Finals matchup: Priftis vs Mitrovic at head coach

Apr 26, 2021 by Print
Finals matchup: Priftis vs Mitrovic at head coach

Head coaches Dimitris Priftis and Zvezda Mitrovic go head-to-head for the first time in an official game with each aiming for his first EuroCup crown. Guided by Priftis, UNICS Kazan has been on a scoring spree lately, while Mitrovic's AS Monaco has mostly won behind its stiff, physical defense. Both coaches had successful campaigns in the EuroCup before this season, but now have taken their respective teams to the EuroCup Finals, which tip of with Monaco hosting Game 1 on Tuesday.

Dimitris Priftis, UNICS

In four seasons on the UNICS bench, Priftis has accumulated a 52-26 record and UNICS has reached at the least quarterfinals each year under his helm. This season, the run has extended to the EuroCup Finals giving the 52-year-old Priftis and UNICS a chance to attain EuroCup glory. His team is one of the best scoring and three-point shooting teams in the competition. UNICS can win games with its defense, which was the case in the first five Top 16 games – a stretch of wins in which UNICS held each opponent to 70 or fewer points. Since then, however, Priftis's team has played looser with the players getting the chance to improvise more; that has paid dividends. UNICS has been attempting 30.2 three-point shots since the start of the playoffs and the two highest-scoring performances Priftis's team has had this season came in the playoffs with 94 points in Game 1 of the quarterfinals before a record-setting 100-107 victory in the deciding Game 3 of the semifinals. There is no reason to believe UNICS will step away from what has worked lately and will try to fire its way to the title.

Zvezdan Mitrovic, AS Monaco

Monaco head coach led his team to a place in the EuroCup Finals in his only second season in the competition. After reaching the quarterfinals with LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in its debut in the competition two years ago, the 51-year-old Mitrovic has now paced Monaco to a 15-6 record with his team having won 10 of its last 12 games entering the finals series. Monaco under Mitrovic has played strong defense the entire season, but especially early on when it led the regular season with the fewest points allowed, 72.4 per game. Since then, however, Monaco has picked up offensively, too. The team lit it up in the Top 16, averaging 91.3 points over six games. During the playoffs, it was back to defense; Monaco has kept opponents to 77 or fewer points in four of its five playoff games. Mitrovic has a shorter rotation and does not make many changes to his starting lineup; four players – Dee Bost, Mathias Lessort, Damien Inglis and Marcos Knight – have been starters for the majority of the season and in each of the playoff games so far.