The 2020-21 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season was the longest in competition history with – for the first time – some teams playing 40-plus games. When that demanding marathon of a schedule is coupled with domestic competitions, EuroLeague teams must rely on deeper-than-ever squads to be at the highest level in multiple competitions. For the past three seasons, Bugrahan Tuncer has given Anadolu Efes Istanbul the depth and quality it has needed to be a contender at all levels.
The 28-year-old combo-guard was an accomplished scorer in the Turkish League and among the league leaders in assists in the years before he first signed for Efes in the summer of 2018 to make his EuroLeague debut. In a loaded backcourt, Tuncer's role would be different and he has filled it exemplarily. Generally at the back end of the guard rotation, Tuncer gave Coach Ergin Ataman what he needed when the opportunities rose: In the only game that EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic missed this season, Tuncer buried a pair of threes and scored 8 points in 12 minutes to help Efes beat Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on the road. He later erupted for 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a victory over Khimki Moscow Region.
Tuncer was in Ataman's 12-man roster for all five playoff games against Real Madrid and both Final Four games in Cologne. Though he did not play in the EuroLeague after Game 2 of the playoffs, his presence on the bench and the knowledge that he would be ready if called in gave a championship team the support it needed. Of course, most of his big games came in domestic play; Tuncer scored at least 20 points five times in the regular season, delivered 14 assists in Game 3 of a semifinals sweep of Besiktas Istanbul in the playoffs and had 13 points and 7 assists in the playoff finale against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to help Efes to another title. Though often overlooked due to the presence of Efes's star guards, this club could not have achieved its goals this season without the great contributions of Bugrahan Tuncer.