Having won two consecutive EuroLeague titles, Anadolu Efes opened the season on the way to its third victory. So, what awaits Ergin Ataman’s students?
Vasilije Micic’s three-pointer in Belgrade, which destroyed Olympiakos, means a lot. It has once again carried Anadolu Efes, which has become the dynasty of European basketball in recent years, to the championship game in the EuroLeague. Our representative, who played in the final in Vitoria in 2019 and bowed to CSKA Moscow, closed the season he dominated in 2020 without an award due to the pandemic, and reached a happy ending in 2021 Cologne, thus qualified for the finals to protect his European championship title. Moreover, he did so in a sequence that had a substandard regular season and raised a lot of question marks. The quarter-final series won in front of Olimpia Milano, the Olympiakos semi-final, which ended happily even though it was difficult, and the Real Madrid final, which was somehow not the best quality of the matches, meant the second championship in a row. The difficult success that only Maccabi Tel Aviv (2004 & 2005) and Olympiakos (2012 & 2013) achieved in this century brought an important question behind it: Will Ergin Ataman and his students be able to reach the third European championship in a row?
As the 2021-22 EuroLeague season is just ending, it has been heard that Anadolu Efes, which has Europe’s highest profile backing duo Micic and Shane Larkin, will make another big name. Will Clyburn, who became one of the best players of the continent with his performances in CSKA, set his course for Istanbul. Apparently; forming one of the “big three”, which we are more familiar with than the NBA, was Efes’ new plan for the “three-peat” (three championships in a row), which is also popularized by American sports. Bringing together Larkin, Micic and Clyburn, there was no doubt that the team would be a solid EuroLeague favourite. Adding Ante Zizic, Amath M’Baye and Achille Polonara to the squad despite the separation of two names who played a role in past successes such as Chris Singleton and Adrien Moerman, Efes created a threatening but threatening image, especially in the number four position. As a matter of fact, the Super Cup won in front of Fenerbahçe Beko, two league games that were not very difficult, and the first exam in the EuroLeague left a positive impression. The last champion; very dangerous under normal circumstances, even on bad days he was better than many with the help of individual creators.
Anadolu Efes, which lost to Monaco with the effect of a referee’s error in the past days, does not need to ring the alarm bells. Because it does not seem possible for them to take much damage until Shane Larkin, who cut his Eurobasket shift with the Turkish National Team short due to his injury and had surgery on his hand, returns. The rapid adaptation of the new signing Clyburn, the leadership of Micic, the familiarity of Coach Ataman and the squad core with winning will solve many problems. Matching Anadolu Efes can become more frustrating for opponents as the missing pieces are completed and the Final Four is approaching. It will be a privilege to witness again.