Anadolu Efes Istanbul became the fourth team in the Final Four era to win back-to-back EuroLeague championships and it did so by leaning heavily on its two biggest stars.
Larkin and Micic lead in minutes, and to the EuroLeague crown
For the first time at the Final Four this century, two players on the title-winning team averaged more than 35 minutes per game. Larkin led all players at the Final Four in Belgrade with 37:23 per game and Final Four MVP Micic was second with 35:40 per game. Larkin spent just over 5 minutes of play on the bench over the entire Final Four weekend and Micic was on the bench for less than 9.
There were only two other players who averaged 30 or more minutes per game at the 2022 Final Four: Olympiacos Piraeus All-EuroLeague forward Sasha Vezenkov (33:00) and Efes swingman Elijah Bryant (30:00).
Larkin and Micic, however, entered rare company when it comes to playing heavy minutes and winning the Final Four. There have been only 10 occasions at Final Fours this century that a player has averaged more minutes than Larkin's 37:23 and only four of them did so without playing overtime games. The leaders are Dejan Bodiroga in 2002 with Panathinaikos Athens and Vrbica Stefanov with Montepaschi Siena in 2003, each with 38:30 per game. Ekpe Udoh averaged 37:33 with Fenerbahce Istanbul in 2017 and Bodiroga again in 2003 with FC Barcelona (37:30).
The theme of Efes relying heavily on its two All-EuroLeague guards is not new. Larkin and Micic were first and fourth, respectively, in minutes played this season at 31:53 and 30:12. Only seven players averaged more than 30 minutes per game and none of the others were teammates, like Larkin and Micic who became the first teammates to play at least 35 minutes per game while winning the EuroLeague crown.