Credit: Reuters – Scanpix
Credit Reuters – Scanpix

Anadolu Efes Istanbul doesn't meet the criteria of EuroLeague champions at the beginning of the 2021-22 season. With a 1-5 record after six rounds, Anadolu Efes marks the worst start for the champions in modern EuroLeague history (since 2000-2001).

Player of the Game
Daryl  Macon
EFF
38
Daryl Macon
Points 34
Accuracy 11-14
Rebounds 4
Assists 3

In 20 previous years, neither of the EuroLeague champions started the season with such a lousy record.

Real Madrid was closest to Efes in 2015-16 when they reached two wins in the first six games. Later they didn't make the Final 4 and were eliminated from the playoffs 0-3 by Fenerbahce Istanbul.

The last EuroLeague champions to start the season with a 1-5 record were Zalgiris Kaunas back in 1999. Until the 2000s, the EuroLeague was organized by FIBA.

Worst-ever starts to EuroLeague season by the champions

Season Club Record
1999-00 Zalgiris Kaunas 1-5
2021-22 Anadolu Efes Istanbul 1-5
2015-16 Real Madrid 2-4
2005-06 Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 3-3
2002-03 Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 4-2
2010-11 FC Barcelona 4-2
2011-12 Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 4-2
2012-13 Olympiacos Piraeus 4-2
2014-15 Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 4-2
2017-18 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 4-2

Since the EuroLeague changed the format with at least 30 regular-season games from 2016-17, from 12 cases where teams started the season with a 1-5 record or worse, only Baskonia Vitoria made the playoffs (2017-18). However, it required a coaching change since Pedro Martinez replaced Pablo Prigioni after a horrible beginning of the season.

Efes were one of these 12 cases four years ago, the last season before becoming a frequent Final 4 team (2017-18). Ataman replaced Velimir Perasovic later that season, but Efes still didn't get out of the bottom (7-23).

But we're talking about the team, which won the EuroLeague from the 11th seed after the first 17 regular-season rounds.

This year Efes are facing problems both on and off the court. Ataman didn't have Krunoslav Simon for four EuroLeague games, James Anderson is still injured, Vasilije Micic missed the last two games due to injury, Bryant Dunston also wasn't available in Athens.

After six rounds, Efes are the worst EuroLeague team in average points allowed (82.5 ppg) and defensive rating (115.4), per basketball analysis website BBallytics.com.

3-pointers this season

33%
8,3
Points made: 8,3
Accuracy: 32,9%
Place in standings: 9
Record max: 11
Record min: 6
Most made 3FGs: Vasilije Micic

They allow the most points in the first quarter (23). What's interesting, they're 3rd best in points allowed in the 4th quarter (17.2 ppg) and 5th best per defensive rating in the last 10 minutes.

That shows that Efes start getting serious in the crunch time, but usually, that's too late to catch their opponents.

EuroLeague teams don't feel any pressure against Efes defense since the champs allow threes on 41.5% shooting (the worst record).

Efes are a little better defending a 2-point area (53.2%, 13th), but still, they remain in the bottom per true shooting percentage allowed (60.7%), according to BBallytics.com.

Efes can't stop the ball movement of the opposing teams, being 18th both in average assists allowed (19.3 APG) and assist percentage allowed (28.4%).

Offensively Efes are slightly better. They show the 13th best offensive rating (104.4), and they're 10th in points per game (74.8 PPG).

Efes will try to come back on a winning path on Friday since they host the only winless EuroLeague team Zalgiris Kaunas. 4 of 5 Anadolu Efes losses occurred against the Top 6 teams in the standings.

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Atėnų Panathinaikos
Stambulo Anadolu Efes
56%
35/63
Field goals
33%
22/67
42
Rebounds
34
20
Assists
14
4
Steals
5
13
Turnovers
9
116
Efficiency
66

Best players

Daryl  Macon
34 PTS
11/14 FG
3/3 FT
Rodrigue  Beaubois
16 PTS
6/12 FG
2/3 FT
Georgios  Papagiannis
10 REB
8 DREB
2 OREB
Adrien  Moerman
7 REB
5 DREB
2 OREB
Kendrick  Perry
6 As
1 TO
23 MIN
Krunoslav  Simon
9 As
1 TO
16 MIN
Daryl  Macon
38 EFF
100% 2P%
75% 3P%
Rodrigue  Beaubois
12 EFF
50% 2P%
50% 3P%