It was an active summer transfer market for Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams as some stockpiled weapons in what at times seemed to be an arms race to build Final-Four worthy rosters. Each team had a strategy of its own, with some choosing to chase proven EuroLeague stars, other mining the European market for hidden gems or up-and-comers, while several teams looked overseas for difference makers. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best signings EuroLeague made ahead of of the 2019-20 season.
10. Jacob Wiley, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
The Greens’ other well-known players like Tyrese Rice, Jimmer Fredette and Wesley Johnson brought more attention, but Wiley is a steal. He is a very interesting player who should contribute from Day One. Wiley is an undersized, yet athletic big man with great timing for blocks and alley-oop dunks. He finished the 2018-19 season in style, averaging 16.4 points on 64% shooting and 5.2 rebounds in 13 Spanish League games with Herbalife Gran Canaria. A relentless worker who has flown under the radar, Wiley will provide the energy and intensity required for Panathinaikos to do well.
9. Jordan Mickey, Real Madrid
Real only made only two signings this summer, but made sure they both improved its already stellar roster. One of them was Jordan Mickey, who had a terrific debut season with Khimki Moscow Region and steps in to be Los Blancos’ new frontcourt reference. Last season, Mickey ranked 10th in performance index rating (15.4), fifth in scoring (14.2 ppg.) and blocks (1.07 bpg.), and third in two-point shots made per game (4.8). Mickey is deadly in the low post, can open the floor with his outside shots, runs the floor well and is a perfect fit for Madrid’s athletic, run-and-gun playing style.
8. Kevin Punter, Olympiacos Piraeus
Every team needs firepower to be competitive in the EuroLeague and by signing Punter, Olympiacos made sure that filling the baskets would not be a problem. Punter is the perfect definition of an all-around scorer; he has unlimited range, can create his shot off the dribble or fire away in catch-and-shoot situations. Punter has never played at this level, which is a big challenge for him, but seeing the way he hits shoots and how easy he makes it look, the adjustment should not be a major problem. Expect him to give Olympiacos a big boost on offense.
7. Gustavo Ayon, Zenit St Petersburg
One of the summer’s big surprises, Ayon parted ways with Real Madrid and Zenit was quick enough to make him an offer to keep him in the EuroLeague. A two-time champion with great experience, Ayon has great footwork and is a terrific rebounder, especially on the offensive end. He is also a very effective scorer and the kind of player who leads by example. Zenit has 11 new additions, but none of them is even close to his roll of honors. Expect Ayon to be the leader of a promising Zenit team that is ready to fight against anyone.
6. Stefan Jovic, Khimki Moscow Region
Khimki put together a good number of great scorers, such as Alexey Shved, Janis Timma, Anthony Gill and Sergey Karasev. All that was missing was a pass-first playmaker who could get everyone involved and by signing Jovic, the Russian powerhouse found the right player for that role. Jovic is a tall playmaker, who is hard to beat on defense and still owns the EuroLeague’s all-time single-game assists record – 19. Jovic will be on a mission to find easy baskets and with so much talent around him, he can take a step further in his career and lead Khimki to better results.
5. Mike James, CSKA Moscow
Last season’s Alphonso Ford Top Scoring Trophy winner joins the reigning EuroLeague champion – and it seems like a win-win situation for both sides. CSKA needed a backcourt scorer and found the perfect one in James, who averaged 19.8 points while starting in all of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan’s 30 games last season. An explosive scorer with outstanding driving skills and unlimited shooting range, James showed he is never afraid to take an important shot and won a few games at the buzzer. James, an All-EuroLeague Second Team selection last season, faces a very exciting challenge: to help CSKA keep the trophy.
4. Greg Monroe, FC Bayern Munich
A rock-solid center with polished post skills, Monroe arrives in Munich ready to be a Bayern leader. Monroe is an old-school center, unstoppable in the low post due to his power and experience. He is a EuroLeague newcomer and at age 29, Monroe is ready to showcase his best basketball in the competition. Not only will he give Bayern a lot of points around the basket, but Monroe will also force a lot of double-team situations, which can help his teammates get a lot of easy shots from the perimeter. Getting adjusted to a new basketball style will be his main issue, especially early in the season.
3. Sergio Rodriguez, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
After winning the EuroLeague with CSKA, “El Chacho” has the challenge to lead Milan to great heights. Just as in Moscow, Rodriguez has a lot of talent around him, but none of his teammates has his experience, which makes Rodriguez the undeniable leader of the team. Rodriguez and Coach Ettore Messina, the only EuroLeague champions on the team, already worked together in Madrid, so getting used to his basketball philosophy will not be an issue. Rodriguez is taking his basketball magic to Milan and fans can expect exciting assists, clutch threes and a lot of fun.
2. Nando De Colo, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Since De Colo re-joined the EuroLeague, he has been the most dominant player in the competition. Over the last five seasons, De Colo ranks first in the EuroLeague in accumulated performance index rating (2,867), points scored (2,496), fouls drawn (755) and free throws made (616). In that period, he has won two titles, played five Final Fours and earned All-EuroLeague honors five times, too. De Colo is also the EuroLeague’s all-time leader in free-throw shooting percentage at 93.8%. Seeing De Colo play for Coach Zeljko Obradovic will be a treat for all EuroLeague fans – and probably a nightmare for all of their EuroLeague opponents.
1. Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona
He chose to return to the EuroLeague right in his prime to fight for the continental title and make Barcelona the new team to beat. Mirotic was already a superstar when he left the EuroLeague in 2014 as a two-time EuroLeague Rising Star Trophy winner and a two-time All-EuroLeague selection, who had played back-to-back championship games with Real Madrid in 2013 and 2014. After a solid five-year stay in the NBA, in which he averaged 12.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, Mirotic is hungry for success. He wants to lift the EuroLeague trophy and play to the best of his abilities. And he wants all of that as soon as possible.