The best teams in the 7DAYS EuroCup are always built on depth, however, the winners also have on-court leaders who know how to make the difference. These elite talents all have different ways to leave their marks on their teams. It's not about the numbers, but rather about consistency, stepping up in big moments and winning games. Of course, the best players also can boast pretty impressive numbers, too. Behold the top five difference-makers from teams with winning records in the EuroCup this season.
Axel Toupane, Unicaja Malaga
Unicaja is one of five teams tied for the best record in the EuroCup at 6-2 and the play of swingman Axel Toupane is a big reason for that. Back in the competition for the first time in five years, he missed the first two games due to injury but then jumped right in as a major performer. Toupane, 27, leads the team in scoring (12.8 ppg.), three-point accuracy (45%), steals (1.3 spg.) and performance index rating (12.8). Unicaja is 4-0 when he scores in double figures and Toupane has averaged 15.8 points on 9-of-16 three-point shooting (56.3%), 1.8 steals and a PIR of 17.8 in those wins.
Johnathan Hamilton, Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul
One of the most dangerous centers in the EuroCup, Johnathan Hamilton has taken the competition by storm in his debut go-around and leads all players in offensive rebounding 4.4 (orpg.) and blocked shots (2.1 bpg.) while ranking second overall in total rebounds (8.8 rpg.). Among players with at least 50 shots attempted this season, he has the second-highest shooting percentage (66.1%). A model of consistency, Hamilton has posted a performance index rating of at least 16 in every game and his average of 18.4 is sixth in the EuroCup. Where his presence may be felt most is as an intimidator and rim protector; Darussafaka is 5-0 when he has multiple blocks in a game.
Tyler Larson, EWE Baskets Oldenburg
Oldenburg may have started its turnaround before Tyler Larson came aboard, but the 27-year-old guard has lifted the team to new heights since his arrival. The club is 3-0 with Larson in the lineup and he has posted 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals for an average performance index rating of 19.7 PIR in those games. His shooting numbers (66.7% of two-pointers, 53.8% on three-pointers) are off the charts and he has played aggressively on defense, as can be seen from his average of 4.0 fouls committed per game. Larson's best game was his most-recent one; he had the fourth-most points scored in the EuroCup this season with 31 in a victory over Dolomiti Energia Trento after which he was named EuroCup MVP for Round 8.
Errick McCollum, UNICS Kazan
A former EuroCup MVP and champion, Errick McCollum has produced some of his best basketball this season to carry UNICS to a share of the top spot in Group C. In his team's five victories, McCollum has scored in double figures four times and in the other game, he delivered the game-winning buzzer-beating pull-up jumper. He was the MVP for Round 4 after scorching Joventut Badalona for 32 points and a performance index rating of 41, the latter representing the highest PIR by any player all season. McCollum's average PIR of 23.2 in victories also leads the league. He ranks third in average PIR for all games (19.9), sixth in scoring (16.8 ppg.) and leads UNICS in assists (4.1 apg.). As UNICS looks to make a deep EuroCup run, there is no doubt that McCollum will be at the fore.
Milos Teodosic, Segafredo Virtus Bologna
One of the greatest players in Europe over the past decade, Milos Teodosic returned to the EuroCup for the first time since the day after he turned 20 and he has lived up to his superstar status. Teodosic, 32, has Virtus tied for the best record in Group A and, despite coming off the bench in all seven of his appearances, has been the motor that makes his team run. He has scored in double figures and made at least 1 three-pointer in every game and ranks fifth in the competition in scoring (17.0 ppg.) and ninth in assists (5.9 apg.). Virtus is 4-0 when Teodosic has delivered at least 5 assists and 5-1 when he has made multiple threes. In one of those games, against AS Monaco, he buried the game-winner on the final buzzer. A former EuroLeague champion and EuroLeague MVP, Teodosic may well add EuroCup honors to his impressive c.v. before long.