Panathinaikos OPAP forward Konstantinos Mitoglou has been given more opportunities and more playing time during the 2020-21 season than any of his previous three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague campaigns. And though the 24-year old forward has been posting improved numbers overall, it is safe to say that during the month of January, Mitoglou has played the best basketball of his career.
Entering this season, Mitoglou had scored in double figures nine times in 59 appearances. He scored 10 or more points five more times before Round 18 this season. Since the start of the new year, however, he has a streak of five double-digit scoring games in his last six, making him one of the hottest performers in the league.
In a disappointing Round 17 loss at Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on December 30, Mitoglou had 4 points and 3 rebounds. It was a down night for him, even though he was playing slightly better this season than in the past, with averages of 6.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and a 7.8 PIR at that point. But since the new calendar year kicked in Mitoglou has taken his game to another level.
Since Round 18, Mitoglou is posting 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, nearly doubling both his scoring and rebounding, while also delivering more blocks in one month of action than he had in the previous three months combined.
In those six January games, Mitoglou attempted 50 two-point shots, just 7 fewer than the total of his first 15 appearances this season. With the larger volume, 10.5 field goals per game as compared to 5.9 prior to this stretch, Mitoglou is expectedly shooting lower percentages. What has changed most lately is that he's taking more shots closer to the basket. Mitoglou had started the season shooting 1 three-pointer for every 2 two-point attempts. Since Round 18, he has cut down on long-distance attempts, taking just one-fifth of all his shots from the arc.
That change has helped Mitoglou string together four consecutive double-digit scoring performances between Round 18 and 21, capped with a career-best performance in a win over Khimki Moscow Region. That night, Mitoglou collected a career-high 29 points plus 12 rebounds for a performance index rating of 42, earning him that week's MVP honor.
Just eight players have accumulated a higher PIR than Mitoglou's 110 since Round 18, good for 18.33 on average. But where he has excelled most is in rebounding. No player in the EuroLeague has pulled down more rebounds over the six January games than his 49, topping the likes of Nikola Milutinov, Walter Tavares and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Those recent performances by Mitoglou helped Panathinaikos earn three wins last month, and Mitoglou will be poised to carry over his form into February, which the Greens open on Friday with a local derby against archrival Olympiacos Piraeus.