Just having finished off a look at the top 5 worst Euroleague transfers of the past season here:
I thought I would elaborate it more here and I wanted to focus on a more of holistic look so here it goes:
In the summer period, coaches and general managers proceed over a dream when forming a team’s roster. Each move they make bears the traces of that dream, that plan in their heads. Of course, a good manager takes into account the positive or negative aspects of each move and tries to proceed on this basis, but the first thought in their minds is the situation where everything goes right.
Therefore, it is always easy to form a squad on paper. Because basketball is a simple game and if you create the right components, you always have a chance to be successful. But on paper… Real life is not like that. Even if you plan everything well, sometimes things do not fall into place. The player may not adapt to the team, may have a bad season, or other kinds of problems may arise. Every manager, including those of champion teams, regrets some transfers they made during the season. Eurohoops Oven decided to present these regrets in its new article and identified the 10 transfers that disappointed the most in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season. If you ask us, it was clear from the start that some of these transfers would turn out badly, some of them also surprised us. But all of their outcomes ended up at the same point.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the 10 most disappointing transfers in the EuroLeague this season:
Max Heidegger (Bitci Baskonia) Statistics: 12 games 2.5 points, 0.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.1 PIR Fans sometimes expect a lot from mid-season transfers, but the performance on the court doesn’t match the expectations. Throughout the season, Baskonia, who was in the playoff race, went to a familiar name for us after losing Pierrie Henry due to a doping investigation and added Max Heidegger, who had a great season at Merkezefendi Municipality Denizli Basket, to its squad. Honestly, the American guard was one of the most in-form players not only in Turkey but also in Europe in the first half of the season, and Baskonia, who likes to play at a high tempo, was also suitable for his basketball style. But this partnership did not meet expectations at least in the first season. Heidegger, who competed in the EuroLeague for the first time in his career, frankly could not adapt to this level and managed to average 2.5 points in 12 games. He could only find 8 field goals in 12 games in the EuroLeague where he was an unstoppable scorer in Denizli, and Baskonia could not make it to the playoffs. We haven’t seen Baskonia pay a buy-out to a player very often in its history. They were willing to pay 120,000 euros for Heidegger, but the result was not as expected. The American guard has another year of contract with Baskonia. Therefore, he will have another chance to put this transfer on the right track or this transfer will remain in the minds as one of the rare rip-offs in the career of president José Antonio Querejeta.
Austin Hollins (Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv) Statistics: 19 games 1.8 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.9 PIR Sometimes it’s clear from the start that things won’t go well. We saw many news in the Israeli press in the first weeks of the season that coach Oded Kattash was not satisfied with Austin Hollins. It was even stated in those news that Maccabi wanted to make a move in his place. That transfer did not happen and the experienced player stayed in the team, but this relationship, which was born injured, did not improve. While Kattash did not trust Hollins at all, the American player could not show himself even in the few opportunities he found. Whereas in his Zenit period, Hollins had shown that he could be efficient alongside ball-dominant scorers, but he never found himself in Israel and delivered one of the worst performances of his career with an average of 1.8 points. The bad relationship was a disappointment not only for Maccabi, but for both sides, because after such a performance, it seems difficult for 31-year-old Hollins to get a contract from a EuroLeague team.
Iffe Lundeberg (Virtus Bologna) Statistics: 29 games 8.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 8.3 PIR When a player who has proven himself in the EuroLeague returns from the NBA, it excites everyone in the EuroLeague. The same happened with Lundeberg. When it was clear that the Danish scorer would return after his short NBA experience, many EuroLeague team fans dreamed of him. His name was even associated with Fenerbahçe from Turkey many times. In the end, this dream came true for Virtus Bologna fans. Probably passionate Italian fans were expecting Lundeberg to carry the team returning to EuroLeague after years, but these dreams did not come true. Maybe Lundeberg didn’t play very badly, but he couldn’t jump to the expected level. While at CSKA Moscow, Lundeberg was not the leader of the team, but he had that spark. Frankly, when he went to Virtus, my expectation was to enhance that spark, but he couldn’t. Despite the ambitious squad formed, Virtus Bologna stayed far from the playoff pot while Lundeberg displayed a mediocre performance. Probably no one expected him to play with a three-point percentage of 29.7%. Unfortunately, Lundeberg could not make the expected level transition and this brought disappointment for the Bologna fans.
