After every team tried to get better over the summer, the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season is right around the corner. Some players were brought in to fill roles big and small, but a chosen few were tabbed for their leadership as much as their production. As the season approaches, they are poised to have a big impact on their new clubs. Take a look at some of these players with our Top 10 signature signings for the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague!
10. Alec Peters, CSKA Moscow
CSKA needed fresh firepower and got that by signing Peters, a stretch forward with unlimited range. He once scored 36 points in an NBA game and was one of two players to make 8 three-pointers in an NBA game last season. Peters is a very smart player, deadly in pick-and-pop situations, with a quick release and great determination. He is also aggressive, draws many fouls and goes to the free throw line more often than other shooting specialists. His addition will give CSKA another shooting threat alongside former EuroLeague MVPs Sergio Rodriguez and Nando De Colo, which will make his new team even harder to stop.
9. Kim Tillie, Herbalife Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is making its EuroLeague debut, and by keeping a core of players who have been together for many years, it hopes to be competitive right away. Most of the players in that core lack EuroLeague experience, however, which is why signing power forward Kim Tillie was an excellent move. Tillie comes off an injury-troubled season and is eager to prove himself as the top-class power forward he has been before, especially in helping Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz reach the Final Four in 2016. His 95 games and four seasons of EuroLeague experience makes him a key player for head coach Salva Maldonado.
8. Petteri Koponen, FC Bayern Munich
Back in the EuroLeague after three seasons, FC Bayern Munich opted to keep most of the players with which it won the German League and Cup last season. But it also brought in four newcomers, the most experienced player among them being combo guard Petteri Koponen. At age 30, Koponen arrives at Munich in the prime of his career. A former EuroCup champion with Khimki Moscow Region, Koponen has four seasons of EuroLeague experience, having scored 846 points in 101 games. His high basketball IQ, deep range and quick release, especially off the dribble, make Koponen a dangerous threat as he looks to take on a leadership role with Bayern.
7. Darrun Hilliard, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Baskonia was active in the off-season market and ended up bringing in players that not many people expected to see in Europe. That is the case with Darrun Hilliard, who has left the United States for the first time to test his skills on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Hilliard is an all-around scorer and a glue guy who will do anything Baskonia needs to win. He is a good shooter with deep range, but can also use his explosiveness, court sense and aggressiveness to attack the basket. Hilliard defends well, too, whether one on one or collecting steals in the passing lanes. If he adjusts quickly, Hilliard will be one of the players to watch in the EuroLeague this season.
6. Shane Larkin, Anadolu Efes Istanbul
After a season away, Larkin returns to the EuroLeague on a mission: to lead Efes to a successful season. Larkin had a great EuroLeague rookie campaign with Baskonia two years ago, one in which he proved himself to be a true floor general, a great decision-maker with very deep range, athleticism and a knack for choosing the right play. At age 25, his best basketball is yet to come, and Coach Ergin Ataman knows how to bring out the best in of a talented playmaker with good passing skills — having done so with Carlos Arroyo and Errick McCollum in recent years. Coming into the prime of his career, Larkin could turn into the next EuroLeague superstar.
5.- Joffrey Lauvergne, Fenerbahce Istanbul
At age 26, Lauvergne is a young veteran on his return to the EuroLeague. In his last EuroLeague campaign with Partizan Belgrade back in 2014, Lauvergne proved to be a mobile, modern big man able to run the floor like few others, as well as a hungry rebounder with the will to catch any and all missed shots. After cycling through four NBA teams, Lauvergne is ready to put his experience to work for Fenerbahce. He returns to the EuroLeague stronger, faster, and ready to do damage under the baskets alongside Jan Vesely and Nicolo Melli. With coaching legend Zeljko Obradovic on Fenerbahce’s bench, that only means trouble for all of its opponents.
4.- Keith Langford, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
A two-time Alphonso Ford Top Scoring trophy winner, Langford is back to the EuroLeague to play for a powerhouse. Langford is the only EuroLeague player with more than 2,000 points who has no Final Four experiences — yet. At the same time, Panathinaikos has not been to the Final Four since 2012, but both player and club want the same — and not just make it to Vitoria Gasteiz next May, but to lift the trophy at the end of the season. Langford is a proven scorer who will probably have a very different role than on his last EuroLeague team, UNICS Kazan, where he was always his team’s first option, but expect him to adjust to any situation that allows him to compete for the EuroLeague title.
3.- Nemanja Nedovic, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
Three seasons with Unicaja Malaga turned Nedovic from an up-and-coming talent into a EuroLeague star and 7DAYS EuroCup champion. Last season, Nedovic averaged 16.8 points in 24 games, finishing as the second-best scorer in the EuroLeague. His 4.8 assists on average also prove that Nedovic was much more than a scorer. Smart, ambitious and ready, Nedovic can generate from pick-and-roll situations, create his own shot, whether driving or off the dribble, and has the instinct and determination that mark great players. Milan signed him to a multi-year contract at age 27, giving its fans the chance to follow Nedovic through the prime of his career.
2.- Scottie Wilbekin, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Simply put, nobody ever dominated the 7DAYS EuroCup the way Wilbekin did last season. He single-handedly took Darussafaka Istanbul to the title, earning regular season, full season and EuroCup Finals MVP honors. Wilbekin was just unstoppable, hitting shots off the dribble, often with defenders all over him, as his team’s leader through thick and thin. He had 41 points and 10 three-pointers in Game 2 of the semifinals in Munich, hit an unbelievable triple to force overtime in Game 1 of the finals against Lokomotiv Kuban, and scored 28 in Game 2 to take the title. Poise, determination, skill and leadership are what Maccabi got in one of the most-wanted players of this off-season.
1.- Kevin Pangos, FC Barcelona Lassa
Pangos is the only All-EuroLeague selection to switch teams within the competition during the off-season. Barcelona brought in a creative point guard with an extremely high basketball IQ who rarely makes wrong decisions, can create his own shot and is a true extension of his coach on the court. Pangos is also the perfect complement for Thomas Heurtel, a fast point guard who likes to run the floor and take quick decisions. Heurtel (6.4 apg.) and Pangos (5.9 apg.) ranked second and third in assists, respectively, in the EuroLeague last season. By adding Pangos, Barcelona makes sure it will have at least one great playmaker on the floor at all times, and that can only mean good news for a team searching to bounce back after missing the playoffs in the last couple of the years.