Both teams face each other in Regular Season action for the second consecutive season. In the 2019-20 campaign, Nanterre beat Olimpija twice. Olimpija won the Slovenian SuperCup and players like Kendrick Perry and Roko Ukic showed a quick adjustment to the team. Olimpija, however, lost big man Mangok Mathiang for several months due to a broken leg. Nanterre managed to keep Isaia Cordinier, adding two interesting scorers like Tyler Stone and Dwight Buycks, and promoting top prospect Victor Wembanyama.
Perry has been really solid so far this season, leading Olimpija since day one. He is a fast, athletic playmaker with terrific ballhandling who has improved his shooting skills over the years to be an all-around threat. His court sense and defensive intensity will be critical against a force of nature like Cordinier, one of the most explosive players in the competition. Cordinier is deadly in transition due to his quickness, athleticism and outstanding aggresiveness. Whoever brings in the most energy can probably lead his team to victory.
Keys to victory: Nanterre 92
As always, everything starts with strong, physical defense when it comes to head coach Pascal Donnadieu's team. He has the right team to do so, getting defensive stops to run the floor in transition. In that sense, Cordinier is set to get plenty of help from Buycks and Johnny Berhanemeskel to get many fast break points. Stone must use his size and deep range against Edo Muric and Rion Brown. Olimpija is missing his starting center, so it might be a good moment to give Wembanyama extended playing time to make the most out his size and all-around skills.
Keys to victory: Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
Without Mathiang, Ivan Marinkovic, Mikael Hopkins and Brown are set to see extended playing time around the baskets. With a shorter rotation, they must try to lock the defensive glass without getting into foul trouble. On offense, Perry is expected to have freedom to run the team’s offense, with a more experience point guard like Ukic backing him up. Olimpija must run its offense through Jaka Blazic and Perry, their most aggressive players, in order to find advantages and dominate the game tempo, giving it more chances to get an important opening win.