It is a never-seen-before showdown in European competitions between two of the teams that made it to the EuroCup playoffs in the 2019-20 campaign. Reyer returns with the same core of players that led the team to a new golden age - after 75 years without titles, the team won one in each of the last four seasons. Mitchell Watt, Austin Daye, Mike Bramos and Jeremy Chappell will keep leading the team. UNICS kept Jamar Smith and added well-rounded players like Isaiah Canaan, John Brown, Okaro White or Nate Wolters. Expect a high-profile showdown.
Simply put, Smith is one of the best shooters in competition history. He needs 18 three-point shots to lead the all-time standings. Smith, a great shooter with outstanding ballhandling and deep range, hit 47 of 89 shots from downtown (52.8%) last season, so it is safe to say he can break Rafa Martinez's record this season. This time, he will face a hard-nosed defender who can also pull the trigger from downtown, none other than Bramos, an experienced swingman who always plays hard at both ends.
Keys to victory: Umana Reyer Venice
Above all, UNICS has a new team and Reyer has kept most of the players who have been working together for years, led by head coach Walter De Raffaelle. Its main addition, big man Isaac Fotu, makes Reyer even more versatile around the rims, as he can play alongside Watt to power the boards, to team up with Daye to open the floor. Reyes has a very team-oriented roster and everyone understands that team basketball led the team this far over the last four years. Being able to keep that mentality will give Reyer an edge in most games.
Keys to victory: UNICS Kazan
Not many teams will be able to beat Reyer in Venice, but UNICS has the talent and potential to do so. Brown, whose career has been centered in Italy, is set to use that experience to go against Watt and Daye. White and Jordan Morgan are versatile players who can give Daye trouble on defense but also generate mismatches on offense. UNICS heavily rely on its playmakers, Wolters and Canaan, who must set the right game tempo, getting scorers like Smith, John Holland and Evgeny Kolesnikov involved. UNICS must use its physicality on defense to stop Reyer's shooters.