There is no doubt that the Lithuanian Deividas Sirvydis will debut in the EuroLeague in the upcoming season. Source: Imago Images
There is no doubt that the Lithuanian Deividas Sirvydis will debut in the EuroLeague in the upcoming season. Source: Imago Images

3 EuroCup players who deserve a chance in the EuroLeague

Basketball OlyBet 30.04.2024

If we exclude the players of Paris Basketball, who won the EuroCup of basketball and with that, redeemed a place in the EuroLeague, several men in the second strongest series of the Old World made such good performances this season that in the new season, we could or even should see them a step higher in the EuroLeague.

1. Trevion Williams

The 206cm American had his first season in Europe when he joined German reigning champions Ulm. Although the team was not successful in the EuroCup, Williams had an extremely powerful season, averaging 14.8 points and a whopping 10.8 rebounds in 18 games, the latter of which is a very rare figure in Europe.

The 2019 U19 world champion is a perfect fit for the EuroLeague. He is a little undersized for a center, but he has a versatile skill set. As a big man, he has a very good eye and is not a Josh Nebo type of bouncer, but he has top-notch moves under the basket and can shoot from beyond the arc. Indeed, a lot of effort is still needed with the three-point shot, as the percentage in the EuroCup season was only 28.8, but luckily time is on his side.

Above all, Williams shined in attack and rebounds, but he is not weak in defense either. Since the 23-year-old center is not remarkably quick with his feet, his weakest point is the pick-and-roll defense, but fortunately for him, it is an element that can be learned and under a good coach, he should not struggle with defense duties.

It is noteworthy that according to Hayom, a respected Israeli newspaper, Williams is on the radar of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Although the club would like to continue with Nebo, based on this season, he is receiving very expensive offers, so Maccabi is thinking of a plan B and the name of that plan is Williams.

2. Deividas Sirvydis

The 37th pick of the 2019 NBA draft played in 23 games in the dream league, where he failed to stand out in a Detroit Pistons shirt. For this season, the son of former professional basketball player Virginijus Sirvydis returned to his country of origin and joined Lietkabel in Panevežys.

In one of the EuroCup’s smaller budget teams, the 203cm tall shooting guard or small forward managed to shine. In 16 matches, Sirvydis averaged 18.9 points, which was the best figure in the league. The Lithuanian’s shooting accuracy was particularly impressive: his percentage of two-pointers was 61.4 and three-pointers was 42.3. In addition, he is an above-average three-pointer, who also had 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

For a tall man, Sirvydis is very technical and a one-on-one player, and due to his size, he finishes very well near the basket. However, turnovers have caused problems for him, when, for example, in the EuroCup he made an average of 3.2 turnovers, which was the third-worst figure in the league.

At the same time, it is clear that the 23-year-old Lithuanian is a very interesting talent, and it is no surprise that Žalgiris Kaunas has caught his eye from the EuroLeague, and according to the Lithuanian media, Real Madrid is also chasing his signature. The site 15min wrote that the negotiations between Sirvydis and Žalgiris have lasted quite a long time and one of the issues is the fact that the player is reluctant to sign a long-term contract.

A move to Žalgiri would be the most logical move and would help the Kaunas club to fill a very big void. Namely, the honor and pride of Lithuanian club basketball could not fill the boots of Ignas Brazdeikis, who moved to Olympiacos before the season, but the Canadian-born Lithuanian played a vital role in their game plan, as he was essentially the only man who handled the ball the most next to Keenan Evans who was able to break the defense and be successful in one-on-one plays. Considering Sirvydis’s profile, he would be a perfect fit for Žalgiri.

However, the transfer to Real is somewhat logical. There, Sirvydis would immediately fight for titles, his salary would be higher, and in the summer, the forwards’ department of the Spanish royal club is expected to undergo a major cleaning. Rudy Fernandez is ending his career, Fabien Causer’s departure is very likely, and Džanan Musa and Mario Hezonja are thinking about returning to the NBA. Panathinaikos of Athens is also actively hunting for the latter. Thus, Sirvydis could be one of the faces of Real’s rejuvenation.

3. Juan Nunez

The Spaniard, who is only 19 years old, has been talked about for years as probably the most talented point guard in Europe. However, his career trajectory differs from the usual a bit, as he left Real in 2022 to get significantly more playing time at a strong level. The great Spanish talents generally tended to stay in their home country, but Nunez moved to Ulm, Germany.

Nunez’s talent is also illustrated by the fact that he was the main point guard of the Spanish team at the previous World Cup. True, it was largely due to injuries and withdrawals, but head coach Sergio Scariolo trusted the youngster, who did a good tournament.

In this EuroCup season, the conductor of attacks from Madrid averaged 10.8 points, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals. At the same time, his two-point shooting percentage was 58.2, which is rather excellent for a 192cm tall guard who is not majorly athletic.

When it comes to Nunez, his high basketball IQ cannot be overstated. Watching the matches of Ulm or the Spanish national team, you don’t can’t really tell that he is only a 19-year-old player, because his game is just that mature. Sure, childish mistakes still happen here and there, but men ten years older than him also make them.

In offense, Nunez is the most dangerous in pick-and-roll. On the one hand, he is an excellent passer who is happy to do it, on the other hand, he is a decent three-pointer who is not afraid to get under the basket and can manage well there thanks to good technique.

Defensively, Nunez benefits from his tall stature as a point guard, which helps him cover different positions when switching defenses, pick up plenty of steals and force opposing guards into tough throws.

To be fair, Nunez doesn’t have any particular flaws for a 19-year-old point guard. Although he was not a dominant player at the EuroCup level, he is certainly not worse than Matteo Spagnolo, the conductor of attacks in the younger generation on the court in the EuroLeague this season. In fact, Nunez is way better!

Of course, a third season in the EuroCup is not ruled out, but… It’s hard to see what it would add to Nunez. There is also a possibility that the Spaniard will go to the NBA this summer because if he goes to the draft, he will surely be selected.

However, at least one season in the EuroLeague would give everyone a better picture of Nunez. At the same time, returning to Real would sound very logical, because although Facundo Campazzo is a definite main asset, the end of the career of Sergio Rodriguez, who will be 38 years old in June, would not be surprising. The current third choice of the Madrid club, Carlos Alocen, has not done much at the top level of the Old World after returning from a 1.5-year-long break due to injury.

Given Real’s rotation and Nunez’s quality, he could easily average 15 minutes as second fiddle to Campazzo in the EuroLeague.


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