The new Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season has the potential to be a truly historic one as Anadolu Efes Istanbul attempts to join ASK Riga and Jugoplastika Split as the only teams ever to win three continental consecutive titles.
Efes would become the first such three-peat champion this century and the second of the Final Four era after Split more than three decades ago, from 1989 to 1991. What's more, Efes head coach Ergin Ataman can become the only coach in the Final Four era, and the first since Alexander Gomelskiy did so with ASK between 1958 and 1960, to win three years in a row.
Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see how Efes navigate this new challenge after achieving EuroLeague glory in different ways over each of the past two seasons.
In the 2020-21 campaign, Efes lost three of its first four games, but righted its ship quickly, winning five of the next six. Still, it was sitting with an 8-9 record at the end of December before going all-in and dominating the rest of the way, winning 14 out of the next 16 games, including an eight-game winning streak from late January to late March. Efes finished that 2020-21 regular season with a 22-12 record in third place before going on to survive against Real Madrid in the five-game playoff to eventually down CSKA Moscow and FC Barcelona at the Final Four in Cologne for the club's first EuroLeague title.