination results in them having a defensive rating of 109.3 points per 100 possessions, only the sixth-best among the eight Quarter-Finalists.

  • On the offensive end though, Karsiyaka are faring much better. Again, for the reasons we explained above, you would not know it from their scoring average of 80.6 points per game, which places them at only 16th place among the 32 teams this season. However, if you adjust for pace, Karsiyaka have in actual fact the second-highest offensive rating among Final 8 teams, scoring 116.9 points per 100 possessions.

  • This offensive rating is predicated on two-point shooting, as Karsiyaka are the second-best team in the Final 8 in made two-point shots, averaging 21.8 per game, and third in two-point field goal percentage, with 57.2 percent. They are in the top-7 in the league overall in both categories.

  • Three-point shooting though is an entirely different story and Karsiyaka are in fact not only the worse three-point shooting team in the Final 8, but 29th in the league overall. The Izmir team average only 7.2 made triples per game, on 31.4 percent three-point shooting. Karsiyaka of course make a strong argument that you can win without three-point shooting: On March 3rd for example, they made only 2 (yes, two) of 16 three-pointers and still managed to beat fellow Turkish side Tofas Bursa 78-70 in the Play-Offs premiere.

  • No mention to Karsiyaka's offense this season can be complete without pointing out the contribution of Raymar Morgan. The American power forward is the league's fifth-leading scorer with 18.3 points per game, the second-leading player in efficiency with an average rating of 20.6 and fourth-best in two-point field goal percentage, shooting 66.4 percent from within the arc!

The 2020-21 Pinar Karsiyaka highlights

Regular Season

Karsiyaka finished second in Group F, on a 4-2 record, and their two only losses came at the hands of Brose Bamberg, who topped the group on a perfect 6-0. There were no highs and lows to speak of, and it's indicative that their largest winning margin was 13 points, in the 78-65 victory at Fortitudo Bologna, and their heaviest loss, so to speak, was a 76-70 loss to Bamberg at home.


Karsiyaka clinched qualification to the Final 8 thanks to an 107-88 win over Happy Casa Brindisi on the final day of the Play-Offs, in what was the Turkish team's best offensive display of the season and the first time they scored a century. That win lifted them to second place in Group I, (behind Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon) on a 3-3 record. Interestingly, Karsiyaka's 72-63 win over Hapoel Holon in Israel on gameday 3 was the only game all season in which the Turkish team gave up fewer than 65 points.

The last shot

Is it too simplistic to say that the Quarter-Final between Karsiyaka and Nymburk will be first and foremost about which team will manage to impose its favorite pace? Probably yes, but that doesn't make it less true. For Karsiyaka, transition is an after-thought and they rely less than any other team in the Final 8 on scoring in the open floor.

Karsiyaka feel comfortable when they slow down the game and take it to the fewest possessions possible, while Nymburk prefer the quicker pace and generally tend to win when the game goes to a lot of possessions. Karsiyaka cannot rely on their three-point shooting but they can destroy any opponent with their mid-range and close-range shooting.