AX Armani Exchange Milan small forward Shavon Shield is having his best Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season yet. It is his third in the competition, and first with Milan, and it's the first time he is averaging double digits in points.
Shields also improved his rebounding numbers this season, and has been among the best three-point shooters, too, knocking down 48.5% from long range this season while making at least 1 three-pointer in 15 straight appearances.
But as much as he had performed at such high level this season, since the start of February, Shields has taken his performances to another level.
Shields has been consistent the entire season. In 16 games before his injury, and in the first game back after a five-game absence, Shields averaged 12.6 points and 3.8 rebounds. He made 51.0% of his two-point shots, and ranked among the best three-point shooters in the EuroLeague with 48.2% from behind the arc. He posted an average PIR of 13.6 in those games.
In those last four games, however, Shields raised his averages across the board.
He has been posting 15.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in his last four appearances. In those games Shields has made 20 of his 27 two-point attempts, good for an impressive 74.1%, and he even upped his three-point shooting, going 6-for-12 from long range during that span. His high-level production led to an average PIR of 20.8 in those games.
Milan and Shields started the month of February with a Round 24 road loss against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, in which Shields had 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field, along with pulling down 6 rebounds for a PIR 19. The following round, in a home win against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, Shields had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field, along with 9 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal for a PIR 21.
In the next game, a loss against Zenit St Petersburg in rescheduled Round 5 game, Shields had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists for a PIR 19. Finally, last week in a home win over Khimki Moscow Region, Shields collected 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for a PIR 24.
Only one player, Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, accumulated a higher PIR than Shields in games played last month, albeit Shields played one extra game compared to everyone else. However, if we remove one Milan's rescheduled game from the equation to even the playing field with the rest of the EuroLeague, only three players accumulated a higher PIR over the last three rounds than Shields's 64.
Milan will be looking for Shields to continue his string of performances on Wednesday, when it welcomes De Colo and Fenerbahce to Mediolanum Forum. A victory in this game, against a team that has won 10 of its last 11 games, would give Milan another push in the tight races for the playoffs and for home-court advantage.