From the NBA to the Euroleague: from Élie Okobo to Yogi Ferrell, between success and total flop

Last summer, 14 NBA players in 2020-21 (or their last active season) joined a team playing the Euroleague. For what result? If some, such Élie Okobo or James Nunnally, are brilliant, there are also resounding flops, like those of Yogi Ferrell, Emmanuel Mudiay or Troy Daniels, among others. Overview.

There is no debate, the NBA is the best basketball championship in the world. But does that mean the players there are all some of the best in the world? The passage of some of them from the big American league to the Euroleague – arguably the best competition after the NBA – allows these players to be assessed in a very different context. Between a season generally comprising fewer games, a real stake each day and a style of basketball quite different from that practiced in the NBA (not to mention the thunderous coaches who would undoubtedly not make it to the United States), most of the players crossing the Atlantic do not arrive in conquered ground in Europe. Moreover, as we will see later, it is above all players with prior experience (in Euroleague or at lower levels) of European basketball who are most successful once their bags have been put in Europe. On examination, it is possible to classify the “Euroleaguian” performances of these 14 players (including five playing in French clubs) into four categories.

A real success

A little less than half of the players arriving straight from the NBA (including two, Mike James and Vincent Poirier, during the last season) have had an excellent Euroleague season.

Mike James – Monaco

If we base ourselves on the evaluation (which combines all the positive and negative statistics of each player) as the main criterion – it is more significant than the average of points alone -, the player from the NBA who performs the best in Euroleague this season is Mike james, who is anything but an unknown on the European scene (best scorer of the Euroleague 2018-19). Having come into conflict with the technical staff of CSKA Moscow last season, he left the club in March before ending the season with the Brooklyn Nets.

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