Kevin Pangos (EA7 Armani Milano) Statistics: 16 games 8.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 7.7 PIR Since we’re talking about disappointment in Italy, let’s move on to Milan. Ettore Messina and his students had such a disappointing season that, except for Shabazz Napier, I could probably put all the remaining new transfers of Milan into this list. After all, a squad built for the Final Four and even the championship could not live a season even near the playoffs, losing 9 games in a row. It is very easy to criticize the players of such a team. Instead, I chose the name expected to be the leader of all those players: Kevin Pangos! Since the beginning of the Milan period, Ettore Messina has been looking for that point guard he can trust. The legendary coach trusted players like Sergio Rodriguez and Malcolm Delaney in this journey, but couldn’t get from these names due to different reasons. When Milano signed Pangos from CSKA Moscow in the summer, everyone probably thought Messina finally found what he was looking for, but these expectations were also in vain. The Canadian star guard, to put it simply, couldn’t raise his head from injuries and missed more than half of the season. That wasn’t enough, in the games he was on the field, he honestly could not find the role of the player driving his team as in Zenit. The fact that Pangos could only score double digits in 7 out of 16 games probably tells us a lot about his performance. The first season of Messina and Pangos was a disappointment. We will see together whether a different story will emerge in the second season.
Hassan Martin (Red Star) Statistics: 23 games 4.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 5.7 PIR When you move from a bigger team to a less ambitious one, people naturally expect your performance to increase, but the opposite happened in Hassan Martin. The American pivot, despite his undersized physique, brought significant energy and toughness to his team in many games when he was at Olympiakos. Everyone thought he could do more when Martin moved from Pire to Belgrade last summer. If we think very simply; he was supposed to improve his statistics as he would stay on the court longer and use more shots, but on the contrary, Martin’s scoring average dropped. Moreover, despite perhaps playing in a comfort zone that has never been granted to any Red Star pivot before… Martin could not be successful despite playing with players like Campazzo, Vildoza, Nedovic who could also create offense for him. The fact that Coach Ivanovic prefers to use Luka Mitrovic as number five instead of finishing most of the matches with him explains everything. Belgrade did not suit Martin well.
Marius Grigonis (Panathinaikos) Statistics: 27 games 8.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 7.6 PIR In fact, one of the transfers that surprised me the most in a good way during the summer was Grigonis going to Panathinaikos… When Panathinaikos, which has not been able to get out of the dark hole it has been in for years, added a talented wing player like Marius Grigonis to its squad in the summer, I thought they finally caught a mouse since they became a cat in transfers. After all, there are not many players on this continent who can direct the two-man game from the wing, go to the basket, and also shoot. So much so that I even thought it was a mistake for Grigonis’s career to join this messy and problematic Panathinaikos. But Panathinaikos was not the only mediocre one in this mistake. The Greek giant, as in recent years, had a disastrous season again, but Grigonis also got lost in this bad season. The Lithuanian forward, struggling with injuries, couldn’t even make his presence felt as one of the important players of the team, let alone offering the expected leadership. The fact that he spent only 17 minutes per game on the field, let alone having the worst season of his EuroLeague career with an average of 8.1 points, explains why this transfer made this list. Still, I am hopeful for the future. Grigionis is a player that Ergin Ataman can use, and the Lithuanian forward can reverse this bad start next season.
Jordan Mickey (Virtus Bologna) Statistics: 32 games 7.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 8.2 PIR “Some flowers don’t grow in some soils. This is the truth of life.” I guess Aykut Kocaman’s famous unforgettable quote also applies to Jordan Mickey’s career. The American big man, who left his 5th season in the EuroLeague behind, spent 3 seasons in Russia so far, 1 season in Madrid, and 1 season in Bologna. There were always big differences between Mickey’s seasons in Russia and his seasons in other two places. In Russia, we always watched a productive Mickey, both in Khimki and Zenit jerseys. A player who defends the basket, shoots from outside, and can carry his team! The Mickey outside of Russia perhaps didn’t lose his skills, but he never consistently exhibited all these features. His stumble in Real Madrid was relatively natural, but his performance at Virtus was a disappointment for me. His 25.4% three-point percentage and an average of 0.7 blocks already explain everything, but beyond that, it was expected that he would make a difference in Virtus’ mediocre season. Like Lundeberg, he also failed the test. Given the difficulty of Russian teams returning to the EuroLeague in the near future, Mickey needs to learn to blossom in other parts of Europe as soon as possible.
