05 October, 2021
15 May, 2022
5 Justin Simon (MHP)
24/12/2021
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Basketball Champions League MVP Race: Season Six, Second 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 neighbors in the piece because I don't want to sound biased. But you should know that Andrija Stipanovic 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) Is his team through to the next round?
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
(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 citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 

(See? Number five is just random so we get to the leader.)

(Also, if you never heard of Ato, I'm happy to introduce you to over-the-top glasses he wore at the 2000 Sydney Olympics:

2000 was a confusing year for all, clearly.)

#10 John Roberson (SIG Strasbourg)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yep, Play-In series, with home court advantage. Yet to learn the opponent's name.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Yep, became the first player with 28 points and 9 assists in a single BCL game.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
If they actually take a shot, yes. That's a semi-joke because SIG Strasbourg let the game clock go out without attempting a game-winning shot against Filou Oostende this week. Because they wanted to avoid overtime. Because they claimed the tiebreaker that way.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
17.8 points, 5.0 assists, 94 percent from the FT line on more than five attempts per game.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. He's sharing it with Edin Dzeko and Amel Tuka, if we want to keep the football + track and field comparison. So, BIH guard is not our MVP Race leader...

#9 Joe Ragland (Hapoel U-NET Holon)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yep, almost won the group, but dropped to second place on last possession of the Regular Season...
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Leading assist-man of the entire Basketball Champions League. This is a yes.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Nope.
(3.5) Wait, what?
He's not taking the last shot. He's setting somebody up to take it.
(4) Ahh, okay. Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
11.7 points, 7.2 assists per game. Would've been even better if we took out the scoreless 23 minutes v Cluj...
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon?
Nope. He's sharing it with George Weah and Joseph Fahnbulleh, if we want to keep the football + track and field comparison. So, Liberia's guard is not our MVP Race leader...

#8 Ivan Buva (Rytas Vilnius)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yep, won the group with a sweep over the defending champions Hereda San Pablo Burgos.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Yep, MVP of November.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
If he can get Speedy Smith to pass it to him...
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, double digits in 17 of 18 Rytas' games in all competitions in 2021-22.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. He's sharing it with Luka Modric and Sandra Perkovic, if we want to keep the football + track and field comparison. So, my fellow Croat is not our MVP Race leader... 

#7 David Holston (JDA Dijon)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yep, Play-In series against VEF Riga, with home court advantage.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
LOL. Best point guard in the BCL.
(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?
13.2 points, 42 percent from deep, 4.8 assists, 2.2 steals per game. Last three games? Just over 18ppg, just under 6apg, just over 2spg. So, yes.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. Not the leader of the MVP Race then...

#6 Ismael Bako (BAXI Manresa)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Oh yes, first ones to book Round of 16. Still without a defeat.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Actually... Coach Pedro Martinez is the reason they are through.
(2.5) Why are we talking about Bako then?
Because of the "best player on best team" clause to this Column.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Nope. Fine, maybe he's not the MVP Race leader.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
11.4 points, 75 percent shooting from the field, 7.4 rebounds per game.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon?
Nope. He's sharing it with Kevin De Bruyne and the Borlee family, if we want to keep the football + track and field comparison. You guessed it, he's from Belgium. But no, he's not our MVP Race leader... 

#5 Zoltan Perl (Falco Szombathely)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yep. Won the group ahead of Treviso, Riga, AEK.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Of course. Double digits in every game, leader as a Szombathely native on the roster.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Yep yep yep.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
15.7 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, all done while coming off the bench.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. He's sharing it with Gabor Kiraly and... Hmmm... Seems that I don't know any Hungarians in track and field. Anyway, not our MVP Race leader... 

 

#4 Pako Cruz (Tofas Bursa)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Won the group with a game to spare.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Of course.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Tomislav Zubcic tried his luck this week, missed it. That means for the rest of the season Tofas will run plays for Pako to win the game.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.7 points, 47 percent from deep on almost six shots per game, 4.0 assists.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. He's sharing it with Javier Hernandez Chicharito and Ana Guevara, if we want to keep the football + track and field comparison. Yes, he's Mexican. And no, he's not our MVP Race leader... 

 

#3 Patrick Richard (U-BT Cluj Napoca)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yes, won the group as an underdog, a newcomer, straight out of the Qualifying Rounds.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
He's the reason they should rename the arena to Patrick Richard's House.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
As we learned in the games against Happy Casa Brindisi and Hapoel U-NET Holon, OH YES.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, almost 36 minutes per game, the most in BCL.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. He's sharing it with Gheorghe Hagi and Gabriela Szabo, if we want to keep the football + track and field comparison. Yes, he's playing under Romanian passport. And no, he's not our MVP Race leader... 

 

#2 Justin Simon (MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yep, won their group ahead of Lenovo Tenerife. With a sweep over the Spaniards!
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
Dude. Yes.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
He's dunking it.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
15.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.7 steals. He's the third best blocker here, and he's "only" 1.96m/6'5'' tall.
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
Nope. Not the leader then...

 

#1 DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (Galatasaray Nef)

(1) Is his team through to the next round?
Yes! Galata won their group easily.
(2) Is he the reason they are through to the next round?
20+ points in five of his six games. Crazy.
(3) If his team needs a game-winning shot to make the Final Four, is he the one taking it?
Well, probably not a shot. More likely a one-handed never-ending hang-time layup. Or a dunk.
(4) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
21.5 points, 46 percent from deep on six attempts per game, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals. Top scorer of the entire BCL this season!
(5) Does he share citizenship with my sporting heroes from 1990s, striker Dwight Yorke and sprinter Ato Boldon? 
YESSSS!!! DAP is putting Trinidad and Tobago on the BCL map. He is from Orlando, Florida in the United States, but has dual citizenship. Shoe collector, tattoo collector, the man behind the number 44, which is a tribute to his grandma: DeVaughn as her fourth grandchild, and another four as the month (April) when his grandma passed away. He's been around all the way since Season One, but be warned. This is the finest version of DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, ever!

 

There you go. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell leads the way in the MVP Race after the Regular Season.

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.