The 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 has reshuffled the deck of teams that survived the regular season and is ready for takeoff on Wednesday, January 2. Here are some key stats to keep in mind as all these new opponents clash.
One Stat Per Team: Group E
Group E is the only one in the Top 16 that has two teams with negative efficiency differentials. However, both Partizan and Vilnius finished the regular season stronger than they started it and now Group E features the tightest pack of teams in efficiency differential, which should make for a very competitive six weeks of games.
AS Monaco – 0.92 points per possession allowed
Finishing the regular season ranked third in points per possession allowed, Monaco has defended the perimeter at a high level in the half court and excelled in transition. They enter the Top 16 as one of the EuroCup's most well-rounded defensive teams, ranking below average in only one defensive area in particular: post-ups.
ALBA Berlin – 15.2 transition points per game
No team Top 16 team scored more points pushing the ball than ALBA, and that despite missing the team's engine of success, Peyton Siva, for four games. Playing at the fastest pace of any team in the EuroCup, ALBA holds a major advantage when they are forcing turnovers and controlling the tempo of games.
Partizan NIS Belgrade – 0.13 points per possession better in wins
When Partizan has performed well offensively this season, they have performed extremely well. In their four wins, they scored 1.00 points per possession compared to 0.87 points per possession in their six losses. They have a high ceiling offensively and it shines when they limit their turnovers and establish their shooters early.
Rytas Vilnius – 36.2 points created out of the pick-and-roll
Rytas has thrived offensively on several nights this season, and when that happened, it has been a result of the team's pick-and-roll play. In wins, Rytas has created 36.2 points per game with ball-screen actions compared to 27.4 points per game in losses. When they can establish their roll men early, they tend to find a comfortable rhythm offensively.
One Stat Per Team: Group F
Group F is the top defensive group in the Top 16 on paper and features four teams that do one or two things at historically great levels. Those quirks give this group perhaps the greatest contrast of styles of any group this season.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar – 0.89 points per possession allowed in the half court
Lokomotiv ranked second in the regular season in points-per-possession differential, and their half-court defense is a big reason why. The Russian club has done a nice job defending the perimeter, but they have been tremendous contesting shots around the rim and in the post, giving up few easy baskets all season.
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne – 1.39 points per transition possession
No EuroCup team this season – and very few in regular season history – have been as efficient scoring the ball in transition as ASVEL. As a team, they have shot an astounding 72% in transition, doing much of their best work offensively in the open floor. When they are forcing turnovers and long misses defensively, it sparks fastbreak opportunities and gives their efficiency on the other end a substantial boost.
Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt – 1.48 points per roll man possession
Skyliners' roll men have scored more points than those of any other Top 16 team thanks to their stellar efficiency. With one of the competition's more prolific pick-and-pop threats of all time, Erik Murphy, Frankfurt forces opposing defenses to game-plan for their screeners.
ratiopharm Ulm – 0.65 points per pick-and-roll ball handler possession allowed
Ulm's overall efficiency numbers may not jump off the page, but they have excelled in one key area like few teams in EuroCup history: disrupting the pick-and-roll. Forcing turnovers on nearly a third of the possessions used by opposing pick-and-roll ball handlers, Ulm's defenders take some bold risks defensively, but have come out ahead more often than not this season on that end of the floor.
One Stat Per Team: Group G
Group G features three of the top four teams in regular season efficiency differential and ranks as the most efficient offensive group on paper, which should make for an extremely competitive battle to advance. With the top two offensive teams and the top defensive team in the EuroCup, Group G has no shortage of storylines worth following.
Valencia Basket – 1.24 points per spot-up possession
Valencia enters the Top 16 leading the EuroCup in efficiency differential while playing at the competition's slowest pace. Its top-ranked offense has been key to that impressive resume, and its shooters have driven the team's success on offense. Leading the competition in spot-up efficiency, Valencia's stable of high-level shooters puts a great deal of pressure on opposing defenses to stay attached on the perimeter.
Unicaja Malaga – 1.067 points per short shot-clock possession
Few teams in EuroCup history have made timely shots quite like Unicaja has this season. Unicaja has scored as efficiently with the shot clock under four seconds as the EuroCup's most efficient half-court offense has been overall. Converting shots under duress at a remarkable rate playing inside-out, few teams have been as clutch or imposing around the rim as the Spanish club.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade – 0.88 points per half-court possession allowed
Providing some contrast to Group G's high-powered offenses, Zvezda has done its best work this season defensively, particularly in the half court. Chasing jump shooters off the line and defending one-on-one effectively, the Serbian club will present a unique challenge to its offensive-minded peers.
Limoges CSP – 1.05 points per possession created out of the pick-and-roll
A slightly below average 34% of Limoges's possessions are created out of the pick-and-roll, and their roll men score at just an average rate, but their ballhandlers are shooters have been so effective that Limoges still ranks as the EuroCup's most efficient pick-and-roll attack. Limoges's ability to make shots both off the catch and off the dribble at an extremely high rate gives this team unique potential for breakout offensive performances.
One Stat Per Team: Group H
Group H is the only group to not include any teams with a negative efficiency differential. With so many teams accustomed to success – especially on the offensive end – it will be interesting to see which of the four can find a comfort level when they are eventually forced to play from behind.
UNICS Kazan – 12% offensive turnover rate
UNICS is a well-rounded offensive team whose shot-making and ability to draw fouls is magnified by a EuroCup-low turnover rate. Few teams in EuroCup history have posted a turnover rate under 13%, and UNICS does an admirable job limiting their mistakes offensively – a plus for them on both ends.
Zenit St Petersburg – +6% turnover differential
Zenit St Petersburg is a bit of interesting case this season. A very capable offensive team that thrives in the post and has few significant weaknesses when it comes to scoring the ball, its success has often boiled down to turnovers. With a turnover percentage differential of -3% in losses, but +6% in wins, Zenit has proven difficult to beat when they can manage to play a more disruptive style of defense and win the possession battle.
Cedevita Zagreb – 0.57 points per short shot-clock possession allowed
Like Zenit, Cedevita's success this season has regularly hinged on one key metric. In wins, the Croatian club has allowed 0.57 points per short shot-clock possession compared to 0.94 points in losses. Whether finishing stops better or benefitting from some timely misses by the opposition, Cedevita has allowed nearly 9 fewer points with the clock winding down in its victories.
MoraBanc Andorra – 46.2% of half court possessions via pick-and-roll play
Andorra relied more heavily on pick-and-rolls to create shots than any team in the regular season. Few teams set as many ball screens as Andorra, and it will be interesting to see what that means to the team's fortunes in Group H, which includes three of the Top 16's least efficient pick-and-roll defenses, on paper.