The BCL Showdown
MIES (Switzerland) - “Monday's child is ever smiling, Tuesday's child will play in sun, Wednesday comes with a gun, Thursday tears have just begun." Or so goes the lyrics to Alice Smith’s excellent version of Wednesday’s Child from the even more excellent Western, The Harder They Fall.
As you may have guessed from the title “BCL Showdown”, we are searching for the baddest gunslingers on the BCL wanted poster. Ok, so maybe not actual gunslingers but we are absolutely looking for the best shooters and the guys we are talking about have definitely come with their guns loaded on Wednesday nights and left plenty of tears behind them on Thursday mornings.
Now we have established our theme, we need to layout the characters. There is, you see, much more than one type of shooter and if we are to find out who is walking away from our showdown alive, we need to look at all the different specialists.
We are talking about those that shoot from the hip. Quick-release and an itchy trigger finger, these guys always want to be the first to get a shot off and they aren’t shy to keep shooting until no man is left standing. This is The Man With No Name from A Fistfull of Dollars or in our theme movie, Cherokee Bill.
Dee Bost - Galatasaray NEF
Our first candidate for this has to be Dee Bost. Nobody has ever averaged ten attempts from 3-point range before. Gabe York was the closest with 9.4 in the 19/20 season. Not only is Bost getting shots off in unprecedented volume, but he’s also managing to maintain the efficiency shooting 36.7 percent on those ten attempts. Galatasaray under Ekrem Memnun play at the kind of pace that suits Bost down to the ground and he’s clearly been given his gun license by his coach. If you need any evidence of that, check the one-legged runner from behind the line in the video below.
Jalen Adams - Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem
There is always the young pretender that thinks they have what it takes to claim the title of fastest gun in the west. This year's BCL season is no different. This may only be Adams’ first full season in European basketball but he’s already showing enough skill as a shooter to leave defenders quaking in their hightops all over the league. An outrageous 45 percent shooting on 6.2 attempts shows that not only is he not afraid to let them go, including five huge threes in the vital win at Pinar Karsiyaka, but he's also incredibly accurate. An average of 17.9 points also makes him the top scorer of all the shooters in our showdown.
John Roberson (SIG Strasbourg), Jalen Riley (VEF Riga), Melo Trimble (Galatasaray NEF).
Never leave this desperado for dead. Just when you think the movie is over our outlaw-hero is coming from nowhere and taking the killer shot. Our hero rides in on a horse massively outnumbered, takes out the bad guy, rescues the girl, and rides off into the sunset. We are talking about John Wayne or in our case, Nat Love.
Vitor Benite - Hereda San Pablo Burgos
Double champion and reigning Final 4 MVP, Benite currently has the strongest claim to play the hero in our showdown. He may not take the most shots and he may not even have the highest shooting percentage this season but when Burgos need somebody to take the game-winning shot, the ball is almost certainly going to Vitor, the Brilliant Brazilian, Benite. Running off screens or making it happen off the dribble, you always get that feeling of inevitability that the ball is going in when it matters most (Just ask Besiktas), and just because we say he isn’t taking the most shots, or shooting the highest percentage, that doesn’t mean that 43.3 percent on 6 attempts isn’t seriously impressive for the season
Devaughn Akoon-Purcell (Galatasaray NEF), Patrick Richard (U-BT Cluj Napoca), Pako Cruz (Tofa Bursa).
Every hero always has backup from a Sniper on the roof. Out-numbered or out-gunned? It doesn’t matter when you have a rugged shooter in a god’s eye perch that could shoot the cigar out of your mouth from a thousand feet (or something like that). This is your Private Jackson from Saving Private Ryan and in our showdown Bill Pickett.
Sasu Salin - Lenovo Tenerife
If we consider that the deadliest sniper in history is widely recognized as Simo Hayha from Finland, it should probably come as no surprise that we have another Fin at the top of this category. How many times have we seen Tenerife’s Susijengi Sniper run off twenty screens and knock down the sharpest of shots? Off-balance going right, off-balance going left, it doesn’t matter, once Salin has the rim in his crosshairs you already know he isn’t going to miss. 42.4 percent from deep on 5.5 attempts is exactly what we have grown to expect from Salin. In fact, across all three of his seasons in the BCL, Salin is yet to shoot less than 40 percent from deep. Tenerife’s Finnish Marksman is the picture of consistency.
Jordan Hulls (MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg), Giordano Bortolani (Nutribullet Treviso), Dario Brizuela (Unicaja).
The Big Boss
Every movie has a villain and ours is no different. This category is for the big men. They strike fear into the hearts of everyone when they stride into town and always have that mean snarling look in their eye when they kick open the saloon doors. The big boss may not talk much but they always have the best lines. We are talking about Angel Eyes from The Good The Bad And The Ugly and from The Harder They Fall, Rufus Buck.
Kyle Wiltjer - Lenovo Tenerife
We really didn’t want to pick two shooters from the same team but like all villains, Kyle Wiltjer really didn’t give us much choice. At 6’11” this Canadian Caballero really shouldn’t be shooting 47 percent from the great beyond... but he is. Wiltjer is such a good shooter he could shoot the gun out of your hand from under the poker table. Unlike the other candidates for the stretch shooter category, Wiltjer is also much more than just a stand-still, spot-up guy, he can post you up, take you off the dribble, and hit the step back. In fact, he can do pretty much anything he wants on the offensive end. Kyle Wiltjer really is a bad man.
Pierre-Antoine Gillet (Filou Oostende), Viacheslav Petrov (Prometey), Tim Abromaitis (Unicaja).