Last night, the big man of Panathinaikos was the most efficient guy in the whole team against F.C. Barcelona. He had 21 index rate, while ex-NBA player Nikola Mirotic was the only player for both squads who had more at this chapter (23). It was an amazing night for Papagiannis with 14 points on an excellent percentage in the pain (7/9). He added 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shot. The Greek giant was also the most important player of PAO in term of minutes spent on the court 31:29.
This game came to show us how much the young center grew since the last season when he came back to Panathinaikos. Many people, including myself, were sceptical about his progress, but hard work and determination win it all. I think that the great merit of his growing process belongs to the PAO organization who trusted him to enter more minutes in order to improve. Last season, Georgios Papagiannis had some bad games and he disappointed, but even so, he was pushed to play more and more. Because he was very young and he needed time to grow, to reach a much better level. Till now, he played 24 games for Panathinaikos this season and his numbers improved a lot. He almost doubled his stats: 7.1 points per game compared with only 4 points (the average of last season) and 5 rebounds (almost 3 rebounds per game last season).
Trusting Papagiannis was one of the best ideas and is part of the PAO’ strategy to invest in homegrown players. This is a good example to follow for entire Europe. Giving more minutes to your local players will make them grow faster and will help the team to have a larger quality roster. The mercenaries will always come and go, but the homegrown players are the key to sustainable basketball growth on our continent. And the Greeks are specialist at this chapter, giving credit every game to the young local products.