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Euroleague MVP Race

As the Euroleague Top-16 phase approaches its end, here are our Euroleague MVP rankings, where there are six new faces and big changes since the beginning of the season. 

- All records and stats through Game 10 of Top-16. The number in brackets shows position in previous ranking.

1. (4) Keith Langford - EA7 Armani Milan (7 wins - 3 losses)

17.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3 assists in 30 minutes.

EA7 Armani Milan is changing its face from a permanent loser to a serious threat and possible candidate to make it to the playoffs. The Italian team won four games in a row and with seven wins ranks second in group E. Probably not even the most optimistic fans of EA7 Armani Milan saw that happening. However, that wouldn’t be possible without Keith Langford, who has been averaging 17.4 points per game to lead the Euroleague in scoring. Langford collected a 20 or better power index rating (PIR) in half of his Euroleague games this season. His productivity might take EA7 Armani Milan to the playoffs for the first time in the modern version of Euroleague.

2. (-) Sergio Rodriguez - Real (8-2)

14.2 points (55% 3FG, 92% FT), 2.1 rebounds, 5 assists in 22 minutes.

Sergio Rodriguez, 27, is likely the most powerful weapon for Real this season. If the starting five of Real Madrid don’t break their opponents, Rodriguez, who always come off the bench, sets such a high tempo and raises the quality of basketball to the level that the opposite team has nothing to do but collapse before halftime. Rodriguez is no doubt the best sixth man of the Euroleague and he will most likely join 50-40-90 club by the end of the season. Rodriguez ranks second in three-point shooting, third in free throw shooting and fourth in assists per game. Perfect all-around performances might soon lift Rodriguez to the top of the MVP ranking.

3. (-) Ante Tomic - FC Barcelona (10-0)

12.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists in 24 minutes.

First of all, let me remind you that at the beginning of the Top 16 Ante Tomic was nowhere close to this position. Tomic averaged 5.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in January and couldn’t finish any of his first five Top 16 games in double digits scoring. However, it’s a whole different story now as Ante Tomic is the most dominant center in group E, averaging 30 PIR points over his past four games. If Tomic continues to produce these amazing results, we’ll have to wait for the playoffs to see if somebody, including Nenad Krstic, Sofoklis Schortsanitis or Real's frontcourt, can stop the Croatian big man.

4. (1) Nikola Mirotic - Real (8-2)

12.9 points (54% 3FG), 4.8 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Nikola Mirotic fell in Euroleague MVP ranking, though not because his results have declined recently. The situation in Madrid doesn’t require Mirotic to produce 100 percent on a daily basis as he could likely average around 18 points and eight rebounds for any other Euroleague team. Nevertheless, Mirotic remains as productive as he was in the beginning of the season as he ranks fifth in points per possession (1.25). He’s also ranked third in three-point shooting, making 54 percent of his shots from the long range. Mirotic is the only big man to be ranked among Top 10 shooters.

5. (9) Malcolm Delaney - Bayern (5-5)

14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists in 28 minutes.

Now it’s obvious that Bayern Munich made a great decision choosing Malcolm Delaney to be their leader in their debut 13-14 Euroleague season. Delaney, the best rookie of this season, is successfully leading Bayern towards the playoffs as he collected 20 PIR points or more in eight games. The 25-year-old guard might be the main factor in Bayern’s journey to the playoffs and the last four weeks may be the biggest challenge in Delaney’s professional career. However, going through to the Top 16 would be another sign for Bayern to sign a long-term deal with Delaney, who could be team’s face for years to come.

6. (-) Rudy Fernandez - Real (8-2)

12.4 points, 4 rebounds, 3.9 assists in 27 minutes.

Similar to Mirotic’s situation, the statistical numbers don’t reflect Rudy Fernandez’s capabilities. With 12.4 points, 4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, those would be great numbers for any Euroleague player, but he could perform much better than that in a different situation. Also, Fernandez is one of the reasons Real has lost only twice in 20 games played. Both times, opposite teams were able to slow him down. Against CSKA Fernandez converted only two of 13 field goal attempts, versus Bayern - 4 out of 14. So if you plan to stop Real, slowing Fernandez down would be a great start.

7. (-) Emir Preldzic - Fenerbahce Ulker (5-5)

10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists in 29 minutes.

Emir Preldzic, who played great in the regular season, sank with Fenerbahce Ulker during the Top 16 stage. Preldzic’s statistical figures dropped significantly in all main categories - points, rebounds, assists, same as shooting percentages. However, while Fenerbahce Ulker shows its first signs of recovery and won four out of five last games, Preldzic fails to be as efficient as he use to be. In last three games, Preldzic averaged 4.6 points and 1.3 rebounds. If Preldzic continues to struggle, Fenerbahce Ulker will most likely have to put off their final four ambitions until next season.

