Credit: imago images/Lobeca-Scanpix
Credit imago images/Lobeca-Scanpix

Errick McCollum and Johnathan Motley united forces at Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar after playing in the Khimki Moscow Region side and South Korea respectively.

Errick McCollum

Errick  McCollum
Errick  McCollum
MIN: 29.95
PTS: 22.75 (59.44%)
REB: 2.63
As: 4.13
ST: 1.13
BL: 0.5
TO: 1.88
GM: 8

Including Stanton Kidd, Darius Thompson, and Greg Whittington, they were the main pieces to the newly compiled Lokomotiv puzzle.

Krasnodar survived the rebuilding process in the off-season period, as several top-notch basketball athletes left southern Russia (Mantas Kalnietis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Nigel Williams-Goss, Kevin Hervey, Drew Gordon, Will Cummings).

Led by Motley and McCollum, Loko are 2nd in the 7DAYS EuroCup Group A, settled down among Joventut and Partizan. However, their VTB United League record is not as impressive, lurking behind six teams in the middle of the table.

Putting team results aside, the mentioned American duo surpassed all the expectations. McCollum fully substituted the high-scoring guard Williams-Goss, while Motley remarkably compensated Hervey's departure.

Former EuroCup champion and MVP Errick McCollum became the tournament's second all-time scorer with 1404 points. He is rapidly chasing Valencia Basket forward Bojan Dubljevic (1492), being 88 points away.

His scoring tempo is superb this season. The 33-year-old guard is leading EuroCup's scoring race, averaging 22.8 points (46.7% 2PT, 44.4% 3PT, 86.7% FT) per game. He is also adding 2.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals, and 23.5 PIR (3rd result) to his performance. His numbers in the VTB United League are on the same level.

Errick is playing in the MVP mode there, posting 22.3 points (2nd in the league), 2.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists (4th), and 21.9 PIR (1st). These numbers shape him as the only player in Europe with 20+ points averages in both local and continental leagues (BCL, EuroCup, EuroLeague).

Johnathan Motley

Johnathan  Motley
Team: Lokomotiv Krasnodar
Position: PF
Age: 26
Height: 206 cm
Weight: 108 kg
Birth place: Houston, United States of America

Before the season, McCollum sat down with BasketNews' Donatas Urbonas and talked about upcoming challenges in Krasnodar. According to the American player, his experience should be a game-changer for Loko and their young athletes, who are trying to succeed in Europe.

"I can help the younger players; aid guys, who are in that stage of the career, where they are trying to make a name for themselves in Europe. My ability to step up in big games, to make big shots, I think that would be a big help," Errick spoke in early September.

As we can see now, his words have already come to fruition. With his outstanding leadership, McCollum inspired others to step up and turn into the main contributors.

Johnathan Motley is definitely one of them. After a stint in Asia, he has his first European basketball experience. The 26-year-old quickly adapted to the continental game and showed a EuroLeague-material potential.

The 2.03-meter big man is inferior to his fellow McCollum in EuroCup scoring standings. However, he is the most efficient player in the whole league. Motley averages 22.3 points (66% 2PT, 33.3% 3PT, 78.6), 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 26.4 PIR over 8 EuroCup duels.

His VTB stat lines are marking 19 points (3rd in the league), 6.4 rebounds (5th), 2.1 assists, and 20.3 PIR (4th). Having such top-level performances, Motley overshadowed last season's beast, his teammate Alan Williams.

Johnathan is perfectly used in both center and power forward positions, as he can harass his opponents, facing the basket and penetrating the rim. Due to his agility, Motley has an advantage over almost any big man.

Zach LeDay was probably the best example of dealing with Loko's front-runner from a defensive standpoint, limiting him to 11 points and poor shooting percentage (3/9 2PT). Despite that, sometimes it is not enough to stop one player when another takes the load.

If we combine McCollum and Motley's numbers, the obtained result shows that they scored 48.8% of their total team's points in the EuroCup competition. VTB United League numbers indicate their direct influence on 44.9% of the total points.

Considering these digits, nothing strange, they racked 4 EuroCup Round MVP awards (2 apiece) out of 8 possible ones. The latest came in the previous round, when Errick McCollum went off for 33 points, 5 rebounds, and 37 PIR in the victorious effort against mighty Partizan.

On top of that, Krasnodar has the second EuroCup offensive rating and there is no question why.

Both McCollum and Motley clearly made a good summer decision, using Loko as a stepping-stone club.

For Motley, it is an opportunity to sail to open waters, laying foundations for a lucrative, highest-level offer, while McCollum recovers from the Khimki fiasco, getting his well-deserved recognition once more.

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2022-01-10
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3-pointers this season

40%
9,5
Points made: 9,5
Accuracy: 39,6%
Place in standings: 8
Record max: 16
Record min: 3
Most made 3FGs: Errick McCollum