What an armada! Brilliant winner of the Eurocup and semi-finalist of the championship, AS Monaco does not hide its ambitions for this new season where it will be necessary to face the Euroleague games in addition to the Betclic Elite. The objectives of this XXL recruitment (Donatas Motiejunas, Danilo Andjusic, Will Thomas, Brock Motum…) seem obvious: the title in France, a place in the playoffs in the Euroleague. At the national level, it is difficult to see who could prevent the Roca Team from reaching its but apart from ASVEL. All the more so since the signing of Mike James, best scorer of Euroleague 2018-19. With him on board, we can now talk about XXXXL recruitment. It remains to be seen if the mayonnaise will take …
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AS Monaco comes out of a season in the balance attenuated all in all. An assertion that may seem strange for a club that has won nothing less than the Eurocup. But, if the Roca Team has indeed shone brightly on the European scene, we can not help thinking that with the workforce under the orders of Zvezdan Mitrovic (named coach of the year in Jeep Elite), the club in red and white colors should have qualified for the final of the French championship. Or, Monaco broke their teeth in the semi-final on the Dijon hedgehog (79-68). With as mitigating circumstances, of course, to suffer from the absences of Wilfried Yeguete, Matthias Lessort and Ibrahima Fall Faye, but still presenting a high level roster.
However, this last game was, in a way, a reflection of the club’s season, which somewhat let slip at the end of the regular season, conceding the last three meetings to end with a record of 24 victories. for 10 losses and a 4e place the final. During the season, the team left a somewhat mixed feeling, its excellent defense (76.3 points conceded, 2e of Jeep Elite) not always counterbalancing a slightly hesitant attack (83.4 points scored, 6e of the championship), characterized by a very fluctuating skill: if the team often shot (63.2 shots per game, 4e average), Monaco only returned 47.2% of these attempts (13e average) of which 35.1% at three-point (10e) and, worse, 70.2% to free throwers, the worst average in the championship.
The Roca Team made up for it by losing few balls (13.3, 2e of the season) and very effective throwing in defense: the team made 9.2 interceptions per game (2e) and left little opportunity to shoot his opponents – 56.2 average attempts including 18.1 three-pointers) (lower averages). What is more, Monaco has been able to limit the success rate of its opponents, with 48.2% on shots for its opponents (11e best opponent’s address) including 36.9% three-point (10e). For the rest, if this fierce defense resulted in a good number of faults ending in opposing free throws (20.8, 3e highest average of free throws conceded), it also caused 16.9 ball losses, 2e best average in the matter.
A recruitment never seen in France
If they did not manage to clinch the national title, the Roca Team however lived a year of high flight, its victory in Eurocup allowing it to play in Euroleague this season. And, to face the demands of the two competitions, AS Monaco has put together an impressive squad in terms of quality and quantity.
Before recruiting, Zvezdan Mitrovic and the club management cleaned up the workforce. On the French side, Yohan Choupas, Wilfried Yeguete, Mathias Lessort, Damien Inglis and Abdoulaye Ndoye were not retained, while Dee Bost, JJ O’Brien, Rasid Mahalbasic, Branden Frazier and Khadeen Carrington (also injured since the start of season) have not been extended. Finally, if he was initially to continue his adventure on the Rock, the muscular Marcos Knight wished to leave the club following “administrative concerns. “
To replace them, Monaco first took lessons in France, bringing back the best of the past season (Danilo Andjusic) and the best passer (Paris Lee) as well as one of the very best French interiors of the championship, Jerry. Boutsiele. A recruitment which already had the mouth, but which was in fact only an appetizer. After picking up the young Armel Traoré at the Pôle France, Zvezdan Mitrovic started fishing for big fish. Fruitful fishing: successively, the nets brought back Léo Westermann, NBAer Donta Hall, Lithuanian pivot Donatas Motiejunas, former NBAer also like Alpha Diallo, Brock Motum, player rated Euroleague and impressive at the end of the season with Nanterre, and Will Thomas , titular interior of Euroleague clubs …
There was already enough to make Monaco a big favorite of the Betclic Élite and a club capable of ensuring in the Euroleague. But this recruitment was not closed. And the latest arrival is none other than Mike James, Euroleague top scorer two seasons ago and still author of 19.3 points per game last year, but become unwanted at CSKA Moscow! A player normally inaccessible to a French club, scoring last season at more than $ 2 million per season! A priori, AS Monaco should not pay the player this staggering sum (and greater than the payroll of some Pro A clubs!), The native of Portland apparently having received a substantial forfeit from the Moscow club, to which he was bound for two more seasons. That said, even if he is undoubtedly made financial efforts, Mike James did not have to come on the Rock for the simple beauty of the place. And we can think that the budget and, above all, the payroll of the Roca Team must explode all the historical records of French basketball.