Olimpia Milan saw its chances cut short by injuries during the EuroLeague playoffs last season as they fell to the champions Anadolu Efes in four games. The team played without a plethora of key players, who missed games due to injuries.
Milan entered the offseason with hope to add players in the guard position and add more shot creation and playmaking in addition to depth in the point guard position. The team lost two veteran playmakers in Sergio Rodriguez and Malcolm Delaney.
However, the Italian giants covered for them in the most impressive way with the signings of Billy Baron and Kevin Pangos. The former Zenit duo will meet again in Milan surrounded by the likes of Shavon Shields, Luigi Datome and Nicolo Melli in the wings.
The EuroLeague powerhouse hope to see a better offensive execution with Baron and Pangos at the “1”. Defense could be an issue for the undersized guards. The biggest challenge for Etorre Messina will be to create a two-way team next season.
The most important re-signings of the offseason were undoubtedly Devon Hall and Kyle Hines. Hall had an impressive rookie season, averaging 9.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in the EuroLeague. Hines was the best defender in the EuroLeague last season.
In the addition of the Baron-Pangos playmaking, the team seemed poised to improve its offensive talent with the signings of Naz-Mitrou Long from Brescia, Brandon Davies from FC Barcelona and Deshaun Thomas from Bayern Munich.
Over 29 Italian league games, Mitrou-Long averaged 16.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game, shooting 36.4 percent from three-point range. He was the LBA playoffs top-scorer averaging 24.4 points per game, while leading the league in assists.
Thomas spent the past season with Bayern Munich and help the team reach the EuroLeague postseason for the second time in the last two years. He averaged 9.9 points per game in the EuroLeague, while also being the top scorer of the team in the German BBL.
All three players are capable of creating offense from different places on the court, adding more layers to Milan’s offensive plan. Again, the defensive side of the ball will be a huge question for those three.
If there’s a downside in the current Milan’s offseason plan will be the play in the defensive end of the ball. Messina has shown capabilities of creating good defensive teams but the only sound defenders in the team as of now are Hines, Moretti, Hall and Biligha.
From those four players, Hines and Hall are expected to have a big role in the rotation, especially in the EuroLeague. It will be interesting to see if Milan can cover for its players’ deficiencies with their wings’ size and the versatility in the center position.
If they are able to find their roles in time and create valid plan in defense, then I can see the Italian giants being among the favorites for the EuroLeague title at the start of the 2022-23 regular season.
If they can also remain healthy and build their chemistry as a team, then sky’s the limit for the 2022 LBA champions.
Key Additions: Billy Baron, Kevin Pangos, Brandon Davies
Key Departures: Sergio Rodriguez, Malcolm Delaney
Key Retentions: Devon Hall, Kyle Hines
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