Fighting and looking bad: Yannis’ legacy

The legacy of Sapropolus
To a certain extent, Maccabi Tel Aviv’s loss game last night (Tuesday) in Milan represents the team in the era of Yannis Sapropoulos, or the legacy of Sapropoulos. And no, I’m not writing this cynically or to slam the coach. The opposite is correct. Even when she is bad, and yesterday she was bad for glory, she usually plays the Israeli champion to the end. And fighting. And does not give up. And does not fall apart. In situations where some of his predecessors in office would lose the ability to motivate the players on the floor to continue, the Greek gentleman usually manages to get them to keep wanting, which is a lot. When Yannis says in pre- or post-game interviews, over and over again, that “we fight,” in one linguistic variation or another, he means it. And practically, he manages to convince his people of that.

And so it was yesterday. After the first half that the connection between it and basketball was accidental at best, when the half result (minus 22) does a great favor with the guest from Tel Aviv, she managed to leave the locker room with 20 minutes of effort. Not of basketball, God forbid, because even the second half in Milan did not present any line in the professional field, and I write this gently, but of self-respect and a decision not to give up in front of the team was much preferable.

When a coach loses his job, and the basketball that Maccabi Tel Aviv has been playing since the beginning of last season is the one that puts the question on the table, the usual talk is about the condition of the locker room. Since none of us are present or able to give reliable evidence of the situation there, all that is left is to be impressed by the usual symptoms. And although there are players who can be expected to resent, there are no obvious signs that indicate a significant breakdown there.

When a coach loses his job, and the basketball that Maccabi Tel Aviv presents is definitely one that puts the question on the table, the parameter is based on it supposed To be examined, the matter does not concern the locker room, but what happens when you leave it. And there, inside the front door of the pitch and the net forty minutes net, it did not look good. Forgive me, it looks really bad.

Sapropolos, continues to convey optimism despite the ability (Alan Schieber)

The trio and threes
And yet, as mentioned, last night the team from the Middle East managed to make comeback votes, and turn a lost game into one in which it feels kind of competitive. And true, a lot of it came thanks to a host who lost interest and was already starting to think about the next game. And true, much of it came without any connection to theories being invented in advance or in retrospect, but because the threes came in. Because you remember, of course, that three is more than two. And after games of 7 to 8 threes in low percentages against Bayern Munich and the Red Star, and after a terrible first half of 1/9 off the arc, in the second half they dived in 7 threes at 44%. And when you score well, things tend to look better.

But something else happened in the last twenty minutes, and it touched on the choice of players on the floor. Because Derek Williams, on whom they did not rely enough to open in the top five, did not come down in the second half from the floor. Also, of course, about those tricks he scored (4/5 for three in the second half) that didn’t really come as a result of some special thought or intention. And Jaylen Reynolds, who has felt in recent games as someone who does his job less well than new acquisition Mathias Lasur, played about 17 minutes out of the 20. And James Nanley, after two games of close to 30 minutes, this time played even more. Together, this trio managed to force the bored Milan 8 losses in the second half. Together and separately, this trio managed to show signs of life.

And it all happened together, and maybe Here The story. Because during the half of the game, Sapropoulos realized, perhaps, that this was a trio. Nanley, Williams and Reynolds, practically, are sharp. Because if we admit the truth, then an hour gathered them in her lap last summer, Maccabi Tel Aviv signed players that the other Euroleague teams rejected. Despite Williams and Nanley’s resume and despite Reynolds’ breakout season in Munich, no one really wanted them, for various reasons. And they know it, and they can not afford to prove that the majority was right.

So Sapropolus, whether for that reason or for other reasons, realized it was on them. And ceased for a moment from the clinical trial phase that his exchange craft has presented so far, in favor of the conservative and precise approach that says the key players are the ones who need to play, and they are the ones who need to make the team step forward. In doing so, he may have been able to resolve for himself and others the issues of the hierarchy, and marked for himself clearly, along with Scotty Wilbkin, who is his leading quartet. Quartet is nice, but you do not miss anyone here?

Nanley, a trio has been formed on which Sapropoulos builds (getty)

Let’s talk about the position of the coordinator
Ahh, because there’s also the coordinator’s interest. Despite a record minute in the second division in nature, it is not certain that we were able to understand even yesterday what the status of Keenan Evans is. Which opened with a quintet. Who played almost 15 minutes in the first half, but added just over 8 more minutes in the second. And not because of an offense problem, but because he still does not feel or appear to be the team’s leading coordinator. And that, both in the game where Ziv will open and off, and also in the game where John Dibertolomao plays much less (and continues to produce a negative efficiency index).

