One of the Euroleague's top performers so far this season had plenty more to show at the start of the Top 16 this week as Malcolm Delaney of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar walked away with the MVP honor for the first round of the new phase. Delaney blew away his career highs in scoring and performance index rating to lead Lokomotiv to a sizzling 75-89 away win over Cedevita Zagreb in Top 16 Group E. The 26-year-old guard blasted off with 14 of his team's 16 first-quarter points and climbed to 24 at halftime before finishing with 31 as Lokomotiv pulled steadily ahead to victory. Delaney made 6 of 6 two point shots, 5 of 9 threes and 4 of 5 free throws while also dishing 8 assists and drawing 7 fouls for a 41 index rating, matching the second-best of all Euroleague players this season. The award was the second weekly one in his two-season Euroleague career for Delaney, who was also named MVP of the Month in October this season. Alexey Shved turned in an outstanding performance, which included a game-winning shot as his Khimki Moscow Region scored a 91-89 victory over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday. Shved totaled a career-high 28 points and a performance index rating of 33. He shot efficiently – 4 of 7 two-pointers, 4 of 8 threes and 8 of 10 from the free throw line, dished 5 assists and collected 3 steals in amassing a career best mark in index rating too. Former Euroleague MVP Sergio Rodriguez of Real Madrid led his team to a tough 82-79 victory over Brose Baskets Bamberg with 22 points, 8 assists, 3 steals and an index rating of 28. Rounding out the list of top performers for Round 1 of the Top 16 were Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz forward Adam Hanga and Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade center Maik Zirbes. Hanga shined on the defensive end of a 68-89 road win at Zalgiris Kaunas with 7 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks for an index rating of 25. Zirbes matched that index with 22 points and 12 rebounds in an 85-84 loss at Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Individual leaders: Adam Hanga of Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, 4 blocks
Delaney was also the week’s top scorer with 31 points; he improved to second on the season-long scoring charts among active Top 16 players with 17.5 points per game, which trails only CSKA’s Nando De Colo (18.3 ppg.). Zirbes hauled in the week’s most rebounds with 12, which bumped him to sixth for the season among Top 16 players with 6.6 per game. Laboral Kutza center Ioannis Bourousis remains the full season leader with 9.4 rebounds per game. Zvezda playmaker Stefan Jovic dished 11 assists to not only lead the weekly standings, but to tie Efes point guard Thomas Heurtel as the leader for the season with 7.7 assists per game. Eight different players shared the weekly lead in steals with 3 each: Bobby Dixon of Fenerbahce, Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos, Richard Hendrix of Unicaja Malaga, Jovic of Zvezda, Tyrese Rice and Alexey Shved of Khimki, Rodriguez of Madrid and James White of Cedevita. Calathes leads all Top 16 players with 1.9 steals per game. Hanga’s 4 blocked shots were the most of any player in Round 1. Fenerbahce big man Ekpe Udoh blocked 3 and is now the full season leader with 1.9 per game. The list of players to record double doubles in Round 1 of the Top 16 features Semih Erden (15 points, 11 rebounds) of Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, Edgaras Ulanovas (12 points, 10 rebounds) of Zalgiris and Zirbes.