As we reach the middle third of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season and players have settled into their roles, attention to detail will be key to rising higher in EuroLeague FabFive Challenge. What makes that so, well, challenging is that the details are different for the five ranges of scorers to choose from.
You start at low-scoring Range 5 where you want to make sure the player you choose will have a good chance at decent minutes and the freedom to take some shots. And you finish at Range 1, where those two criteria apply already to every player, so you need to look more at matchups, history and intangibles.
In between, there are a mix of those and other factors to consider, which is part of what makes FabFive so difficult that only one person of many thousands playing in the first 10 rounds has guessed as many as four of the top scorers by range in any round of play yet.
With all that in mind, here are some FabFive suggestions for the coming Round 11.
Range 1 (0 to 3.99) – Playing time is the big issue here, but factors such as a player's skill set also apply. ALBA shooter Jonas Mattisseck stands to see more minutes with Marcus Eriksson sidelined due to injury. His 38.8% three-point shooting is second-best on the team, so he should get a green light when in the game, at least at home against Khimki Moscow Region.
Range 2 (4 to 7.99) – Minutes matter here, too, but so does a player's proven ability to score well over his average at times. Balanced against his opponent and playing venue, and the choice here becomes Gabriel Deck of Real Madrid. His minutes went up last week, allowing him to average 11.5 points in two victories, and his toughness should be a factor if Real is to challenge CSKA in Moscow.
Range 3 (8 to 11.99) – Here you are looking at all of the above plus clear momentum from recent games. Derrick Williams thrived in Valencia Basket's two wins last week, averaging 13.5 points and 19 PIR. Now he goes back to face Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, his last EuroLeague team, in Istanbul. Valencia is streaking and Fenerbahce has struggled in the absence of Nando De Colo, so the visitors' chances of winning are increased, too.
Range 4 (12 to 14.99) – Starter: check. Playing time: check. Sure to get shots: check. Makes 'em a lot: check. Hot lately: check. Moustapha Fall is now the central cog in LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne's offense, a role he has responded with 18 points per game over the last three and 77.3% two-point shooting for the season. FC Barcelona will plan to stop him, but at 2.18 meters, it's largely a matter of getting him the ball or not. Once he has it, it tends to go in.
Range 5 (15.0 or higher) – With a lot of good scorers and a 20% bonus for winning games, an issue at this range is who is most likely to win, no easy call in any EuroLeague game. But with ASVEL struggling and Barcelona on a long winning streak, let's pencil Nikola Mirotic in here again. It's hard to talk about upsets in a competition where any team can beat any other on a given night. But a win by ASVEL would likely be considered an upset, even at home, which makes Barcelona the likely winner. And when that happens, Mirotic is almost always a major factor.