8. (5) Derrick Brown - Lokomotiv Kuban (5-5)

13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds in 29 minutes.

At the beginning of Top 16, it seemed that Euroleague teams found a way to stop Derrick Brown, but the big man later proved that to be just a little slip. Same as in regular season, Brown averages 13.9 points per game in the second stage and constantly makes his input to Lokomotiv Kuban offence. Of course, for some of his points Brown must feel thankful for Marcus Williams. Brown and Williams duo is one of the most efficient in the league as Williams already dished out 27 assists to Brown. It’s a do-or-die time for Lokomotiv Kuban and soon we will see if Brown rises in this ranking or will fall with his team out of the Euroleague.

9. Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos (4-6)

14.6 points, 2 rebounds, 4.8 assists in 28 minutes.

The 10-0 result in the regular season was a remarkable start  but that dream came to a quick end once the injury bug and losses struck. Vassilis Spanoulis was one of the reasons, as he played horrible in three of his seven Top 16 games. In the match against Unicaja Malaga, Spanoulis scored only one field goal out of 12; collected minus eight PIR points and played his worst Euroleague game ever. Looking back to previous seasons, Spanoulis can get hot anytime and put 20 or 30 points in few games in a row. But seeing Olympiakos in such difficult situation, Spanoulis needs to become a hero once again, and right now.

10. Carlos Arroyo - Galatasaray (4-6)

13.8 points, 2 rebounds, 5.2 assists in 32 minutes.

Carlos Arroyo's game in the regular season and Top 16 are stark in contract. In the first stage, Arroyo was about to become one of the biggest disappointments of the season, as he averaged 10.7 points and 9.8 PIR points per game. The situation has changed in the Top 16 as his numbers became very solid - 16.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists. Arroyo also demonstrates consistency in the Top 16, as he scored at least 10 points and dished out three assists in all of his Top 16 games. However, it seems that Arroyo is not capable of carrying Galatasaray to the playoffs on his own and in order to move on, he will need more help from his teammates than ever before.

RealGM's 2012-13 Euroleague Awards

For the third consecutive year, RealGM presents the most outstanding players of Euroleague.

Victor Khryapa of CSKA Moscow is the winner of the RealGM Euroleague MVP award for the 2012-13 season. The 30-year-old forward has improved all of his main statistical numbers this season, averaging 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Khryapa has also helped his team, which holds a 23-5 record this season, to defeat Caja Laboral Vitoria in the playoffs to reach the Final Four.

For the second consecutive year, the RealGM Euroleague MVP award was given to a Russian player, as the winner of last season's prize was Andrei Kirilenko of CSKA Moscow.

The RealGM All-Euroleague First Team consists of Montepaschi's Bobby Brown and Olympiacos' Vassilis Spanoulis at guard, Khryapa and Maccabi's Shawn James at forward and CSKA's Nenad Krstic at center.

The RealGM All-Euroleague Second Team includes guards Jordan Farmar of Anadolu Efes and Zoran Planinic of Khimki, forwards Rudy Fernandez and Nikola Mirotic of Real and center Ante Tomic of Barcelona Regal.

Paul Davis of Khimki Moscow region is the winner of the Euroelague Rookie of the Year Award, while Aron Baynes (formerly of Union Olimpija before joining the San Antonio Spurs) was the RealGM pick to win the Most Improved Played Award.

Georgios Bartzokas of Olympiacos was named as the 2012-13 Euroleague Coach of the Year, while Kyle Hines (also from Olympiacos) is the winner of the 2012-13 Euroleague Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Euroleague MVP

Victor Khryapa (CSKA)

All-Euroleague 1st Team

Bobby Brown (Montepaschi): 18.8 points, 5.3 assists in 33 minutes

Vassilis Spanoulis (Olympiacos) - 14.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 30 minutes

Victor Khryapa (CSKA) - 10 points (45% 3FG), 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 28 minutes

Shawn James (Maccabi): 11.5 points (64% 2FG), 6.5 rebounds in 24 minutes  

Nenad Krstic (CSKA) - 13.6 points (63% 2FG), 4.6 rebounds in 24 minutes

All-Euroleague 2nd Team

Jordan Farmar (Anadolu Efes): 13.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 30 minutes

Zoran Planinic (Khimki): 12.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 31 minutes

Rudy Fernandez (Real): 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 27 minutes

