With six rounds of action in the books, there is enough data to start examining how excellence on offense and defense is affecting teams' records.
Stats review: How premier offenses and defenses affect the standings
Round 6 of the BKT EuroCup featured a marquee matchup in Group A and a rematch of last year’s championship game in Group B. With Paris Basketball handing Hapoel Shlomo Tel Aviv its first loss in a blowout and Dreamland Gran Canaria renewing its 2022 EuroCup Championship rivalry with a 13-point win over Turk Telekom Ankara, it was an eventful week that provided a rough outline of what the league landscape may look like moving forward.
The graph above depicts the efficiency of this season’s field in terms of how far above and below the league average they have been on both ends of the floor. On its surface, it captures the distance Paris and Hapoel have made on the field offensively, Gran Canaria’s impressive two-way efforts that have it looking like a real threat to become the competition’s first repeat champion, and the massive glut of teams that are still jockeying for position in the middle of the field.
Digging a little deeper, we see that offense has been the biggest differentiator among the teams that have gotten off to a fast start in the standings, but not a source of parity in the middle of the pack; there are a dozen teams all within striking distance of one another with the way they put the ball in the basket in the early going.
The spread is only a little wider among that group on the defensive end, but in contrast, there is no team running away with things defensively. Newcomer Aris Midea Thessaloniki is on the cusp of achieving that kind of separation as it has overcome some tough shooting nights with its ability to string together stops to get to 3-3, but still finds itself in limbo in the middle of the standings early on.
Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul also warrants mention among newcomers as it sits alongside the London Lions and Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse in the second tier of three teams who have been outplaying their opponents on both offense and defense.
Besiktas will be a team to watch in the coming weeks as it will have a chance to sink or swim in Group A with its next three games coming against London, Paris, and Hapoel.
Regardless of where a team finds itself in the standings, most will have to reckon with how different the stakes are this season due to the new postseason format.
While nothing ever comes easy for the teams in the middle of the field in the EuroCup, last season, .500-level basketball was enough to comfortably secure a playoff spot. That will not be the case this season as it appears likely the .500 will be the minimum requirement to sweat out a postseason berth and not the green check it was last season. That will make the action in the middle of the standings especially compelling this season.