Having players who can showcase their best basketball at the right time is an asset that every championship team needs in any competition. The 7DAYS EuroCup is no exception. Some players may have needed an adjustment period to a new level of competition to bring out the best in themselves, while others took advantage of opportunities and made the most out of newly-found extended playing time. Here are five players who have dramatically improved their numbers in the 2020-21 Top 16.
5 - Oriol Pauli, MoraBanc Andorra
A EuroCup veteran in his sixth season in the competition, Oriol Pauli joined MoraBanc Andorra last summer after six years with Herbalife Gran Canaria. He suffered an injury in the pre-season and it took him some time to adjust to a new situation – a different club, a different role and much different weather. Pauli averaged 6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in regular-season action and boosted those numbers to 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the Top 16. Versatile and experienced, Pauli has a rare combination of speed and ballhandling that he uses to beat his defenders in one-on-one situations. On top of that, he possesses unlimited shooting range and can finish above the rim due to his athletic skills. Pauli will look to continue to rise to all challenges for Andorra in their upcoming critical games.
4 - Rob Gray, AS Monaco
Rob Gray started the 2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup season with Boulogne Metropolitans 92 and played four regular season games with that cub in which he averaged 14.5 points. Gray joined AS Monaco after Khadeem Carrington went down with a season-ending injury, but he was not eligible to play for a different EuroCup team until the Top 16. He had plenty of time to adjust to his new team and by the time Gray returned to the EuroCup, he was ready. Gray is a great shooter with deep shooting range who can also find an open teammate due to his high basketball IQ. He has boosted his scoring average to 20.0 points per game on 65.0% three-point shooting (13 of 20) with Monaco. Gray leads the Top 16 in scoring along with Jaka Blazic of Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana.
3 - Luke Maye, Dolomiti Energia Trento
When Luke Maye joined Dolomiti Energia Trento, he had no previous experience in European basketball. He had a successful college career at North Carolina, which he helped win the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and averaged a double-double in his final two seasons with the Tar Heels. After one season with Wisconsin Herd of the G-League, Maye decided to travel to Italy and join Trento. In his case, an adjustment period was needed to a different style of basketball and a new country, but recently Maye has been showing his best version. He powers the boards and scores in many ways - jumpers, driving layups, three-pointers. After he averaged 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in the regular season, Maye has taken his numbers to 16.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in the Top 16, including earning 7DAYS EuroCup MVP of the Week after a Round 2 victory over Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar.
2 - David Michineau, Boulougne Metropolitans 92
Boulogne Metropolitans 92 has continued winning despite injuries and absences. One of the players who has stepped up when with others sidelined has been playmaker David Michineau. He has made the most of his extended playing time by showing his passing skills, extraordinary athleticism and court sense. Michineau averaged 6.4 points on 15.4% three-point shooting and 3.7 assists in the regular season, but with point guard Brandon Brown among three starters not with the team at the start of the Top 16, Michineau rose to the call and boosted his numbers to 17.3 points on 45.0% three-point shooting and 5.0 assists in the second group stage. Even though Metropolitans signed another playmaker, Paul Stoll, Michineau kept his starting spot. He is ranked eighth in Top 16 in PIR (18.0) after averaging 4.0 in the regular season.
1 - Vince Hunter, Virtus Segafredo Bologna
Virtus Segafredo Bologna remains the only undefeated team left in the competition and one of the many keys to that success is that a lot of players have stepped up in different moments of the season. Vince Hunter, a dominant big man with EuroLeague experience, is a great finisher and with great passers like Milos Teodosic and Stefan Markovic, it was only a matter of time before he posted big numbers. Hunter averaged 6.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10 regular season games, with less than 13 minutes played per game, on average. With almost twice as much playing time, Hunter has been unstoppable in the Top 16. He leads the phase in average PIR (23.0), with 16.0 points on 65.6% two-point shooting, 80.0% on free throws and 7.3 rebounds, helping make Virtus an even better team.