Summer after summer after summer we linger here on the issue of the coordinator, and express wonder how in the most important position in basketball, this club insists on betting on players who are not proven or not ready enough or not good enough or not coordinators at all. And last summer, when we analyzed the staff that was fought in the old Yad Eliyahu area, it was clear that the most important player in the fabric was Keinan, who came from Hapoel Haifa. Because without him, Maccabi is left with only one creator from a dribbling situation (Wilbkin). And without it, an entire staff would be left with no coordinator at all. And with it, with all due respect, it is not certain that these problems will be solved at all. Because the truth? As of this moment and unless proven otherwise, in our entire Premier League there is one Euroleague coordinator and he generally plays for Hapoel Holon.

Is it possible to get by without a quality playmaker? Hmmm, history proves that sometimes. In its beautiful running season, which was interrupted by the Chinese bats, the team of Sapropoulos won and won by initially playing in 1 Knight Walters, one that is far from being a classic coordinator (for details, you can contact our coach at Zalgiris Kaunas). And after Walters was injured, the beautiful run continued even without him. To do this, you need a combination of several circumstances or a clear and appropriate style of play.

Does Keenan Evans, potentially, have traits that fit the coordinator’s position? Unequivocal. Chris Jones did the same last season. And I’m not talking at the moment about quality, but about suitability for the position of coordinator. Because it is possible to be a coordinator, but not of a high enough quality to play at this level. And you can be a coordinator, but play in a team and under the method of a coach who does not let the coordinator be expressed.

In Milan, unlike a thousand thousand differences and budget matters, they put the biggest money on two players in the No. 1 position. His replacement, Chacho Rodriguez, who according to his former coach Pablo Lasso is actually more of a scoring guard than one who knows or wants to conduct an attack. Either way, together and separately, Messina has two he can count on. Who does Sapropolus trust?

Evans, Maccabi Tel Aviv does not have a coordinator suitable for these levels (getty)

Keep tight instead of keep
Let us practice enough on matters of theory. And we complimented (excessively) Maccabi Tel Aviv, which in the bottom line looked very bad yesterday. And if we devoted the column after the Red Star mainly to the matters of lame attack, then this time we will focus on the (very) bad defense that was presented in the first half. Where Milan traveled on the way to 52 points, most of which she easily achieved.

True to the central defensive principle that accompanies it, Sapropoulos’ team started the game playing strong. That is, not necessarily tactical or necessarily smart, but powerful. That it’s nice at times, but not much beyond that.

Here, take an example of a representative move from the start of the game. Keenan Evans presses on Malcolm Delaney, Messina’s excellent center. Angelo Cloiaro clings to Niccolò Mali, who comes to block. Matthias Lasur keeps a close eye on rival Terezovsky’s chin. James Nanley did not for a moment touch Shields Shield. Scotty Wilbkin, trusting opponent Devon Hall, runs with him to the other side and loses eye contact with the ball, then signals with his hands to Nanley, while Delaney signals with his hands cursing at him.

And I have not yet spoken here about the problems in defensive rotation. And I have not yet talked about the various communication problems (some of which make quite a lot of sense). In any case, the bottom line is more important than the small details. Currently, Maccabi Tel Aviv is keeping strong, but not really keeping at all.

True, it is very difficult to maintain a talented and trained attacking group like Milan. On the other hand, as the late Grandpa Shmuel used to say, one who fought in the Red Army, it’s hard when you pee in the bathroom.

Ettore Messina is one of the greatest coaches the Old Continent has known. And one who seeks to adhere as much as possible to the “right” basketball of yesteryear. Messina, a smart and conservative man, took a very long time to internalize important changes in post-1990s basketball. True to the importance of the appropriate positions and sizes, for example, he insisted in his hat as a CSKA coach that short Kyle Haynes would play in position number 4. Although he has no trait that is suitable for Power Forward, other than the fact that he is simply not tall enough.

To this insistence can be added the long-standing obsession with controlling basketball over the fast-paced game or the fast points on offense, the contempt he felt toward outside shooting from highs and so on. And anyway, both before and after slightly updating his perception, after the NBA round he experienced or due to a number of less successful seasons, the man knew and knows how to get to the bottom line of offensive practice. How to concentrate on what is important in the pose. How to take advantage of a mismatch, that is, a mismatch between the defense and the offense.

Yesterday, for example, he delivered an abbreviated clinic on the subject at the beginning of the fourth quarter, with the subject of the two moves we now see being Mitoglu, the new and successful Greek acquisition. Here, Mitoglo finds himself downstairs with James Nanley next to him. Milan, realizing that they are now going inside, directs itself there. Here, look how Mali signifies beautifully. And since Evans is the one keeping the far corner, he’s the one trying to get there to help. And for some reason, he’s also the one trying to stop Mali’s cutting towards expansion. Well, then to try is nice.

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