After a promising transfer period this summer, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan’s position does not reflect the expectations that were set for this year’s EuroLeague campaign.
A lot of fans and analysts, myself included, were ranking the Le Scarpette Rosse among the favorites for a Top-4 spot finish as, in theory, the team’s roster possesses a great mix of offensive talent, veteran leadership, good defenders and the legendary Ettore Messina as the club’s head coach.
More specifically, the signings of Kevin Pangos, Billy Baron, Brandon Davies and Johannes Voigtmann in a roster consisting of big names, like Nicolo Melli and Shavon Shields, were conidered great first-team additions, helping the creation of a player core that can bring efficient and diverse offense.
Despite that, 14 rounds in, Armani Milan sits at the 17th place of the EuroLeague standings having the worst offense in the league with just 68.9 ppg and an abysmal 98.7 in terms of Offensive Rating (points per 100 possessions), whereas the second worst team in that category, LDLC ASVEL Villerbaunne, scores 73.9 PPG with an Offensive Rating of 104.1.
In contrast with that, the Milanese club has the best defensive rating in the league with 108.2, being the third best team in contesting opposition’s 2-point shots.
The Milanese club seems unable to manage its leads (the team led or was tied at the half of six of its last 11 games, but ended up winning only two of them) and its performance deteriorates as the game progresses.
More specifically, in its last 11 matches, Armani Milan has slightly lost the first half by 36.18 to 36.7 on average, while in the second half scores 5.5 points less on average and its opponents score almost two more points, excluding overtimes (30.72 to 38.63).
The above can be attributed to a wide combination of reasons. First of all, Kevin Pangos, Armani’s first team point guard, has a mediocre season.
The Canadian playmaker is averaging a statline of 9.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg and a mediocre 3.4 apg for 1.7 turnovers per game with underwhelming shooting (28.8% on 3PT shooting).
Furthermore, his absence, due to injury, has created a lot of problems for the Milanese club as the team does not possess another high-level pure point guard, something that causes (along with other important player injuries) decisive rotation imbalance.
This is reflected on the bench productivity, which is by far the worst in the league (45% eFG compared to the second worst of 51% by Crvena Zvezda, while the corresponding percentage of Milan’s opponents is at 56% on average.
Also, the absence of a true floor general can mean bad decision making at the end of matches (something that has happened multiple times this year) and a lot of unanswered offensive runs for the opposing teams.
Another notable fact is the inability of Armani Milan’s players to get to the charity line (last in the league at FTA and FTA/FGA), as the roster lacks effective slashers.
This clearly limits Milan’s offensive productivity, while clubs with worse offensive movement, e.g Panathinaikos, have better offensive metrics due to their players’ ability to earn free throws.
In addition, the absence of Shavon Shields (out with injury) is a very important parameter to this year’s underwhelming run of Armani Milan.
The 28-year-old American wing is one of the league’s most efficient players and a cornerstone of Milan’s tactical plans, being the team’s best scoring player before his injury.
Overall, though, Armani Milan is not terrible at distributing the ball, as indicated by various assist metrics (10th on APG and 9th worst Assist/TO ratio), meaning that if all players are healthy, hopefully the club can make a run of positive results and finally compete for a playoff spot.
After snapping a nine-game losing streak last week, Armani Milan (4-10) hosts league leaders Monaco (10-4) on Friday and will look to build a winning streak and maintain a playoff push.