Top 16, Group H analysis

Jan 13, 2021 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Top 16, Group H analysis

Group H has a little bit of everything: a former 7DAYS EuroCup champion, teams that have done great in recent years and a rising powerhouse rewriting its own history. UNICS Kazan won the EuroCup title in 2011 and reached the finals in 2014. No other team has played more games in the competition: 217. Herbalife Gran Canaria is tied for fourth place on that list, with 176 games played, and reached the EuroCup Finals in 2015. MoraBanc Andorra is in its fourth consecutive EuroCup season and made it to the semifinals in 2019, while Mornar Bar has reached the Top 16 for the first time and promises to make a lot of noise.

Letting it fly

Three-point shots are really important for all four of these teams, so expect to see plenty of them flying in Group H. Andorra leads the EuroCup in three-point attempts, with 31.8 per game, but Gran Canaria is right behind (31.7) in second place. Mornar ranks sixth overall (27.5 per game) and UNICS is not far behind (25.5). Gran Canaria leads the EuroCup in three-point shots made (129) at a rate of 40.7%, which ranks third overall. Despite its many attempts from beyond the arc, Andorra ranks 21st in three-point accuracy (32.7%). Mornar is not shooting well from downtown, either, despite its many attempts (34.6%), while UNICS ranked seventh at the end of the regular season (38.4%) for accuracy. UNICS features Jamar Smith, the EuroCup's all-time leader in three-point shooting, and he's doing better than ever this season, with 28 of 48 made at a rate of 58.3%, third-highest in the regular season.

New, experienced players

All four teams added depth to their rosters in recent weeks. Mornar added experienced playmaker Nemanja Gordic, a marquee addition who will provide high basketball IQ and court sense to a roster already full of well-rounded players. Gran Canaria bolstered its frontcourt by adding big man Earl Clark. He is making his EuroCup debut but already did well in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, averaging 11.7 points in 29 games with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in the 2018-19 campaign. Andorra also got stronger under the rims by bringing in old-school center Art Parakhouski, a EuroCup veteran. Parakhouski has played 56 EuroCup games, averaging 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots. He ranks 12th all-time in blocks (69) and 47th in rebounds (322). UNICS recently brought in playmaker Jordan Theodore, who already played a couple of regular season games with the Russian powerhouse. Theodore already played for UNICS in the 2019-20 EuroCup, averaging 8.7 points and 4.8 assists.

Injury-free

As many as 117 players took part in all 10 EuroCup Regular Season games but only 18 of them are in Group H. All four teams had severe injury problems throughout the first group stage but look forward to a healthier Top 16. Only two Gran Canaria players, Stan Okoye and John Shurna, played their team's first 10 showdowns. UNICS only featured four players with 10 EuroCup appearances this season: Dmitrii Uzinskii, Evgeny Koleshnikov, John Brown and Isaiah Canaan. Andorra had six players available in all 10 games, but most of its big men -- Bandja Sy, Tyson Perez, Malick Dime and Moussa Diagne -- missed time due to injuries. Diagne has played 10 minutes in the EuroCup this season after totaling 164 over nine games of the 2019-20 campaign. Mornar also had six players available in all 10 games, and power forward Kenny Gabriel was one of two players in all of Group H to start in each and every EuroCup showdown until now; Canaan is the other. With new players coming in and others coming back, we should see all four teams at their full potential in what promises to be a very competitive group.

Scoring guards all around

Group H is full of players who can really fill the baskets. UNICS relies on Smith and Canaan to do so. Smith reached the 20-point mark four times this season. Meanwhile, Canaan had 33 points and a PIR of 39 in a win against JL Bourg en Bresse, which proves his scoring potential. Okoye already had some big games for Gran Canaria, scoring more than 20 points three times this season. He had a season-high 25 points against Promitheas Patras. A former Gran Canaria player, Hannah stepped up for Andorra in the most decisive moment, scoring 27 points in a loss against Lietkabelis Panevezys, but scoring enough to win the tie-break advantage to mathematically qualify to the Top 16. Of course, Mornar has its own elite scorer in Jacob Pullen, who is averaging 17.6 points until now. He scored 20 points or more six times already, getting 27 against Boulogne Metropolitans 92. So if you like scoring guards, sit back, relax and enjoy the shot, because Group H is full of them!