East v West: Who would win the BCL All-Star Game?
ZAGREB (Croatia) - Here's the deal. With everything going on in the world, having an actual Basketball Champions League All-Star Game seems impossible. But man, an imaginary BCL ASG really is a close one with East and West.
Most of the All-Star Games turn into people just jogging around, trying to have some fun while also avoiding injuries and jacking up ten thousand three-pointers because... Because why not.
But every now and then, you'll have that 2001 NBA All-Star Game pop up on your Instagram or Facebook feed, and you'll start thinking "wow it'd be awesome if all of the stars showed up like this today, huh."
Or, even better, you'll have one lazy late December day switching through TV channels and you'll find yourself cheering for Team France at 11pm, and think "THE WORLD NEEDS MORE ALL-STAR GAMES!"
French All Star Game got me glued to TV at 11pm.— Igor Curkovic (@IgorCurkovic) December 29, 2021
And I'm not even French. https://t.co/y1Cq2Tx29E
So why not have an actual BCL All-Star Game?
Ah, okay, because of (1) the teams' busy schedules, (2) the travels all over Europe, (3) the teams' crazy busy schedules, (4) the logistics or organizing such a Pan-European event in the middle of a season, (5) THE TEAMS' SCHEDULES ARE CRAZY, (6) the risk of injuries, and (7) DID YOU COUNT THE NUMBER OF GAMES A PROFESSIONAL TEAM HAS TO PLAY IN A SEASON IN 2020s!?
Enough of the caps lock.
Hosting an All-Star Game would be good for the players. They get to chill, they get to play basketball for fun, they get to relax on help-side defense without being shouted at, they get to spend time together with other individuals who are going through the same life situations.
Let's then just pretend for the next 800 words or so that All the Stars aligned perfectly, pun intended. The clubs aren't playing 50 do-or-die games, the players are well rested because the travels are going by smoothly, there are no risks and no injuries, and the arena in Zagreb or Split or Zadar is free for the weekend.
Who would win this one in a perfect world? We'll take Croatia as the middle line, everything to the left of it is considered Team West, everything to the right Team East.
At guard, 6'1'' from U-BT Cluj Napoca: Brandon Brown. Coming back from injuries can be tricky, but Brown aced that test, winning the MVP of December award along the way.
He's got 17.5 points and 6.3 assists per game, and at 55 percent shooting from beyond the arc on seven attempts per game, he'd be the number one favorite to win the Three Point Contest, too.
At the other guard, 6'5'' from Falco Szombathely: Zoltan Perl. You need championship winning guys on your team, Zoltan knows how to get it done with the champions of Hungary, and he's been such a legend that the town's authorities are considering* renaming Szombathely to Szoltanperly.
Perl is still just a 26-year-old, he's getting 16.4 points, 3.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game, he doesn't care about starting or coming off the bench as long as he gets his ISO play at the top with the game on the line.
(*They aren't. But they should.)
At forward, 6'5'' from Galatasaray Nef: DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell.
Really? You need me to explain this selection? Probably the leading candidate for the MVP of the Season award with his 20.0 points per game, which make him the leading scorer of the BCL among the players still in the competition. Probably a finalist in the Dunk Contest, losing to a guy from Team West.
At the other forward, 6'6'' from Hapoel U-NET Holon: Chris Johnson. It's not just because of his 14.1 points per game, or about his presence that makes him a fan favorite in Israel, or about his lefty stroke that's impossible to block.
It's because the game could go down to the wire and you need somebody who plays defense. That's where he steps up, takes anybody one-on-one from one to five position, and wins the game for Team East.
At center, 7'0'' from Prometey: Miro Bilan. Okay, probably a bit biased here, but Miro deserves the nod after his historic game against Filou Oostende.
He had the second highest efficiency in BCL history (46, trailing only Steven Gray's 47) (fun fact, both of them are ex Zadar players), he has the BCL season-high in points with 38, and he's got the trick shots and the assists to fit right in.
Joe Ragland (Hapoel U-NET Holon), Dee Bost (Galatasaray Nef), Pako Cruz, Tomislav Zubcic (Tofas Bursa), Dogus Ozdemiroglu (Darussafaka), Patrick Richard, Andrija Stipanovic (U-BT Cluj Napoca), Ivan Buva, Speedy Smith (Rytas Vilnius), entire Prometey squad.
(At guard, Marcelinho Huertas; at the other guard Sasu Salin; at forward Aaron Doornekamp; at the other forward Kyle Wiltjer; and at center Giorgi Shermadini.)
At guard, 5'6'' from JDA Dijon: David Holston.
I love it when instead of explaining the reasoning I can just hit you with a link about the greatness of David Holston. Since John Roberson is injured, the decision seemed to be an easy one, especially after his stellar February that saw him get a double-double in a win over Galatasaray in Istanbul.
At the other guard, 6'5'' from Filou Oostende: Levi Randolph. He's getting 16.4 points per game for Filou Oostende, and is probably one of the toughest one-on-one players in the entire BCL.
He can drive, he can shoot, he loves his midrange shots, but he's also dominant in the low post. Randolph is 29, we've seen him around the League with Sidigas Avellino, Banco di Sardegna Sassari and SIG Strasbourg, but he has never been this efficient in Europe.
At forward, 6'5'' from MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg: Justin Simon.
Remember when it said DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell would lose the Final of the Dunk Contest to a guy from Team West? Yeah, that's Justin Simon. Averaging 16.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game, he could be in another battle with Akoon-Purcell - the MVP one.
One thing is for sure, though. Don't expect Simon in the Three Point Contest, 5-of-19 this season. Ouch.
At the other forward, 6'6'' from BAXI Manresa: Chima Moneke. The energy of this guy is off the charts, and it's contagious because he's got his stunt doubles in the stands anywhere he shows up.
Moneke would be the players with the best personal highlights from this imaginary All-Star Game. He's that guy who'd get the other team to laugh at something he said, and then block them at the rim or dunk all over the entire East squad on next possession.
At center, 7'1'' from Lenovo Tenerife: Giorgi Shermadini.
He's currently averaging 14.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game on a team that's 3-0 in the Round of 16. Keep in mind he had a tough back injury this season, forcing him to miss two months of action.
Shermadini was close to winning the MVP of the Season award last time around, still picking up a spot in the Star Lineup of 2020-21. Don't be surprised if he adds another personal piece of silverware in 2021-22.
Dario Brizuela, Axel Bouteille (Unicaja), Rashard Kelly (JDA Dijon), DeAndre Lansdowne, Matt Mitchell (SIG Strasbourg), Joe Thomasson, Ismael Bako (BAXI Manresa), Giordano Bortolani (Nutribullet Treviso), Marcelinho Huertas, Kyle Wiltjer (Lenovo Tenerife).
So, who you got? Team East or Team West?
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