Credit: Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

UNICS Kazan agile guard Isaiah Canaan spoke to Vadim Kuznetsov of RIA Novosti Sport and shared some interesting thoughts regarding the most competitive continental league.

Points this season

Points made: 77,4
Accuracy: 46,9%
Place in standings: 8
Record max: 98
Record min: 41
Best scorer: Isaiah Canaan

According to the 30-year-old, a pair of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague squads could make it to the NBA playoffs.

"I think a couple of teams could hit the playoffs. Why not?" he asked rhetorically. "It's hard to compare these leagues, but the EuroLeague is strong too, and several leaders could slip into the NBA playoffs. But this can only be verified if they play there. So far, these are just reflections from scratch."

Canaan is well aware of NBA basketball as he played in the strongest basketball league from 2013 to 2019. He represented the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Milwaukee Bucks.

The 1.83-meter American athlete holds NBA career averages of 8.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists over 235 games.

"I spent 7 years in the NBA, where they play more often than train, and in this regard, the EuroLeague game schedule is somewhat similar," the guard told. "I like it. The more matches the better. As for the intensity, the EuroLeague games are very solid. It's not easy in all top European leagues. It's the same with the VTB United League, where there are a lot of excellent basketball players."

In 2020, Canaan joined UNICS and had the first European basketball experience. Together with the Kazan club, he got a place in the EuroLeague last season and seems that he is feeling comfortable there.

The American is averaging 14.6 points (8th in the EuroLeague), 2.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 10.6 PIR in 14 contests this campaign.

Worth mentioning that Ergin Ataman also had the same opinion as Isaiah Canaan. While speaking to BasketNews' Donatas Urbonas, he said that if Anadolu Efes Istanbul participated in the NBA, they would stand a solid chance of making the playoffs.

However, the Turkish coach's view did not find any support in Evan Fournier, or Mike James.

The NBAer strongly doubted that claim on Twitter, while explaining his position: "We are talking about the NBA here. If a team were to make the playoffs, they would have to go through an entire season. The difficulty for a EuroLeague team would be in the depth of the bench and the sequence of games played," Fournier wrote. "The gap is very big. Portland would beat them easily by 30 points," he went on to argue.

Mike James admitted that he loves Ataman's confidence, but maintained that the venture would be impossible: "He believes his team can do anything at any time. Dope dope dope, but that being said they have no chance in hell of making the playoffs in the NBA," he concluded.

Full interview

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