Fenerbahce made huge changes during the 2022 offseason and created considerable anticipation ahead of the 2022-23 season. The Turkish giants changed their style, going to a team with more physical tools at its disposal.
However, they lost two important pieces of their roster in Jan Vesely and Nando De Colo and replaced them with younger players that are accustomed to different styles of play, like Scottie Wilbekin, who is expected to be the star of the team.
As of now, Fenerbahce is looking to a starting five of Scottie Wilbekin, Marko Guduric, Carsen Edwards, Nigel Hayes-Davis and Tonye Jekyri, Jonhathan Motley or Devin Booker as the starting center under former CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis.
There are also reports that the team has a deal in place with 2022 NBA champion Nemanja Bjelica, who can definitely change the tides for a team that lacks depth in the wing. Adding Bjelica to Fener’s roster will address issues like the lack of shooting in the big man position.
Seeing all the depth being concentrated on the center position as Devin Booker remained with the club, it feels that Itoudis could present five-man lineups with two centers in them. However, I don’t see how this will work regarding the spacing in the offensive end.
In the perimeter, the club moved on from a pick &roll maestro in Nando De Colo to a more iso-oriented guards like Scottie Wilbekin and Carsen Edwards. Itoudis worked with a similar guard tantrum in CSKA with Mike James as the spearhead of the team’s offense.
Similarly, Edwards has come as a primary ball-handler, with his ability to play on the ball being evident. However, in 72 games in the NBA, he only shot 29 percent from beyond the arc and just 36 percent from the field.
Edward’s size was the biggest issue for him in the NBA, but, in the EuroLeague, the former Boston man can thrive under the right circumstances. For once, he will have capable three-point shooters in the perimeter with Wilbekin, Guduric and Pierrre.
However, covering in the defensive side for Edwards and Wilbekin as a duo will be a tall task for Fenerbahce in order to be successful next season. But, Itoudis has shown flexibility in his approach as a coach.
Fenerbahce can put up front its size to cover for the perimeter’s defensive liabilities with Booker, Motley, Jekiri and forwards like Nigel Hayes-Davis. In any case, it will be interesting to see how the team will work in the defensive end.
In addition, Fenerbahce will miss the veteran leadership of Nando De Colo and Jan Vesely. The Turkish side gambled on losing two experienced veterans and replacing with younger and more physical players. It remains to be seen if relying on athleticism will pay off for them.
On paper, Fenerbahce’s roster is looking good ahead of the 2022-23 season, but, the lack of depth on the wing and experience after the departure of De Colo and Vesely could hurt the chances of making a return to the Final-4 for the first time since 2019.
Key Additions: Scottie Wilbekin, Carsen Edwards, Johnathan Motley
Key Departures: Nando De Colo, Jan Vesely
Key Retentions: Devin Booker, Marko Guduric