A disappointing campaign for Panathinaikos OPAP Athens contained many memorable highlights and reasons to believe the Greens could enjoy an upturn in fortune next season.
Season in review: Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
The most impressive victory for Panathinaikos came in Round 6 with a 95-69 thrashing of reigning champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul. The victory was catapulted by a spectacular performance from Daryl Macon, who set a club record by sinking 9 three-pointers on 12 attempts. He also made both his two-pointers, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 3 assists for a PIR of 38, earning the MVP of the Round award. The Greens got strong contributions from Nemanja Nedovic, who didn’t miss a shot on his way to 17 points and big man Georgios Papagiannis with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, too.
He’s got next
Neoklis Avdalas made history by becoming the youngest ever scorer in the competition, netting the Greens’ last basket with a fastbreak slam in a home win over ALBA Berlin in Round 14. That memorable moment came on his EuroLeague debut, two months before his 16th birthday. Avdalas continued to gain playing time over the next few weeks, finishing the season with six appearances. There is still plenty of time for the guard to blossom and it might be another couple of years before he becomes a regular contributor, but the experience gained this season by one of Europe’s brightest talents will be invaluable in his development.
An outstanding presence for Panathinaikos this season was big man Georgios Papagiannis, whose dominance inside the paint earned him a selection into the All-EuroLeague second team. The 24-year-old averaged a league-high 8.2 rebounds and posted eight double-doubles on his way to 10.2 points per game. He also led the regular season in shots blocked with 50 blocks in 29 games at an average of 1.7 per night. Those excellent numbers allowed Papagiannis to record an average PIR of 17.4, which was the eighth-best in the competition.
Panathinaikos suffered terribly on its travels in the opening months of the season, losing its first 11 away games before finally grabbing a road win with a 63-76 victory at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in mid-February. The Greens also finished the season with an away triumph, overcoming Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 59-62 in the final round of the regular season for only its second away victory of the campaign – the joint-fewest in the competition. Those road woes contrasted to Panathinaikos’s decent form in Athens, where the Greens showed their potential by winning eight games. If that home form could have been matched by similar performances on the road, Panathinaikos would have stayed in the mix for a playoff spot.