This week, we will look at the former NBA and NCAA players that are taking part in the 2013 Euroleague Playoffs. With two teams having advanced and four attempting to join them, there’s no shortage of players making waves overseas.
As outlined by Nick Gibson of Sheridan Hoops, Barcelona of Spain will play Panathinaikos of Greece and Olympiacos of Greece will square off with Anadolu Efes of Turkey on Thursday, April 25. Real Madrid of Spain and CSKA Moscow of Russia have already advanced and await the winners of those games.
So which memorable names are taking part in the postseason festivities?
When it comes to ACC basketball, there’s a high standard for those who attempt to stake their claim as stars. From 2003 to 2007, Virginia Tech guard Jamon Lucas Gordon fit that bill during a time where the conference was as strong as ever.
Gordon was the 2007 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and made two appearances on the ACC All-Defensive Team. He was also a third-team All-ACC selection in 2007 after posting season averages of 11.4 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.
Gordon’s career culminated with an NCAA Tournament appearance in which he recorded 10 points, seven assists and seven steals in a win over Illinois before the Hokies fell to Southern Illinois in the Round of 32.
Upon graduating from Virginia Tech, Gordon went undrafted and headed overseas to play in Turkey. Although his playing time was often limited, it was more of the same from the defensive guru – active hands, masterful footwork and the uncanny ability to pressure a ballhandler from end to end.
Gordon played in Germany, Croatia and Greece, maintaining his reputation as an elite defender. With drastically improved facilitating abilities and opportunistic play, Gordon has thrived on physicality and poise.
That continues to be the case with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League.
Gordon has fit in well alongside former NBA player Jordan Farmar, averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals in Euroleague play. Most recently, he picked up 13 points in an 88-81 loss to Olympiacos.
Can Gordon provide the defense necessary for Anadolu Efes to move on to the next round?
From 2004 to 2011, Nenad Krstic played 419 games and made 372 starts with three NBA teams. In that time, he developed into one of the most respected role players in the league, as his size and prowess down low proved valuable for numerous contenders.
Krstic played in 28 postseason games, making 21 starts for the New Jersey Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics.
During the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Krstic’s rookie season, he made his mark by averaging 18.3 points and 7.5 rebounds on 56.3 percent shooting from the field. While Krstic came down to earth in future seasons, he maintained his level of respect.
Career averages of 10.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in 25.2 minutes certainly prove his value while playing for genuine contenders.
After leaving the Thunder in 2011, Krstic joined CSKA Moscow of the Russian PBL. In that time, Krstic has become one of the most productive big men in Europe.
Thus far in Euroleague play, Krstic is averaging 14.6 points per game.
In a must-win game against Caja Laboral, Krstic stepped up to lead CSKA Moscow past their Spanish foes with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. This comes during a series in which Krstic was matched up against NBA alum and 2011 Russian PBL MVP Maciej Lampe.
Krstic emerged victorious in their positional battle and thus led CSKA Moscow to the next round of the Euroleague Playoffs.
Stephane Lasme is one of the most decorated players in UMass history and a former member of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. Regardless of where he’s been, one thing is perfectly clear: The man knows how to protect the rim.
During his senior season at the University of Massachusetts, Lasme tied an NCAA record with four triple-doubles—all of which came while he recorded at least 10 blocks. This helped Lasme set the career records in career blocks, single season blocks and blocks in an individual game, breaking Marcus Camby’s previous marks.
In 2007, Lasme posted obscene averages of 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game. This helped him win the 2007 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Lasme also finished the season as an AP All-American Honorable Mention selection.
Lasme spent two years in the NBA, but experienced his most success during the the 2008 NBA D-League season. In that time, Lasme averaged 10.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.
In a familiar turn of events, Lasme won the NBA D-League Defensive Player of the Year award.
After bouncing around Serbia, Israel, Russia and Spain, Lasme has found his home in Greece with Panathinaikos. Much like in his previous locations, Lasme has been sensational on the defensive end.
Thus far in Euroleague play, he is averaging 10.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. Can he lead his team to their second Euroleague championship since 2011?