Khimki Moscow Region coach Rimas Kurtinaitis has added plenty of tried and tested EuroLeague quality ahead of the new season, starting with scoring star Errick McCollom. The veteran shooter averaged 14.6 points per game with Anadolu Efes during the 2017-18 season, and compiled a fantastic record of 17.0 p.p.g. over the course of four seasons and 72 games in the 7DAYS EuroCup. More experience has been added into the backcourt with the capture of Evgeny Voronov, whose arrival from Zenit St Petersburg means he will have represented five different Russian clubs in the competition. In the paint, versatile Jordan Mickey returns to the club after a solid season with Real Madrid. And even more power comes with the arrival of Greg Monroe from FC Bayern Munich, where he posted impressive averages of 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds, ranking fifth in the EuroLeague in the latter category.
There’s no doubting the star of Khimki’s show. Alexey Shved has been downing baskets at an unprecedented rate over the last few years, winning the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy in 2017-18 and battling hard with Shane Larkin to take the honor again last season before action was curtailed. Shved has averaged more than 20 points per game for each of the last three seasons, and will no doubt launch another challenge to break his own competition record for the most three-pointers converted in a season. His heroics will be complemented by the arrival of McCollom, another brutally consistent scorer, while further threat from the perimeter comes from Dairis Bertans. The man responsible for pulling the strings is Stefan Jovic, the holder of the competition’s single-game assists record, who is back for a second season with Khimki after a solid first year saw him register 7.6 points and 4.2 assists per game. The lengthy list of backcourt options available to Kurtinaitis is completed by new signing Voronov, along with fellow Russians Viatcheslav Zaitsev and Egor Vialtsev.
Khimki can again count on the team’s leading two rebounders from last season, Devin Booker and Jonas Jerebko. The consistent American averaged 11.6 points and 4.8 boards per game, while Jerebko was similarly impressive as he posted 11.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. The addition of summer signings Monroe and Jordan alongside that duo gives Khimki plenty of presence inside the paint, and evergreen veteran Sergey Monia is also back for another year, while 2.20-meter Andrey Desiatnikov will hope for more playing time after a limited role last season. The key man on the perimeter is Janis Timma, who spent nearly half an hour per game on the court last season with the majority of his 12.5 points per game coming from long range. Swingman Sergey Karasev is also more than capable of scoring from deep, and the frontcourt roster is rounded off by Maksim Barashkov.
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Shved will surely get his usual bundle of points, the addition of McCollom gives another scoring option, and the frontcourt is loaded with potential. But perhaps the key man for Khimki will be Stefan Jovic, who will be tasked with pulling everything together and providing order. Jovic ranked sixth last season for assists-to-turnovers, and the Serbian playmaker is eighth in the league in that category since making his EuroLeague debut in 2014. If Jovic can maintain his good habit of looking after the ball and provide a stable base for Shved to do his thing, his role for Khimki will be fundamental.
There can be no doubting the talent within the Khimki roster, and coach Kurtinaitis has significant experience of success on the continental stage after leading the club to three EuroCup titles. The Russian team was building momentum last season with four wins out of five before the enforced break, and a fast start to the new campaign – which should be possible with five of the first eight games coming at home – would give Khimki every chance of making a major push for the playoffs…at least.