Final Four Comes Back After a Two Years
The EuroLeague 2021 Final Four takes place in Cologne, Germany. The four teams that have secured their place in the semifinals are CSKA Moscow, Anadolu Efes, Barcelona, and Armani Milano. These are the four best teams in Europe and are eager to put their hands on the trophy. Last season we didn’t have the opportunity to see the ending of the EuroLeague competition, due to its ridiculous board and the president Joseph Bartomeu, who simply interrupted the league and didn’t even consider making proper circumstances for finishing the same.
However, this campaign went without such issues, which will allow us to see the best of the best on the European continent.
- Barcelona +180
- Anadolu Efes +190
- CSKA Moscow +400
- AX Armani Exchange Milano +500
Now, let us present you the participant teams and matchups in the semis.
Efes a Strong Favorite Over CSKA
The first one is CSKA Moscow vs Anadolu Efes. It would be the finals before the finals if it weren’t for Mike James’ departure from CSKA. The fantastic scorer left the Russian powerhouse following a dispute over his personal issues and landed… among the Brooklyn Nets, where he chases the NBA title along with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.
James was one of the most dominant players in Europe (if not the best) and by far the best player in CSKA. He scored 19.3 points per game, and once he left, the Russians were pretty much decapitated. Will Clyburn, the former University of Utah and Iowa State forward, is the leader now with 14.1 points and 49.4% of shooting from the floor.
Nikola Milutinov, the first-round draft choice of San Antonio from 2015, is the other anchor of this team, with 9.8 points and 8.8 boards, but with fantastic influence on both ends of the court.
On the other side, Anadolu has this year’s EuroLeague MVP, Vasilije Micic, who will join the Oklahoma City Thunder next season. The Serb averages 16.3 points with a high 56.3 percent of shooting, adding 4.8 assists. He and the sharpshooter Shane Larkin are the leaders of the Turkish Side.
Larkin, who had a solid background in the NBA, has 15 points per game but is one of the best shooters in the competition, and once he gets going, it is almost impossible to stop him.
Barca And Pau Gasol Against Armani Milano
The second matchup is Barcelona vs Armani Milano. The Spanish side is the absolute favorite here, according to all the relevant analysts. They have better players with more experience, and overall their team looks much deeper than the Italian. Armani is the biggest surprise this season, and practically nobody saw them reaching this stage before the campaign started.
Barcelona has the toughest defense in EuroLeague, allowing only 72.8 points per game to its opponents. The reason for that is an incredibly aggressive system imposed by their coach, Sarunas Jasikevicius, who, during the season, received a major boost. Pau Gasol, a two-time NBA champion and one of the best players in the NBA over the past two decades, decided to come back and help his team on its path to conquering the European throne.
Yet, his role is not as big as Nikola Mirotic’s. The former Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Pelicans power forward is the man in the middle here. His 15.5 points are the team-high, but noting that he shots 60.2% from the field and 42.2% from downtown. His two sidekicks are Cory Higgins (whose Godfather is Michael Jordan) and Brandon Davies, with almost 25 points combined per game.
As for Armani, this team plays courageously, without backing out from any situation. Their head coach is Ettore Messina, one of the best head coaches in the history of Europe who had a very good career in the NBA, serving under Gregg Popovich. These two guys along with the rest of the squad which has no particular stars, but hard-working individuals, are making a perfect fit. In general, this is a team where every man knows his role and boundaries.
The Italians are one of the best teams in the history of the EuroLeague in keeping the ball with just 11 turnovers per match. They have Sergio Rodriguez, the former MVP, who orchestrates the whole game impeccably at the point guard position. They also shoot from deep 41%, the best of all teams.
Efes is the best team in the tournament and the most balanced one. They pretty much kept the entire roster from the previous year intact, upgrading certain areas of their game. In 2019 this unit was stopped in the finals against CSKA, and last year they were on the way to becoming one of the most dominant champions ever. Virtually nobody could stop these guys who didn’t have luck with COVID-19 pandemics.
We believe that they have the capacity to defeat both CSKA (without bigger problems) and probably Barcelona (who will beat Armani Milano) in the finals. The odds of them winning the EuroLeague are +190.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.