The biggest signing of the season for Real was probably the addition of guard Nico Laprovittola, who had two huge seasons in Spain with Joventut Badalona and earned Spanish League MVP honors last season. After playing for several European teams the last few seasons, Laprovittola seems to have finally blossomed into a player ready to lead one of the biggest teams in the EuroLeague. The other new face in the Spanish capital is big man Jordan Mickey, who arrives from Khimki Moscow Region after his stellar debut season in the EuroLeague.
Real's backcourt will have most of its familiar names coming back for another go at the title. At point guard, Facu Campazzo will lead the charge after his recent contract extension with the club until 2024. Campazzo's 8.4 points and 5.6 assists last season put him at the helm of the team. Superstar Sergio Llull is also back with his energy, experience and leadership as a main pillar in the team after 13 straight seasons with Real. He will be backed in that regard by another team veteran, Rudy Fernandez, who will be in his ninth straight season dressing in white. Fabien Causeur, another player to have extended his contract with the team, is back to provide his know-how in key moments of the season. One of the league's deadliest shooters, Jaycee Carroll, returns for his ninth season under Coach Pablo Laso. Last season, Carroll averaged 9.7 points for Los Blancos. The Real backcourt is completed by newcomer Laprovittola, the reigning Spanish League MVP, who netted 17.1 points in 36 games last season. Laprovittola returns to the EuroLeague after his debut in 2016 with Baskonia, during which he played 14 games.
Switching to the frontcourt, the first thing that comes to mind is that the team will have to make up for the departure of Gustavo Ayon, who had been a main reference in the paint for Real. However, this summer the club made sure to secure big man Edy Tavares for the next seasons as he has become one of the most dominant players in the league with 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. Tavares will be joined by newcomer Mickey, who had a good debut season with Khimki last year averaging 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 28 games off the bench. More familiar names will complete the versatile Real frontcourt, starting with Anthony Randolph, a player who has demonstrated he can have a very important role on the winningest team in Europe, and continuing with Trey Thompkins and Jeffery Taylor, two players who have settled into the team philosophy little by little and become mainstays in the Real roster these last years. Gabriel Deck will be in for his sophomore season in the EuroLeague, hoping to improve the solid first impression he left in his debut campaign. Topping an excellent roster will be the eternal team captain; Felipe Reyes is back for more in what will be his 15th straight season with the club, making him one of the most iconic Real Madrid players ever, which is quite an assertion.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Nico Laprovittola has experienced a progression in the last few years that is hard to match. He made his EuroLeague debut in 2016 with Baskonia, but during those seasons he also had short stints with Rytas Vilnius and Zenit St Petersburg as he struggled to find the right place to blossom. Finally, Joventut Badalona signed him midway through the 2017-18 season and it all clicked from the start. Laprovittola soon became a local idol and the team improved its numbers right away. At the end of that campaign, Laprovittola was already coveted by many teams, but in a rare display of loyalty, he decided to stay in Badalona one more season, this time from the beginning. He shined from the start and his performances earned him season MVP honors in Spain, even though Joventut didn't survive the first round of the playoffs. Of course, all this did not go unnoticed and Real Madrid entered the scene to sign him. Now a more confident player, Laprovittola will have his chance to shine in the EuroLeague with one of the best teams in the competition. It remains to be seen how he will adapt in such a strong roster, but his talent can only be a good addition to an already formidable team.
Coach Pablo Laso is a firm believer in the players he has and proof of that is that, summer after summer, changes in the team have been few and far in between. The team is almost the same one as last year which, in turn, was almost the same as in 2018, the season that Real was EuroLeague champ. Los Blancos are always a team that aspires to win everything, everywhere, and nobody can deny that the team has the names, the will, the talent and, of course, the experience to make it happen. With such a solid roster, sprinkled with two new talented names, Real Madrid is a candidate to go all the way and punch a ticket to Cologne. The road will be longer than ever, but if there is a name in European basketball that you can trust to deliver, Real Madrid has to be at the top of the list.