Hello! Before all eyes on NBA in this blog I will analyze Spanish ACB champions Valencia offense. The question: if Spanish ACB is considered to be the best domestic league in Europe, how realistic is for the last year title winners to win the best club competition in European basketball – EUROLEAGUE?
The last year was very successful for club :
- ACB – 1st;
- Copa del Rey – 2nd;
- Eurocup – 2nd.
This year also started very well by winning the Supercopa 83:78 vs Unicaja and 69:63 vs Gran Canaria) and ACB 3-0 after 3 games.
Right before the start of Euroleague predictions are that Taronjas (Oranges) will finish around 9th – 11th place not making play-offs (total 16 teams, 8 play-offs).
ACB league – 3th-4th while FC Barcelona and Real Madrid considered as huge favourites.
BC VALENCIA 2016./17.
- Played GREAT AT HOME: ACB regular season 14-2, Play-Offs 6-0.
- PPG 82.5 (5th in ACB reg. season), 74.9 PPGA allowed (SECOND BEST DEFENSE PPGA in ACB)
- Less shots but high % made : 60.0 FGA (15th), 23.3 3PA (14th). FG% 47.9 (2nd), 3P% (37.3 2nd). GREAT SHOT SELECTION.
- 2016./17 ACB PLAY-OFFS 3P% 40.0%!
- 3rd FEWEST TURNOVERS per game – 12.7.
- LEAST PF (personal fouls) per game – 18.9.
- During 2016./17. ACB regular season player who played the most was 33 years old SAN EMETERIO – only 22 minutes per game!
- During 2016./17. ACB regular season player who took the most shots per game was DUBLJEVIC – only 9.0 shots per game! He also was the team’s leading scorer 12.9 PPG.
BC VALENCIA 2017./18.
As the well known saying says: “winners do not change their roster!”
Valencia Basket was able to keep their main players from last season + added few really important players to their roster.
Although this season Oranges have new head coach – 51 years old TXUS VIDORETTA who last 2 seasons was ACB team Tenerife head coach and also assistant coach for SPAIN NT. Vidoretta’s team last season allowed opponents to score least PPG in ACB – 71.3 (Best defense in ACB?)
3 Spain NT players (Sastre, Vives and San Emeterio + former player Rafa Martinez), 1 France NT (Diot), 1 Montenegro NT (Dubljevic), 1 Belgium NT (Van-Rossom) and former German and Canadian National team players – Pleiss and Doornekamp.
- EXPERIENCE: San Emeterio (33), Rafa Martinez (35), Will Thomas (31), Romain Sato (?) (36), Aaron Doornekamp (31), Sam Van-Rossom (31), Antoine Diot (28), Pleiss (27) + very talented younger players Green (26), Sastre and Dubljevic (25), Vives (24).
One of the most experienced team in ACB this season.
+ Patience. Shot selection. High basketball IQ.
– Injuries (Diot, Williams, San Emeterio haven’t played yet in ACB this season). Recovery (Euroleague and ACB are 2 tough leagues to participate).
- SIZE: Height of 6-7 usual starting 5 players: 1.92m, 1.90m, 1.93m, 2.01m, 2.03m, 1.99m, 2.05m… Only one player on team is taller than 2.05m (except 19 years old C from Iceland Hlinason who are not ready for ACB level yet) – PLEISS 2.17m. Also new signed USA player Williams is “only” 2.03m tall.
Since Valencia Basket is not the fastest and not among the best rebounding teams in ACB and EUROLEAGUE there could be problems during the season against teams who has tall and agile C and PF in their roster, especially in Euroleague.
OFFENSE – STYLE OF PLAY
- PACE: MEDIUM, MEDIUM-FAST
- PATIENCE + GREAT SHOT SELECTION + LOW TURNOVER NUMBERS = KEY TO SUCCESS.
- If NO TRANSITION PNR or QUICK POST-UP = SET PLAYS.
- OFFENSE overall are not too complicated. 2-3 off ball screens to PNR or POST UP. If there is no opportunity to score immediately of PNR or POST-UP, team plays very smart and makes good decisions. Players has some kind of freedom for decision making.
- GOOD BALANCE of INSIDE-OUT basketball where the main figure is DUBLJEVIC, he is great decision maker and passer out of low post area.
- No complicated set plays for shooters, usually they are looking for dynamic PNR or POST-UP. Lot of teams there are wide open 3-point shots after passes of low post and great BALL MOVEMENT.
- Very talented American SG ERICK GREEN is both great 1vs1 and team player, coach Vidoretta gives him lot of credit.
- Lot of cross-screen action for DUBLJEVIC.
- On my opinion the key is to GREEN and DUBLJEVIC to play their best game for Valencia to be successful although they play TEAM BASKETBALL and strength is their deep roster.
- Offensively I think THOMAS is not the most effective player because of lack of his size playing in PF position and 3-point shooting ability. Of course we do not talk about aggressiveness and defence where he is one of the best in his team.
Pick-and-roll in transition plays 90% of teams so also Valencia, if Dubljevic sets the pick he also has an option to pop for 3-point shot. It can really put pressure on defense.
This play can be lot of times was played in transition without stopping but also can be played as set play.
In case defense don’t allow to curl after the screen, 3 has also option to go to wing and cut to the basket afterwards.
Since Oranges has lot players playing for SG or SF who can effectively post up, 4 has option to pass into the low post for 2 or to 3 who received screen from 5. After that they play PNR.
VARIATIONS OF DIAMOND OFFENSIVE ALIGNMENT
Valencia start their offense of this offensive alignment very often in first games of this season (I have a chance to watch 4 of them). Most of the time they focus on giving the ball to Dubljevic into the low post. Sometimes of course as every offense nowadays they want to play pick-and-roll after cutter receives ball on the perimeter
In this play 2 fakes the back-screen to 5 (Dubljevic) and continues to cut to the wing afterwards. Again, first option after catching the ball is get the ball into the low post.
Same alignment, same idea. Little bit different type of play.
Play for side pick-and-roll. Since 3 sets a pick for 5 before PNR , X5 is hard to hedge in case it is their defensive strategy.
OTHER SET PLAYS
Overall offense is not complicated, lot of pick-and-roll, back-screens and cross-screens. Most of the time there is 2-3 screens and after it comes dynamic PNR.
Since coach Vidoretta was assistant coach for Scariolo in European championship this summer, I can see his team playing 1 similar set play with team Latvia and Slovenia played in this European championship.
3. STAG. + PNR
4. HORNS to PNR
5. DOWNSCREEN + PNR
SIDELINE OUT OF BOUNDS PLAY
SPANISH ACB CHAMPIONS TO WIN EUROLEAGUE ?
Since Spanish ACB is considered the best league in Europe, it does not mean that champions of this league is the best team in Europe. ACB is probably the most competitive league where all the teams has solid roster, there is no easy games in this league.
Valencia to qualify for PLAY-OFFS (8 of 16) – I THINK… YES
Valencia to qualify for TOP 4 (4 of 16) – Maybeeee… (season is long, there are ups and downs, injuries).
VALENCIA TO WIN EUROLEAGUE ? It is not impossible, but I do not believe it.. Also smart people predict VALENCIA TO WIN EUROLEAGUE 35-to-1.. (less than 3%).
Thanks for reading! Good luck Taronjas in season’s first game tonight vs Khimki (Russia)!
Kristians Broks @ abouthegame.com