05 October, 2021
15 May, 2022
1 Tyson Carter (LAVR)
05/11/2021
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Basketball Champions League MVP Race: Season Six, First checkpoint

ZAGREB (Croatia) - We have dubbed Season Six as the strongest so far, and the MVP Race is in line with that statement. So many candidates for the award, meaning we will have to update the starting grid more often than ever before.

Now, if you've ever read the Help-Side Column, you probably know that this is complete madness. It was never meant to be serious, it was always here to rotate once all the results and stats start beating you off the dribble, that's where you've got this kind of article to provide you help defense and guide you towards clarity.

In this case, with so many games going on, you probably have a hard time figuring out who are the main candidates to win the MVP award at the end of the season. Jordan Theodore won it in Season One, Manny Harris picked up the trophy a year later, Tyrese Rice claimed it in 2019, Keith Langford in 2020 and last season it was Bonzie Colson.

Here are some important reminders about the MVP Race process:

  • 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. It usually has nothing to do with basketball. It's just a hint on who's number one that week.
  • 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.

 

Okay. Time to talk MVP stuff. All of our previous MVPs had some stuff in common. They were on teams that got far in the competition, they were the reasons why their teams got that far, they were the ones hitting the dagger shots and game winners, and their numbers were impressive all season long.

That's why the four serious questions are formed the way they are:

(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 Four, is he the one taking it?
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
(5) Does he share an iconic haircut with sporting legends like Bulgarian footballer Trifon Ivanov, NBA player Dwayne Schintzius, boxing champ/movie star Tommy Morrison? 

(See? Number five is just random so we get to number one.)

(If you don't know who Ivanov, Schintzius and Morrison are, don't talk to me ever again in your life then think of a bit more polite Tiger King haircut.)

#10 Bonzie Colson (Pinar Karsiyaka)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yes, 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yes, knocked down not one, but two game-winners so far.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Oh yes.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 blocks sounds MVP-ish, but 38.5 percent shooting, including 15.4 percent from beyond the arc, so yeah, this is why he's only 10th I guess.
(5) So, no need for fifth question here?
Exactly.

#9 Luke Maye (BAXI Manresa)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Oh yes, 3-0.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
I mean... He only played two games, and had 8 points in one of those two.
(2.5) Hold up. Why is he even here then?
Because he's statistically the best player of arguably the best team of the BCL.
(3) Ahhh, so we apply the Giorgi Shermadini rule. Okay. Let's go with question three, is he taking the crucial shot?
He made one of the clutchest shots in history of the North Carolina Tar Heels. So it's possible Manresa draw it up for him, sure.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists. Okay, let's keep him around because of the Shermadini best-player-on-best-team clause, but the numbers aren't there yet.

#8 Jaime Fernandez (Unicaja)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 3-0.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yep, he's the brain of the team.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Don't know, haven't been tested yet.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
13.3 points, 5.3 assists per game, and he only plays 21.5 minutes per game.
(5) Does he share an iconic haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison? 
Not really. So, not the MVP.

#7 Dedric Lawson (Besiktas Icrypex)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Let's put it this way, he played really well in the games they won. So yeah, Lawson being good means Besiktas are winning, vice versa.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Probably not. Because they needed a game-winning shot to defeat Rytas Vilnius this week, and they drew it up for Isaiah Whitehead.
(4) So... Not the leader of the MVP Race?
Nope, but 16.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals and efficiency rating of 24.0 in Besiktas' two wins are reason enough to keep an eye on him all season long.

#6 Patrick Richard (U-BT Cluj Napoca)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yep, he was as clutch as you like against Brindisi in Brindisi.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Probably read the (2) answer again.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
17.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, so this is a yep, he does.
(5) Does he share an iconic haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison?
Nope, he's more of an Edgar Davids than Ivanov, more Whoopi Goldberg than Schintzius in that movie Eddie, more Lennox Lewis than Tommy Morrison.

(Bet you didn't think you'd see so many 1990s references in a column about the MVP of the Basketball Champions League in 2021-22.)

#5 Henry Sims (Nutribullet Treviso)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 3-0.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Oh yes, monster games against AEK and VEF Riga.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Hmmm... It could happen as part of a screen-roll set involving Tomas Dimsa as ball handler and Henry Sims as roller. Let's give this a yes.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
19.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.7 steals per game. Oh yes.
(5) Does he share a haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison?
Nope. But you get it, if he had four yeses on four serious questions, he's a legit contender.

 

#4 Jerrick Harding (ERA Nymburk)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yes, 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Knocked down a beautiful buzzer beater against PAOK, they could've been at 0-3 if he missed that one.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Yep. Or setting it up for others. He's involved in it, for sure.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
Gone over 20 points in all three games, 24.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals per game. Yes, again.
(5) Does he share a haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison?
Nope. But you get it, if he had four yeses on four serious questions, he's a legit contender.

 

#3 DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (Galatasaray Nef)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Dude. Of course.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
It's #Mandatory he takes it.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
Leading scorer of the League, 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals per game. YES.
(5) Does he share a haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison?
Nope. But you get it, if he had four yeses on four serious questions, he's a legit contender.

 

#2 Tyson Carter (Lavrio Megabolt)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yes, 2-1.
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
Yes, he single-handedly defeated Nizhny Novgorod.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Unless it fumbles over somehow to Kenny Goins, yes, he is.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
He's got the scoring record of the season in the BCL with that 35-point outburst v Nizhny. 23.7 points, 3.7 assists, an absurd 62.5 percent three-point shooting on five attempts per game, yeah, Tyson got the numbers.
(5) Does he share a haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison?
Nope. But you get it, if he had four yeses on four serious questions, he's a legit contender.

 

#1 Jonah Radebaugh (MHP Riesen Ludwigsbug)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
YES! 3-0!
(2) Is he the reason they have a winning record?
YES! He's the official MVP of October, read all about it.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Since Ludwigsburg are +60 with him on the floor over those three games so far, chances are, they'll never need a game-winning shot. But this is a yes, for sure, just because of his in-it-to-win-it attitude.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 60 percent from deep on three shots per game, +20 per game when he's on the floor... Yeah, numbers are there, too.
(5) Does he share a haircut with sporting legends like Trifon Ivanov, Dwayne Schintzius, Tommy Morrison?
YES!!! The mullet is back with a bang - not bangs, that would be too much probably. But what his brother jokingly suggested way back in high school now stands as the trademark for the 24-year-old. Fear the mullet!

Trifon, Dwayne and Tommy would've been proud.

 

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.