Back on the front of the European stage last season, the Italians of Olimpia Milan return to the Euroleague with tenfold ambitions. After a mixed season and the almost total renewal of its workforce, it is the opposite effect for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which wants to be reborn with the playoffs.
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Last year, Olimpia Milan returned to the Final Four after… 29 years of absence! A return to the front of the stage for the three-time winner of the Champion Clubs’ Cup (1966, 1987, 1988) made possible by the management of an experienced armada of his coach Ettore Messina. To take the team even further, the Italian tactician has kept most of his squad by adding a few significant pieces.
Above all, the Milanese sought to clean up their rotations: Jeremy Evans, Michael Roll, Jeff Brooks, Davide Moretti and his captain Andrea Cinciarini left. Before three more important departures: those of Kevin Punter – signing the biggest contract in the history of Serbian basketball – and Zach LeDay to Partizan but also that of Vladimir Micov to Buducnost Podgorica.
Melli, Mitoglou, Daniels … prime recruits
This is to make room for new recruits, and not the least. Starting with the return of Nicolo Melli, six years after his departure and after two seasons in the NBA, already promoted to co-captain. But also the signing of Dinos Mitoglou, at the end of his best season at Panathinaikos. Both for three seasons. Without forgetting the three exteriors, all the former US NBAers: Troy Daniels, Jerian Grant and Devon Hall. And the Italians Davide Alviti and Giampaolo Ricci.
An experienced team with NBA players not particularly known for being individualists and complementary additions to bring percussion and outdoor shooting. If Milan are the oldest team of the 2021-22 fiscal year (30.1 years on average with Sergio Rodriguez and Kyle Hines who have more than 300 Euroleague games each), they should not run out of juice. . Next summer is already shaping up to be eventful with six players at the end of their contract in 2022 (Rodriguez, Delaney, Daniels, Moraschini, Hines, Biligha) and especially the coach, Ettore Messina.
All posts tripled
Like last year, the Italian technician will have 15 players at his disposal, at least three per position. The lead will be made up of former MVP conductor Sergio Rodriguez, former Chalonnais Malcolm Delaney (11.6 points average last year) and Devon Hall, who is coming out of a good season in Bamberg. At the back, we find the shooter Troy Daniels (injured with ischios and back in November) and the puncher Jerian Grant, respectively 339 and 279 NBA games had counter with the veteran Riccardo Moraschini.
Best rated last season, Shavon Shields remains one of the main offensive threats on the wing, along with veteran Luigi Datome and Davide Alviti. The duo of rookies Nicolo Melli – Dinos Mitoglou will be very promising, with also Giampaolo Ricci in addition. Almost no change at station 5 with the Hines – Tarczewski – Biligha trio. Olimpia Milan has had a rather intense summer (7 finishes, 7 starts) but has managed to preserve the essential: its hard core. The objective is clearly announced, the title or nothing.
Opening photo: Shavon Shields (Euroleague)