The Euroleague MVP Race
- All records and stats through Game 6 of Top-16.
1. Bobby Brown - Montepaschi Siena (5-1)
20.4 points and 5.4 assists in 32 minutes.
Montepaschi Siena has been the biggest success story of this season as the Italian champions remained one of two undefeated teams in first five games in Euroleague Top 16. Obviously, this wouldn't have happened without a dominating offensive power, Bobby Brown, who became an excellent replacement for Bo McCalebb.
The stats speak for themself as Brown leads the league in scoring (20.4 ppg.) and is third in assists (5.4) and fouls drawn (5.7). Moreover, Brown, who has already been drawing attention from NBA teams, finished in double figures in his last eight Euroleague games and even managed to break the Top 16 single-game scoring record with 41 points scored against Fenerbahce Ulker.
2. Viktor Khryapa - CSKA Moscow (4-2)
10.6 points (45% 3FG), 7.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals in 28 minutes.
Viktor Khryapa became a player for CSKA, stepping up to make sure the Russian team remained among Euroleague title contenders after the departure of Andrei Kirilenko. When CSKA needed it the most, Khryapa has improved all of his main statistical numbers this season. Compared to last season, his points average went from 8.2 to 10.6, rebounds from 4.0 to 7.1 and assists from 3.3 to 3.8.
This season Khryapa is no longer just a defensive contributor, as his versatility allows him to make a difference at both ends of the floor. Moreover, his game continues to grow as the 6-foot-8 big man averages 12.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in the Top 16 stage. At this point, Khryapa, together with Vassilis Spanoulis, appears to be the one of very few players capable of outlasting Bobby Brown for the top spot.
3. Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos (3-3)
16.1 points, 5.3 assists and 3.6 turnovers in 29 minutes.
Olympiacos, led by Vassilis Spanoulis, has been proving that their impressive run last season wasn't a fluke. The reigning champions finished the regular season with seven wins in a row and coming in second in group C. However, the sluggish start of Olympiacos in the Top 16 hurts Spanoulis' chances to win MVP award as the reds are just 3-3 after six games.
Similar to the last two seasons, Spanoulis has been very consistent and finished in single figures only once this year. Spanoulis is fourth in scoring in the Euroleague, averaging 16.1 points per game and also ranks fourth in assists with 5.3 per game as well. Spanoulis is also an undisputed leader in turnovers and soon should become an All-Time leader in this category.
4. Rudy Fernandez - Real Madrid (6-0)
13.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 26 minutes.
After failing to make it out of the Top 16 stage in 2011-12, Real needed a game changer, a player, who could bring Madrid team back to the top. As current results show, Rudy Fernandez fit that role perfectly.
Due to his athleticism, Fernandez is able to carry Real on his back when Madrid needs that and having a leader such Fernandez has helped his team remain undefeated in the Top 16 stage of the strongest European competition. Moreover, the well-balanced Real team is currently standing on the top of both Euroleague group A and Spanish championship league tables. Not without the help of Fernandez.
5. Nenad Krstic - CSKA Moscow (4-2)
14.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Nenad Krstic is arguably the most productive center on offense in the Euroleague as he ranks seventh in points per possession (1.3), eighth in scoring (14.6) and sixth in effective field goal percentage (0.665). Krstic is a big threat on offence for any Euroleague team and that is what helps him to be this high on Euroleague MVP ranking.
However, rebounding has been a well-known problem of Krstic for a long time. The 6-foot-10 center has been averaging only 4.2 rebounds per game this season and hasn't registered a single double-double in the Euroleague yet. In terms of all leagues, Krstic finish a game with a double-double only twice this season in 37 games he played so far. Krstic also hasn't grabbed more than seven rebounds in a single game in the 2012-13 Euroleague season.
6. Jordan Farmar - Anadolu Efes Istanbul (5-1)
13.6 points (45% 3FG), 3.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 29 minutes.
If our Euroleague MVP ranking would be based on the performance of first five games, Jordan Farmar undoubtedly would be on the top spot. Farmar averaged 22.6 Euroleague PIR (performance index ranking) points in over first five games, but in the next five, Anadolu Efes lost three out of five matches, while Farmar averaged only 4.4 PIR points during that stretch.
Eventually, while the other team from Istanbul, Fenerbahce Ulker, once again fails to meet the expectations, Farmar has helped Anadolu Efes to get back on winning track and win five games in a row in the Top 16 stage. The 26-year-old guard is again playing like an MVP, averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 rebound and 4.2 assists in six Top 16 games thus far.
7. Sonny Weems - CSKA Moscow (4-2)
14.8 points (44% 3FG) and 3.2 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Same as Jordan Farmar, at the very beginning of the season it seemed that Sonny Weems will be ranked no lower than Top 3 in our Euroleague MVP Ranking. However, Weems started to struggle in the Top 16 as the former member of the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets has been averaging only 10.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game during that stretch - not MVP worthy numbers.
While Weems was out of the rhythm, CSKA faced two losses and went down to the third place of the group A. No matter how much talent CSKA has, as we seen thus far, the Moscow team needs Weems putting big numbers on an every-night basis.
8. Zoran Planinic - Khimki Moscow region (4-2)
13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 31 minutes.
Zoran Planinic, the 2012 Eurocup Final MVP, was one of the main reasons why Khimki got back to the Euroleague this season and the Croatian playmaker continues to lead Khimki all the way to the Top 8. The 30-year-old Planinic is currently having a career-year, averaging 13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
Even Khimki's financial problems didn't prevent Planinic from putting big numbers in the Euroleague as just a week ago he was close on breaking his individual performance result against Fenerbahce Ulker, posting 25 points, six rebounds and six assists. Simultaneously, Planinic's 16.2% shooting percentage from beyond the arc hurts his chances on climbing up our Euroleague MVP rankings.
9. Ante Tomic - FC Barcelona (5-1)
10.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 22 minutes.
Throughout the regular season, Ante Tomic reminded himself as an inconsistent big man, who has enough potential to steal the spotlight at any game. However, everything changed in the Top 16, where Tomic, for the very first time in his career, constantly plays as an MVP on every game.
While FC Barcelona Regal stands on the top of group F, Tomic has been averaging 14.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists throughout six Top 16 stage games, comparing to 8.6 points, 5.2 boards and 1.5 assist in the regular season. Tomic finished in double scoring figures in all six games as well and if the 25-year-old center maintains this pace, he has all the potential to move up higher in Euroleague MVP ranking in the near future.
10. Maciej Lampe - Caja Laboral Vitoria (4-2)
12.6 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes.
From hate to love, there is only one step. After a tough 37 points Euroleague loss against Zalgiris right after the departure of head coach Dusko Ivanovic, it seems that Maciej Lampe was the next person to be blamed for horrible Caja Laboral results in the Euroleague. Then, under new coach Zan Tabak, Caja Laboral managed to win 17 (!) games in a row, including Spanish championship games, and that had not be possible without Lampe.
The 6-foot-11 big man was a top scorer in six of those 17 games and either lead the team in scoring, rebounding or assists in 10 of them. Lampe is also a key contributor to Caja Laboral's success in the Top 16 stage as he averages 14.8 points and Top-16-second-best 7.5 rebounds in six games.
Honorable Mentions: Shawn James, Maccabi; Kyle Hines, Olympiakos; Dimitris Diamantidis, Stephane Lasme, Panathinaikos; Milos Teodosic, CSKA.