AS Monaco will compete in the 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals for the first time. Herbalife Gran Canaria has reached its stage for the third time – and first since 2015. Their series promises to be an interesting and exciting one.
Different playing styles
Both teams play very different brands of basketball on offense, which makes this series even more interesting. Monaco heavily relies on two-point shots, ranking second overall in attempts inside the arc (42.1). Gran Canaria ranks 19th overall in two-point shots attempted with just 34.6 per game. Both teams have similar shooting percentages - Monaco has made 54.2% of its two-point shots, which is just a bit better than its opponent (53.6%). On the other hand, Gran Canaria has turned the three-point shot into one of its biggest weapons. It has taken 28.7 three-pointers per game, fourth-most in the EuroCup this season, and a lot more than Monaco, whose 21.9 shots from downtown are 20th overall. Despite its heavy volume of shots, Gran Canaria (38.0%) has a much better three-point shooting percentage than Monaco (33.2%) this season.
Rebounds should be key
Monaco is the best offensive rebounding team in the competition with 13.8 per game so far in this EuroCup season. Wilfried Yeguete (6.24) ranks third overall in offensive rebounds per 40 minutes and Mathias Lessort (5.03) ranks sixth. Gran Canaria is seventh overall on offensive rebounds (11.6 orpg.) and none of its players are among the top 15 in this category. On a per-minute basis, Aleksander Balcerowski ranks fourth (5.68 prorated over 40 minutes) and Oliver Stevic is 11th (4.44). Monaco, however, ranks 20th in the EuroCup on defensive rebounds (22.5 drpg), allowing 10.7 offensive rebounds on average. Gran Canaria has better numbers, allowing 10.6 offensive boards but getting 25.6 per game under its own basket. Three Gran Canaria players, Matt Costello (4.5 drpg.), Javier Beiran (3.9 drpg.) and John Shurna (3.9 drpg.) get more defensive boards than Monaco's leader in that category, 1.88-meter swingman Marcos Knight (3.4 drpg.).
Just like in its quarterfinals series against Boulogne Metropolitans 92, experience is on Gran Canaria's side. Andrew Albicy was named to the 2018-19 All-EuroCup First Team and played the semifinals with MoraBanc Andorra that season together with current teammate John Shurna, who is in his fifth campaign in the competition, and Oliver Stevic, in his ninth EuroCup season with his seventh team. Stevic, however, could not play in that semifinals series due to injury. Moreover, Gran Canaria is A.J. Slaughter's sixth team in the EuroCup and Javier Beiran was a World Cup champion with the Spanish national team, too. No one in Monaco has played in the EuroCup Semifinals before: other than this season's experience, Dee Bost reached the quarterfinals with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in 2013 and Lessort with Unicaja Malaga in 2019. Both coaches, Zvezdan Mitrovic of Monaco and Porfi Fisac of Gran Canaria, face their first EuroCup Semifinals series, too.
Monaco has the opportunity to become the second French League game to reach the EuroCup Finals. Strasbourg played for the EuroCup crown in 2016 after knocking out EWE Baskets Oldenburg of Germany, Nizhny Novgorod of Russia and Dolomiti Energia Trento of France to reach the finals, where it lost to Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul. Strasbourg was also the only French League team to make it to the semifinals until Monaco this season. Gran Canaria played in the EuroCup Finals in 2015. Only seven teams have played the EuroCup Finals more than once. Valencia has done so six times, Rytas Vilnius and Khimki Moscow Region each made it three times apiece and UNICS Kazan, ALBA Berlin, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Real Madrid have been there twice. Gran Canaria is one of 11 Spanish teams to ever make it to the semifinals and one of eight to reach the Finals, along with Real, Valencia, Joventut Badalona, Bilbao Basket, Cajasol Sevilla, Unicaja Malaga and Akasvayu Girona.