View from the bench: Analysis on CSKA Moscow

Apr 25, 2012 by Aito Garcia Reneses - Barcelona, Spain Print
Aito Garcia RenesesWorld-renowned as a master teacher of basketball, Aito Garcia Reneses holds a place as one of the most prestigious coaches in Europe. He won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics to go with a ULEB Cup, two Korac Cups, nine Spanish Leagues and five Spanish Cup titles, just to name a few of his accomplishments in almost four decades on the benches of basketball powers like FC Barcelona, Joventut Badalona and Unicaja. Aito, as everyone in European basketball knows him, is also a regular contributor to the Mastermind Coaching Seminars of the Euroleague Basketball Institute. He joins to give his coachs point of view and analysis on Turkish Airlines Euroleague games.

CSKA Moscow has been the team playing the most brilliant basketball throughout the season. We'll see if this superiority is big enough so that the favorite label that everyone is putting on them doesn't become an insurmountable obstacle.

Many fans, who don't have the direct experience of coaching a team, say that having a team full of such good players as CSKA is not that hard because you hardly have to coach them, they play by themselves. Of course, I disagree with everyone who thinks that way and I believe that coach Jonas Kazlauskas is doing a great job.

Let's start the analysis on this team with point guard Milos Teodosic. I have always thought of him as a scorer but, apart from being that, we cannot deny his quality and his good direction of the game. Let's see him in Clip 1, as if he was not doing anything, feeding Nenad Krstic. But see how he lets go of the ball with a back pass? It's as though he wasn't even looking there, confusing the defender and making the ball reach the destination at the right time.

He gets to the place from where he makes the pass with two direction changes behind his back and another change of rhythm. However, it looks like he wasn't even trying due to the naturalness with which he performs those moves.

He is normally replaced by Jamont Gordon, a player with a totally different profile: physically powerful, very aggressive on defense and a good scorer. He is probably not as good directing the team as Teodosic, however.

At shooting guard we have a Euroleague classic, Ramunas Siskauskas. He has great fundamentals and good percentages from any spot. With him we find Alexey Shved, 10 years younger, who is an emerging talent in this CSKA team.

At small forward we have an exceptional player, Andrei Kirilenko. I remember well when he made his debut at a very young age. He had good technical qualities and a perfect physical build, even if he was a little reckless on the court. Well, what I liked most – and what surprised me most – was the clear progression of maturity in his play. He makes great blocks, collects steals, closes the way to the basket, defends shots well... features that earned him the Best Defender award for the season. On top of that, he is complete and smart on offense. He never takes it to the limit, he penetrates well, passes well, performs spectacular dunks... and he even runs well!

Let's see him in action in Clip 2, where he takes off on a fastbreak when Andrey Vorontsevich steals the ball. He has the patience, after getting the ball, to fake the shot and penetrate, finishing with a change of hand.

In Clip 3 he runs for his life on the fastbreak after grabbing the defensive board and he finishes off with a dunk himself.

In Clip 4 he steals the ball and starts the fastbreak, dribbles behind his back when a defender challenges him at midcourt, then finishes with a pass to Gordon, who finally feeds Shved.

In Clip 5, with Kirilenko as the protagonist, we can see him scoring a three. It all starts with Gordon taking the ball out to Vorontsevich from the low post. The latter changes his position so he can get the ball better and then feeds Kirilenko for the bomb.

Among the inside players I want to highlight Viktor Khryapa, who is a complete player. He can score with good percentages from all ranges and he is also a very good passer. He ranks second in assists for CSKA, just behind Teodosic. In Clip 6, we can see his individual technique in action as he scores a three-pointer after faking his defender.

I leave for last the player with the second-highest index rating in the team, Krstic. He plays at center, true center, and he is having a great season.

In the last Clip 7 we can see him, first, creating contact close to the basket and scoring a jump hook. Then he receives a lob pass from Teodosic and converts a power layup without wasting a second.

I hope that, regardless of whether they take the title in Istanbul or not – as everyone predicts – CSKA allows us to see a little more of the brilliant game they have been playing throughout the season.

Videos by Manuel Hurtado