Three teams – Partizan NIS Belgrade, EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul – scored double-digit victories in Round 1 of the Top 16. Here's a review of the current 7DAYS EuroCup landscape through the lens of statistics.
There was plenty of drama in Round 1 as several teams scored upsets to begin their Top 16 campaigns. Partizan NIS Belgrade's win over Segafredo Virtus Bologna was not entirely unexpected in the confines of Stark Arena, but their 18-point margin of victory was the highest of the round against a Virtus team that 42% of general managers put through to the finals in the 2019-20 mid-season survey.
Living up to its billing as the league's toughest opponent from that same survey, Partizan benefitted from one of the best backcourt scoring performances of the season as the trio of Torrian Walden, Marcus Paige and Nemanja Gordic poured in 64 points over 38 possessions – nearly tripling the 24.9 points they had averaged over 28.6 possessions per game coming in. What stands out about that outburst was just how much scoring Partizan's guards did off the dribble. This was not a case of a team moving the ball and drilling open, spot-up jumpers. Rather, the trio scored 40 points on isolation and pick-and-roll situations. With teams scoring just such 15.6 points per game on such attempts on average, Partizan picked an excellent time for one of the most dynamic offense performances in recent memory.
Open Jump Shots
While Partizan's guards made things happen off the dribble in their Round 1 victory, several teams have been especially consistent this season producing open, high-percentage catch-and-shoot jump shots. On average, 30% of all shot attempts within a team's half-court offense are catch-and-shoot jumpers, with 57% of those opportunities being open looks. That distinction is important as open attempts are converted at an impressive rate of 1.15 points per attempt while guarded attempts result in 0.94 points – just below the EuroCup average for all possessions.
Umana Reyer Venice has done much of its best work defensively this season, but one of the big reasons it won Regular Season Group B was offensive execution. Reyer has generated more unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers than any team this season and has converted them for 1.23 points per attempt. That ability to play inside-out takes quite a bit of pressure off Reyer's ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll. Michael Bramos has been especially effective hitting open jumpers, but Julyan Stone has been key to Reyer's success as well.
Joventut Badalona ranks 16th this season in unguarded efficiency, scoring 1.09 points per open attempt. Its shooters do a nice job picking and choosing their spots, looking for early shots on the perimeter and giving their offense a boost despite low efficiency. They do not rely on any one player to space the floor but do share a collective unselfishness when it comes to making the extra pass.
Germani Brescia Leonessa is the EuroCup's top-ranked defense. They have not made shots at an especially high level this season, but the patience they show looking for quality looks on some possessions has kept them in games. Playing at a methodical pace, Brescia has leaned on DeAndre Lansdowne to provide value as a floor spacer. He is, by far, the team's most reliable weapon in that regard.
Looking ahead to Round 2
There's no shortage of urgency in every Top 16 game and Round 2 features several critical games for teams with postseason aspirations that fell in Round 1. Segafredo Virtus Bologna, Promitheas Patras, Umana Reyer Venice, Unicaja Malaga, and MoraBanc Andorra all entered the Top 16 with highly ranked efficiency margins but came up short in their openers.