Jan 15, 2021 - Sports

EuroLeague tips off week 20 without fans

Data: EuroLeague; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: EuroLeague; Table: Axios Visuals

EuroLeague week 20 (of 34) tipped off on Thursday as the 18-team, European basketball competition continues its mostly fanless campaign.

The big picture: Europe has long been a landing spot for Americans who can't quite stick in the NBA, as well as a launchpad for future stars. EuroLeague — basketball's equivalent of the Champions League — thus comprises the deepest well of talent outside the association.

  • As basketball's global footprint continues to grow, EuroLeague's popularity and clout should rise in lockstep.
  • EuroLeague alums: In 2018, 19-year-old Luka Dončić became the youngest EuroLeague MVP; before joining the Timberwolves in 2011, Ricky Rubio led Barcelona to the 2010 EuroLeague Championship; Hawks G/F Bogdan Bogdanović was selected to the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade Team.

The state of play: Today's slate boasts some of the season's best games, as No. 1 CSKA Moscow hosts No. 2 Barcelona and No. 4 Bayern Munich hosts No. 3 Real Madrid — showcasing a handful of familiar names in the process.

  • CSKA: Darrun Hilliard (Villanova 2011-15); Mike James (Suns 2017-18; current EuroLeague scoring leader)
  • Barcelona: Leandro Bolmaro (No. 23 pick in 2020 NBA draft); Álex Abrines (Thunder 2016-19); Nikola Mirotić (Bulls/Pelicans 2014-19)
  • Real Madrid: Rudy Fernández (2009 NBA dunk contest); Anthony Randolph (six-year NBA career)
  • Bayern: Jalen Reynolds (Xavier 2012-16); Paul Zipser (Bulls 2016-18); JaJuan Johnson (Purdue 2007-11)

Elsewhere: The rest of the league features a veritable who's who of our collective NCAA and NBA memory:

  • Scottie Wilbekin: Now — Tel Aviv; then — Florida
  • Shane Larkin: Anadolu Efes; Miami
  • Norris Cole: Lyon-Villeurbanne; Heat
  • Kevin Pangos: Zenit; Gonzaga
  • Jan Veselý: Fenerbahçe; Wizards
  • Jonas Jerebko: Khimki; 10-year NBA career
  • Ante Žižić: Tel Aviv; Cavaliers
  • Alex Poythress: Zenit; Kentucky
  • Peyton Siva: Alba Berlin; Louisville
  • Shelvin Mack: Panathinaikos; Butler, eight-year NBA career
  • Luke Sikma: Alba Berlin; son of Hall of Famer Jack

Go deeper: Stat leaders (EuroLeague)

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