Nikola Mirotic (Real): 11.7 points, 5.5 rebounds in 25 minutes

Ante Tomic (Barcelona Regal) - 11.5 points (63% 2FG), 6.3 rebounds in 23 minutes

Sixth Man Award

Kyle Hines (Olympiacos) - 9.1 points, 5.9 rebounds in 20 minutes

Most Improved Player Award

Aron Baynes (Union Olimpija) - 13.8 points, 9.8 rebounds in 26 minutes

Coach of the Year

Georgios Bartzokas (Olympiacos)

Rookie of the Year

Paul Davis (Khimki)

All-Rookie 1st Team

Paul Davis (Khimki) - 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds in 20 minutes

Ricky Hickman (Maccabi) - 13.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 29 minutes

Blake Schilb (Elan Chalon) - 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes

Marcus Williams (Unicaja) - 10.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 22 minutes

Shelden Williams (Elan Chalon) - 11.3 points, 7.6 rebounds in 23 minutes

All-Rookie 2nd Team

Drew Gordon (Partizan) - 9.1 points, 7.5 rebounds in 29 minutes

Lukasz Koszarek (Asseco Prokom) - 11.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes

Kelvin Rivers (Khimki) - 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds in 26 minutes

Dashaun Wood (Alba) - 9.8 points, 2.5 assists in 24 minutes

Maik Zirbes (Brose Baskets) - 8.2 points, 5 rebounds in 20 minutes

Euroleague's Most Improved Players Of The 2012-13 Season

- All records and stats through Game 10 of Top-16.

1. Aron Baynes - Union Olimpija Ljubljana

2012-13 (Euroleague): 13.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 26 minutes

2011-12 (Greek League): 13.6 points, 8.7 rebounds in 28 minutes

In his Euroleague debut season three years ago, Aron Baynes averaged more fouls per game than rebounds and blocked shots combined. Baynes' first coach in Europe, Rimas Kurtinaitis said "if a Russian can teach a bear how to ride a bike, then we'll make something out Aron as well".

After spending two seasons in Germany, Greece and gaining experience playing in the Eurocup, Baynes got back to the strongest European competition as a mature and a decisive player. The Australian leads the league in rebounds (9.8 per game), averaged nearly a double-double this season and was influential on both ends of the floor. It didn't take long for Baynes to get noticed by the San Antonio Spurs, who bought out the 26-year-old center's contract with Union Olimpija.

2. Shawn James - Maccabi Tel Aviv

2012-13 (Euroleague): 11.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 23 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 2.6 points, 2.4 rebounds in 8 minutes

After the departure of Richard Hendrix and Sofoklis Schortsanitis, the 29-year-old Shawn James sought an opportunity to step up and become an impact player for Maccabi. James perfectly used this chance and had a breakout season as he became one of the most efficient players in the Euroleague.

James ranks 2nd in the league in blocks per 28 minutes (2.2), 2nd in field goals percentage (67.1) and 3rd in average performance index rating per 28 minutes (PIR, 22.1). The NCAA All-Time leader in blocks per game (6.5 in 2005-06), James continues to play strong in the Top 16 stage and has enough potential to carry Maccabi to the Top 8 by himself.

3. Nemanja Bjelica - Caja Laboral Vitoria

2012-13 (Euroleague): 10.8 points, 5.1 rebounds in 24 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds in 14 minutes

Nemanja Bjelica's transition from his previous team, Crvena Zvezda to Caja Laboral was not as smooth as expected. It took a while until Bjelica earned more playing time and finally proved himself to be one of the most talented European players.

The 25-year-old Bjelica doubled his main statistical numbers compared to last season and made at least one three-pointer in his last 12 Euroelague games. Also, the forward played his career-best game in the Euroleague against Cedevita this season, scoring 22 points (9-for-10 FG), grabbing three rebounds and dishing out three assists in 22 minutes of action. Bjelica, who often gets called the future star of the Serbian national team, has finally started to live up to expectations.

4. Curtis Jerrells - Besiktas Istanbul

2012-13 (Euroleague): 14.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 31 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 8.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21 minutes

Curtis Jerrells established himself as a Euroleague star in his third season overseas and proved he can lead a team in the strongest European competition. Playing under Erman Kunter, the former Baylor guard raised his value by becoming one of the best lefty point guards in Europe.

However, after succeeding in Europe, Jerells returned to the States, where he joined NBA D-League's Maine Red Claws and will try to draw attention from NBA teams. If things don't work out at home, many Euroleague team will surely want to sign Jerells.

5. Vladimir Lucic - Partizan Belgrade

2012-13 (Euroleague): 13.7 points, 4.8 rebounds in 33 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 5.8 points, 2.4 rebounds in 22 minutes

No surprise, every year there must be at least one talents-making-machine Partizan player included in Euroleague most improved players list. No exception was made this season as 23-year-old Vladimir Lucic was ranked fifth.

