2020-21 calendar: Plenty of plotlines

Jun 24, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print
2020-21 calendar: Plenty of plotlines

With the release of the 2020-21 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season, the time has come to look ahead to the coming season and the many exciting things it brings us. We can expect many firsts, momentous milestones and records broken. Here are some of the ones we can plan for:

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New men on the sidelines

On opening nights, everything is new. Some of the firsts that we can already plan for in Round 1 of the new season, on October 1 and 2, are Georgios Vovoras coaching his first game as full-time head coach when Panathinaikos Athens visits Khimki Moscow Region and T.J. Parker doing the same when LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne visits Valencia Basket. Coach Sasa Obradovic has a few seasons of EuroLeague experience, but his Round 1 visit to Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul will be his first game on the Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade bench.

Shooting for 3,000

Early in the season, Real Madrid star and former EuroLeague MVP will likely become the next member of the 3,000-point club. Llull, who will be 33 in November, enters the season with 2,971 career points in the EuroLeague – all of which have come in a Real Madrid uniform. Based on his career scoring average of 10.5 points per game, Llull could reach the milestone already in Round 3, when Madrid hosts Khimki. He will join the likes of EuroLeague greats Vassilis Spanoulis, Juan Carlos Navarro, Georgios Printezis, Nando De Colo, Paulius Jankunas and his Real teammate Felipe Reyes when he scores that magical 3,000th point.

Milestone watch

Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus ranks second all-time with 484 three-pointers made and all signs point to him joining Navarro as the only player with 500 triples at some point during the season. Based on his career numbers, this milestone should come after about 10 games. Accomplishing the feat in Round 11 against KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in front of his friends and family at Peace and Friendship Stadium would be a nice touch.

Record in reach

Anadolu Efes Istanbul big man Bryant Dunston enters the season needing only 8 blocked shots to become the EuroLeague's all-time leader in that category. He starts the campaign in second place with 242 career blocks. The recently-retired Fran Vazquez is the EuroLeague's all-time leader with 249 rejections. Dunston has spent the past five seasons with Efes, where he has swatted 172 of his shots. Based on his career average of 1.3 blocks per game, he could be due for his record-breaking rejection as soon as Round 6, when Efes visits his former club, Olympiacos.

More first visits

In its EuroLeague debut last season, Zenit St. Petersburg was collecting "firsts" in the club's history on a regular basis. The season's premature end, however, denied Zenit road games against Real, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Zvezda that would have marked the club's first visits to three iconic arenas. Those postponed "firsts" will happen this season starting with Zenit's Round 13 visit to face Real. The last of them will be a Round 25 date with Zvezda in the Serbian capital. Before that, in Round 22, for the first time from Zenit's bench, Xavi Pascual will coach in his hometown against the team with which he won the 2009-10 EuroLeague title, FC Barcelona.

A championship rematch

The rematch of the most-recent Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game will come in Round 14 when 2019 champion CSKA Moscow hosts Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Even though there will have been some turnover on both teams between the title-decider in Vitoria-Gasteiz and this clash in the Russian capital, it is certain that both teams will be hungry to prove themselves against a rival top contender.

A special 'homecoming'

CSKA Moscow fans must wait until Round 29 in early March to welcome back one of the most-beloved players in club history, Kyle Hines, as he visits the Russian capital with his new team, AX Armani Exchange Milan. Hines, who wore CSKA's jersey for the last seven years and became the team's captain, won't be the only visitor that night who won a pair of EuroLeague crowns with the club. Milan coach Ettore Messina, who led CSKA to EuroLeague championships in 2006 and 2008 and spent a total of six years with the club over two stints, will coach in Moscow for the first time since he last left the club in 2014. Messina coached Milan against CSKA last season, but the game was played at Yantarny Sports Palace in Kaliningrad instead of in Moscow.

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