CSKA was the most constant team of the last two decades in the main European competition. They entered 16 times in the Euroleague Final 4, having an unbelievable record in the playoff history series. But this season will be a different one. First of all because of the departure of the magical trio: Nando de Colo, Cory Higgins and Sergio Rodriguez. Together, they were probably the best backcourt in Europe. Now they’re gone and this will count a lot on many levels:
- quick ball transition
- points scored
- aggressivity in offense and defense
- 3 point shots percentage
De Colo, Higgins and Rodriguez were the main core of the team who relied on them on both sides of the court. They created a lot of opportunities to score for their teammates. If you take a look at the CSKA without them, you will see just average players, who execute very well the orders from the coach. Actually, the whole Russian powerhouse was full of role players with motivation but this won’t be enough for the next season.
The new signings for the CSKA are Euroleague level, no doubt about it. Janis Strelnieks can help a lot, Darrun Hilliard is a good addition too, Johannes Voigtmann can replace Alec Peters, but it seems like adding more role players to the team. With this switch in the roster, CSKA will miss the sparks that brought the last year Euroleague title.
But the most important thing is that the reigning champions are aware of the future. They know they won’t play at the same level as the last seasons. I mean CSKA will have a solid roster, but they seem to have a break after winning the trophy. That’s why I am sure they won’t enter again the Euroleague final next year and I doubt even their Final 4 appearance.
With so many teams hungry of results and in the new format with 18 squads, will be a very tough season for CSKA.