Lucic is another product of Partizan basketball school, who is finally paying its dividend. After spending a year on Partizan bench, last season Lucic received a chance to become a member of the starting five. The Serbian talent was learning in a process rather than producing results, but this season Partizan got full return for all their trust in Lucic. The forward received most playing time among all Partizan players (33 MPG) and became the leader of the team.

6. Pietro Aradori - Mapooro Cantu

2012-13 (Euroleague): 15 points (57% 3FG), 4 rebounds in 30 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 4.8 points, 2 rebounds in 10 minutes

Pietro Aradori made his name known in 2009-10, leading Biella in both Eurocup and Italian championship. However, since now, Aradori didn't have a chance to play a big role in Euroleague, as he previously was stuck on the bench twice with Armani Jeans and Montepaschi.

After leading the Italian national team, together with Danilo Gallinari, in qualification for EuroBasket 2013, Aradori had a very successful season in the Euroleague as well. The 24-year-old Aradori averaged 15 points per game and finished the season ranked 5th in terms of three-point shooting percentage (57%). A statement was made - Aradori might be a savior Italian basketball needs.

7. Jaka Blazic - Union Olimpija Ljubljana

2012-13 (Euroleague): 12.4 points, 4 rebounds in 20 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 3.6 points, 2.4 rebounds in 14 minutes

A massive improvement of Jaka Blazic's game might be a huge surprise for European basketball fans, but those who followed Slovenian hoops closer have noticed changes a bit earlier. Blazic has been playing impressively since the second half of last season and smoothly carried his game to this Euroleague season.

Blazic, 22, is heading to his contract year with Union Olimpija and next season will have a chance to prove that this season wasn't a fluke and he's capable of putting big numbers consistently.

8. Ante Tomic - FC Regal Barcelona

2012-13 (Euroleague): 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 24 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes

The reason why Ante Tomic is on this list is not the numbers he produces, which are similar to 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, or the results achieved by FC Regal Barcelona. No doubt, FC Regal Barcelona is currently the best team in Europe and Tomic is one of team's main strengths.

The consistency of Tomic in Euroleague Top 16 stage is the difference as the Croatian center constantly plays as an MVP on every game. Tomic became a game changer as he leads the Euroleague in plus-minus (+/-) rating with 13.1 points per 50 possessions. Tomic finished in double scoring figures in all ten Top 16 stage games so far and if the 25-year-old center maintains this pace, he has all the potential to be considered as a candidate to win MVP award in near future.

9. Mindaugas Kuzminskas - Zalgiris Kaunas

2012-13 (Euroleague): 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds in 12 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 2.8 points, 1.3 rebounds in 8 minutes

Mindaugas Kuzminskas had been having a hard time getting playing time in the Euroleague, but when the opportunities arose, the 23-year-old forward was ready to strike and use them. In the second half of this season, Kuzminskas finally received a chance to show his skills on the big scene and those performances weren't left unnoticed.

Kuzminskas scored 15 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and finished the game with career-high 21 PIR against Unicaja. Last week Kuzminskas made more noise against Real as he registered career-high 16 points (7-for-7 FG) and attracted attention from Spanish teams, who will consider bringing Kuzminskas for the next season. In addition, with the departure of Tremmell Darden, Kuzminskas should receive more playing time in last four Top 16 games.

10. Kostas Papanikolaou - Olympiakos Piraeus

2012-13 (Euroleague): 8.5 points (50% 3FG), 4 rebounds in 22 minutes

2011-12 (Euroleague): 6.1 points (33% 3FG), 3.4 rebounds in 20 minutes

After spectacular performance in last year's Euroleague final, where Kostas Papanikolau scored 18 points (3-for-3 3FG) and helped Olympiakos win the Euroleague, the expectations for the 22-year-old forward were sky-high.

Papanikolau demonstrated impressive shooting range this year as he ranked 2nd in three-point shooting percentage in regular season (59%) and averaged 10.5 points per game in that period. The Greek talent has slowed down a bit in Top 16, but it's clear that Papanikolau's game steadily grows and the question how good Papanikolau can be remains unanswered.

Euroleague Power Rankings: Small Forwards

Sonny Weems, Pete Mickeal, Andres Nocioni, Bostjan Nachbar, Emir Preldzic, Malik Hairston, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mickael Gelable, Krunoslav Simon and Jonas Maciulis are the top small forwards in Euroleage this season.

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Catching Up With Barcelona, Real Madrid

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