EuroCup Stepping Stones: Timofey Mozgov

Aug 26, 2020 by Print
EuroCup Stepping Stones: Timofey Mozgov

Timofey Mozgov was among the top centers in the world in his prime after winning an Olympic bronze medal and an NBA title. Those successes came after he helped Khimki Moscow Region reach the 2009 EuroCup Championship Game. Mozgov starting his professional career with LenVo St Petersburg in the Russian second division and also played for Samara’s second team before moving to Khimki in 2006. He made his EuroCup debut in 2008-09 with Khimki and it was a season to remember.

EuroCup experience

Mozgov was just 22 years of age when he first played in the EuroCup and he did not stand out in his first game; the center tallied 2 points and 1 rebound in 2 minutes at the end of a blowout win over STB Le Havre in the season opener. He did not play in the EuroCup again until Round 4 against Besiktas Istanbul when he collected 8 points and 8 rebounds in just 12 minutes. That performance gave Mozgov confidence and he tallied 13 points and 15 rebounds in the return game at Le Harve and finished the regular season with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks against Benetton Basket.

Mozgov had an even bigger game in Round 4 of the Top 16 against Panellinios Athens with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks for a performance index rating of 28. He was held to 2 points in the next game against Maroussi Costa Coffee, though he made a major impact on defense with 4 blocked shots. In the quarterfinals against Valencia, Mozgov was held scoreless with 1 rebound and 1 block in 7 minutes before stepping up with 7 points, 2 boards and 5 blocks in helping Khimki beat Bilbao in the semifinals. Mozgov posted 11 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block in 20 minutes in the championship game, but it was not enough as Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius triumphed 80-74 loss. For the season, the big man averaged 8.4 points while shooting 56.7 percent from the field to go with 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Mozgov ranked second in the EuroCup in blocks for the season and was tied for seventh in rebounds.

What came after

Khimki was granted a spot in the EuroLeague for the 2009-10 campaign and Mozgov remained with the club and made his debut in the competition. He averaged 6.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 16 games. New York was intrigued by Mozgov's play and signed him to a three-year deal in the summer fo 2010. After a slow start to his NBA career, he went for 23 points and 14 rebounds against Detroit. Just weeks later, Mozgov was sent to Denver in a trade for Carmelo Anthony. When the start of the 2011-12 NBA season was postponed due to a lockout, Mozgov returned to play for Khimki. He averaged 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in three games in the EuroCup before the lockout ended and Mozgov returned to the NBA.

Mozgov remained with Denver until the 2014-15 season when he was traded to Cleveland and reunited with Coach David Blatt, who knew the center well from their time together on the Russian national team. Mozgov tasted his biggest club success with Cleveland; he reached the NBA Finals in 2015 and won the NBA title in 2016. He posted three double-doubles and averaged 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in the 2015 finals. Mozgov left signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2016 and later spent a season with Brooklyn. He also played many years with the Russian national team with which he won respective bronze medals at the 2012 Olympics and EuroBasket 2011. The last time Mozgov took the court was with Russia in a World Cup qualifier against France in July 2018. He suffered a knee injury that he has not yet fully recovered from. At age 34, Mozgov's future remains unclear, but his past includes a great run in the EuroCup.