Looking down on the competition is normal for Walter Tavares, one of the tallest players in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague history. The 2.20-meter center, Euroleague Basketball's choice for MVP of November, now has Real Madrid enjoying the view from the top, too.
MVP for November: Walter Tavares, Real Madrid
At the end of October, Real was in the middle of nine teams who had won between four and six games. A month later, Real now shares first place at 10-2 with archrival FC Barcelona, both sitting two victories clear of the pack barely 10 days ahead of their first El Clásico of the season. Tavares played a central role in Real's stellar November surge. He posted performance index ratings of 13 or more in all five victories, ultimately leading Real for the month in total PIR (90), rebounds (35) and blocks (9). He also scored the team's second-most points (56) while hardly missing any shots all month long, finding the bottom of the basket in 31 of his 40 attempts – all in less than 25 minutes per game. With his near-perfect play during his team's perfect month, Tavares stood heads above all EuroLeague players in November.
The MVP of the Month honor is now in its 17th season. Although statistics and performance index ratings are taken into consideration for the award, they alone do not determine who is honored. The winner is named by Euroleague Basketball based on his and his team's performance during the month in question. November marks Tavares's second MVP of the Month honor. He previously won the award in October 2018.
Real opened November with a hard-fought 76-80 road win against FC Bayern Munich. Tavares fouled out in that game but managed to be very effective in the 22 minutes he spent on the floor, finishing with 7 points on 3-of-3 two-point shooting and 9 rebounds for a PIR of 13. Next, Los Blancos took a 95-82 home victory over Zalgiris Kaunas as Tavares was among six double-digit scorers for Real with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting inside the arc and 6 rebounds for a PIR of 14. A two-round week then opened with Real ambushing LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, 74-87, as Tavares posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. He added 2 assists, 2 blocks and 5 fouls drawn to amass a PIR of 25. Real came home two nights later to register a 79-67 victory over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. Tavares played less than 21 minutes, but that didn't prevent him from making the difference: 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting inside the arc, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks and a PIR of 23. In his team's visit to Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz to end the month, Tavares made 6 of 7 two-point shots for 12 points to go with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks for a PIR of 15. Real's 60-88 victory was its third of the month away from the Spanish capital.
Tavares finished November with averages of 11.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 18.0 PIR. He was just unstoppable around the basket, hitting 25 of 31 two-point shots for a stellar percentage, 81.8%. Tavares is shooting 79.7% from inside the arc this season, the highest percentage by any player with at least 50 two-point shot attempts in any EuroLeague season to date. He already holds the full-season record – 104-of-131, or 79.4% – from the 2018-19 season. Real's 10 victories at present are three more than the team had through 12 games last season, and there is no doubt that Tavares's impact at both ends of the floor is a key factor. Tavares is set to receive the November MVP trophy at an upcoming home game.