The Journey of the 12 Big Men of Turkey at the EuroBasket 2017 so far


As one of the host nations currently playing in the EuroBasket 2017 tournament, Turkey has had a rocky start to the tournament. Newly appointed Ufuk Sarıca, had hand picked a group of 12 men that could potentially cohesively make a good run for the final four of the tournament.

Game 1 (versus Russia) – The ISO play that Shved drains

The anxious Turkish side started out the game with a great fast break point by Cedi Osman (recent acquisition of the CAVS).

Courtesy of FIBA the highlights of the game:

Looking at the advanced statistics and post game figures we see alarming issues in terms of rebounding and assists that come about on the Turkish side.

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Look back at the initial game now, the fact that unforced errors, low number of assists as well as rebounds have been a concern, the USG and HOB factors for the team point out that none of the rotational players had been effective. Cedi Osman and Semih Erden were the only two player that were able to make effective poss. plays. In total there were 14 various  lineups that were effectively used during the game. Coach Bazarevich while having spent last season with Trabzonspor Basket seems to have the playbook of Ufuk Sarıca pegged to a tee. Yet to be very honest, the clutch play of Alexey Shved (which can be viewed below courtesy of FIBA) was the dagger of the game for the Turkish side.

Two notes to to mention for the Russian side concerning their opening stand, Can Tüysüz has analyzed wonderfully, a regular defensive set that they put to use is their Show up defensive play. Here is a clip where they executed this defense well against Serbia:

FInally, a great offensive set that they executed several times in their game against Turkey as well as against Serbia was their pick and roll play:

Game 2 (versus Great Britain) – The 14 point difference 

A much more relaxed team which clearly had one thought of “VICTORY” in mind was Turkey during their 2nd game. Both NBA rookies of the Turkish side, Cedi Osman as well as Furkan Korkmaz proved their worth during the game.

One point that stuck out to me was the fact that besides Semih Erden there is no second big man that has the same or similar build or shoulder width. This will be a very critical factor in games to come is they manage to pass the group phases of the tournament. While we all know that the game is speeding up and the conventional big man is no longer a major effective sought after position, Semih Erden can be a unique factor.

Besides Erden, the second player that I see as under rated is Erkan Veyseloğlu, the 34 year old Munich, Germany born small forward brings added energy as well as a unique flavor of leadership to the team.

Finally Barış Hersek a player that has won the Euroleague championship last season with Fenerbahçe Men’s Basketball team, he is not an ordinary rotational player that Ufuk Sarıca goes for however given the stretch 4 positioning and the fact that he can spread the floor with a decent shot makes him a treat to opponents.

Looking back at the 2nd game, with the highlights of the game courtesy of FIBA:


Looking at the advanced statistics post game:

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Four players on the Turkish side managed to score in double figures. Overall a much more fast paced game where possessions vs. the pace of the game allowed the Turkish team to make changes and tweaks early on in terms of rotations. In comparison to the first game there were 15 effective lineups that produced offense and made effective defensive plays.

To me the man of this game was Melih Mahmutoğlu with a major contribution on offense. However it should be noted that in terms of set plays as well as transition possessions the Turkish side creativity really is triggered by the NBA Rookies to be (Cedi Osman and Furkan Korkmaz).

I would be remiss not to mention that Sinan Guler brings a much needed floor general vibe to the entire team.

Overall Situation of the team:

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Critical numbers that the Turkish National Men’s Team need to focus on in the remaining games: 

Turkey needs to be much more effective on both ends of the court in terms of rebounds! Grabbing +8 offensive rebounds and +12 defensive rebounds per game would instantly mean that they could see themselves in the next group phase. They are currently at 23rd place among all teams in the tournament tied with Israel (RP40M).

Producing assists overall is a big question mark that is still unanswered for the Turkish team. They are tied at 18th place with Poland. Over 2 games AP40M (Assists Per 40 Minutes) they have only been able to produce 3.2 assists. In order to be able to guarantee wins at this tournament level being able to dish +7 assists is the critical number for the team to pass the group phase.

For anyone that wants to read further about the next game analysis versus Serbia, Can Tüysüz has done an amazing job in analyzing the game. The detailed article is up on Medium which can be read further here: beware it is in Turkish!

As it stands with the schedule and all the win probability calculations involved currently Turkey has an overall 33,3% probability to win the tournament. They still stand a 49% probability of getting out of the group phases per calculations I just completed including potential win probability added (WPA), effective scoring, defensive efficiency scaled in.

Turkey are a good team, this should not be overlooked, however the fact of the matter is that all national teams currently competing in the tournament are playing a high level of transitional and counter attack type of basketball. As always a very overlooked factor within these tournaments are the shots that are opposed/deflected/blocked as well as the overall forced errors defensive traps that are set up. The teams that manage to recover fast or adjust their plays will eventually be in the final four of the event.

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