The 30-year-old forward is enjoying his finest EuroCup season on the heels of a historic performance with Latvia over the summer.
Grazulis's World Cup success paying off for Trento
Andrejs Grazulis of Dolomiti Energia Trento is among the most improved players over the past season in the BKT EuroCup certainly among players who remained on the same team. One major reason for that was his success over the summer at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Grazulis is averaging 14.0 points on 54.5% three-point shooting, 5.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists for Trento for an averaged performance index rating of 15.8.
Those numbers are drastically better than what he produced last season for the Italian club, when he was worth 8.7 points on 20.3% three-point shooting to go with 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists for a PIR of 7.9.
“What I learned from last year is that we need to be ready for whatever during the season, but still keep our identity and confidence,” said the 30-year-old Grazulis.
The Latvian forward last season made his return to the EuroCup after last playing in the competition in 2014-15 with BK Ventspils.
“Yeah, nine years is a long time,” he said about his return to the EuroCup.
After averaging 10.0 points in the first four games of the current campaign, Grazulis really started taking off in Round 5 with 22 points and 7 assists in a 101-96 overtime win over Turk Telekom Ankara.
“We almost blew it in overtime, but these wins grow the character of the team,” said Grazulis, who hit a big three-pointer to make it 99-93 late in the extra session.
Over the last four games, Grazulis is averaging 18.0 points and he has made 13 of 20 three-pointers (65.0%) to go with 7.3 rebounds.
A lot of Grazulis’s confidence stems from him helping Latvia finish in fifth place at the 2023 World Cup in its first appearance at the global event.
“It’s always a pleasure to play for the national team, and to win and achieve the goal is even better,” said Grazulis, who averaged 14.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks at the tournament.
Latvia shocked the world as the first-timers defeated powerhouses France and Spain and then finished off Brazil to reach the quarterfinals - meaning the country had locked up a top-eight result.
Grazulis and Latvia would end up losing to eventual world champion Germany 81-79 in the quarterfinals, with star forward Davis Bertans missing a three-pointer in the waning seconds.
“At the beginning, it was very disappointing, but there is no time to be sad and get fixated on the last game because we as a team felt that because of one lost game we have to give up something in the next games,” said Grazulis, who had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss to Germany.
Latvia would rebound and beat Italy and Lithuania to grab fifth place.
“It was a good last game [versus Lithuania] to go home with good feelings about the whole thing. But there is that feeling because we were so close to advancing but that’s how life in sport is,” said Grazulis, who scored 28 points in the 87-82 win over Italy.
Another big reason for the improved production is Grazulis getting more and more comfortable with living in Italy. His Italia experience began in 2019 with second division Derthona Basket. He jumped to Italian League side Pallacanestro Trieste and averaged 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 2021-22.
“The jump to Serie A wasn’t hard because basketball is basketball everywhere, just some small adjustments. But that was no problem,” he said.
The biggest adjustment from last season to this season for Grazulis is his added confidence and it is showing.