Achille Polonara & Chris Singleton (Anadolu Efes) Polonara’s statistics: 15 games 2.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 4.4 PIR Singleton’s statistics: 13 games 2.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 3.3 PIR If we were to ask what the most important positions are for Ergin Ataman’s basketball, everyone would probably give the same answer: point guard and power forward! We always see this in the successful teams of the experienced coach throughout his career. A great point guard who leads the team and power forwards who have the best periods of their careers… It was always like this in Efes. Of course, we should not oversimplify the dominant period of the navy-whites, but the power forwards made their impact in all periods when Efes played good basketball. The navy-whites faltered this season at power forward positions. Let’s say Amath M’Baye was the best of the worst. He wasn’t very very good as a player playing in the EuroLeague for the first time, but he remained at an average performance. Achille Polonara and Chris Singleton, on the other hand, were a disaster. Ataman, who managed to increase the efficiency from his power forwards with a magic wand, could not do the same with Polonara. The Italian forward was a big disappointment in Anadolu Efes after Fenerbahce and was sent away before the season ended. Chris Singleton, whose departure was forgotten, was brought in his place and didn’t make much difference. After all, the American forward was already sent off because he lost his efficiency and didn’t appear much outside of the playoffs. It was a dream that Singleton, who has become more of a businessman than a basketball player, could return and be efficient after such a long time, and this dream did not come true. When you look at the statistics of their power forwards, it’s not hard to understand why Efes had such a disappointment in the EuroLeague this season.
Ioannis Papapetrou (Partizan Mozzart) Statistics: 38 games 5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 5.1 PIR One of the flashy transfers of last summer was Ioannis Papapetrou leaving Panathinaikos and heading to Partizan. Although he was one of the leaders of the team at Panathinaikos, the Greek forward, tired of being unsuccessful, left the team in return for his receivables and ran to Zeljko Obradovic. And as one of the highest earning players of the team. The season went very well for Partizan, but this successful season did not have as much impact as the Papapetrou incident. The Greek forward’s scoring average dropped from 12 to 5.4. This may not be a big surprise in Zeljko Obradovic’s team. After all, we have seen many players in his teams taking on different roles before, but the problem seemed to be that Papapetrou couldn’t find this role. Becoming a player who mostly waits for the ball in offense, Papapetrou was only thrown on the court when Partizan needed physical growth, but even in this regard, I don’t think he gave enough of his physique. Usually, in those moments, Papapetrou preferred to be a shadow. It was not talked about much because the season went beyond expectations for Partizan, but considering the money he received, the Papapetrou transfer was a disappointment.
Nemanja Bjelica (Fenerbahce Beko) Statistics: 7 games 2.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 3.1 PIR Sometimes unfinished stories should not be completed. Nemanja Bjelica was one of the most beloved players for the yellow-navy fans during their golden period. In fact, for many, he was their first love and obsession. The Serbian star, who became the EuroLeague MVP in 2015 but went to the NBA without winning the championship, left the Fenerbahce fans with an unfinished story. They all dreamed of the day he would return from the NBA. And this happened last summer. Bjelica returned to the team, perhaps in the period when the fans needed him the most, but the unfinished story did not unfold as expected. Because the fans remembered him as he was in his old days, but the returning Bjelica was not the same. During his years in the NBA, he had become thicker and a bit heavier. Actually, those who followed him closely in the NBA were somewhat skeptical about this transfer, but I think even their doubts were not as bad as this. Bjelica, who got injured in the national team even before stepping on the court, was virtually nonexistent throughout the season. His injury was prolonged, he couldn’t come back, and when he did, he was in a depleted state. Of course, the fans didn’t lose hope immediately, they thought he would regain his form as he played, but Bjelica dashed those hopes again by getting injured.