Credit: Imago Images, Zuma Press – Scanpix, FIBA, CSKA | BasketNews illustration/E.Alšauskas
Credit Imago Images, Zuma Press – Scanpix, FIBA, CSKA | BasketNews illustration/E.Alšauskas

The EuroLeague season hasn't even started, and some teams haven't even completed their roster moves. Still, for our expert panel, it's even more fun that way. Hope you'll have just as much fun reading it and debating about it.

Shane Larkin

Shane  Larkin
Team: Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Position: PG
Age: 28
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Birth place: United States of America

Will Vasilije Micic repeat as league's MVP? Is Alexey Shved going to continue his scoring prowess now that he's a member of CSKA? Or, can someone challenge seemingly immovable Walter Tavares as EuroLeague's best defender? 

We asked our experts to answer the big questions and make their bold predictions about the winners of individual EuroLeague awards. Here's what we've got after summing up the votes.

All-EuroLeague First Team

All-EuroLeague Second Team

The selection of the first team went relatively smoothly. The voters agreed on the guard line, centerman, and the inclusion of Mirotic. The most considerable debate was between Super Mario and Simone Fontecchio. 

However, it was not the case with the second-team selection. In total, 26 different players were named. Only Milutinov, Baldwin, and Lucic got nominated after the first round of counting. With the rest of the team, we had to do some creative deliberation. 

Veteran De Colo beat out Jordan Loyd for the second guard spot because he was also nominated for the first-team on more ballots. The same logic was applied for the selection of the second forward recipient. Achille Polonara, Will Clyburn, and Tornike Shengelia received the same amount of votes. While Polonara didn't receive a single first-team vote, Clyburn and Shengelia were dead-even on first-team ballots. So, since both are playing on the same team, we decided to leave it up to them to decide. 

Alphonso Ford Top Scorer trophy

Mario Hezonja (averaged 14.4 PPG last season)

Super Mario and Alexey Shved received the same number of first-place ballots, but the Croatian got the nod due to more second-place votes. So it's safe to assume that majority of our experts still believe that Shved will continue his offensive wizardry even after the relocation to the CSKA. While the sky is the limit for Hezonja, who should undoubtedly have the keys to UNICS' offense.

Best Defender trophy

Walter Tavares (won the trophy last season; averaged 8 RPG (2nd in the league), 1.7 BPG (1st in the league), 1 SPG)

There is no juicy news here, as Real's towering big man is set to three-peat as the league's best defender. To those who want some intrigue, Thomas Walkup finished second among our expert voting.

Rising Star trophy

Filip Petrusev (last season was named Adriatic League MVP, 23.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG)

The Serbian big man narrowly edged ASVEL's Victor Wembanyama. Let's see if a more polished and more experienced big man can produce with the reigning EuroLeague champs. While the young Frenchman's case could be strong as well, after an impressive run at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup despite being one year younger than most of his competitors. Also, Villeurbanne is known for talent development, so our expert hopes might be well measured.

MVP

Nikola Mirotic (finished 1st last regular-season in Player Index Rating, 21.96)

Barca's forward went neck-to-neck with a current MVP Vasilije Micic. Both players received the same amount of votes; only the Spaniard had more first-place votes. 

It appears that the third time could be the charm for Mirotic. It's his third season since returning from the NBA, and after flaming out during the last Final Four, Mirotic has a lot to prove. Our experts believe he will succeed.

Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year award

Sarunas Jasikevicius (finished 4th last season in award voting)

Saras is known for his meticulous coaching style and execution. Which naturally takes time to instill and transform into an effective team-wide mechanism. But it's Year 2 in Barcelona, with most of his key players back and accustomed to what the Lithuanian specialist is trying to build. Barca came close last year, and there's no reason for them not to be among league leaders again. And with his team on top (or near it), Jasikevicius should also receive appropriate recognition.

For those left wondering, Dimitris Itoudis was seen as the second closest for the award in the upcoming season.

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Vince
Mirotic for MVP is a joke. Vasa will repeat!
2021-08-27
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