Team Focus 2012-13: Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Maccabi Electra spent considerable time rebuilding over the summer and the end result is a revamped squad in which head coach David Blatt has seven new pieces to work with. Ricky Hickman, David Logan and Moran Roth give the team multiple point guard options. Sylven Landesberg brings unlimited potential to the wings, while the likes of Nik Caner-Medley and Girogi Shermadini star in the rebuilt frontcourt.
Maccabi has a backcourt that features speed, defense and shooting, the latter much needed after ranking fourth-worst in three-pointers made last season. Much will be asked of Hickman, a Euroleague rookie, but if he meets expectations the team will be infinitely more dangerous. Logan may have found the right position to maximize his combo-guard skills under Blatt, while Ohayon will try to take another step after a brilliant debut. Roth gives the team another sturdy ball handler. The explosive guards make things easier for Devin Smith and Guy Pnini, ideal complimentary players who can shine on defense and knock down threes. Watch out for young Landesberg, who has stardom written all over.
Maccabi appears to have the right mix to play great defense, rebound and run the floor. Between Lior Eliyahu and Caner-Medley, Maccabi may have the fastest power forwards in the league. Moreover, both can fill the lane on the break and score in the post. The still-improving Shermadini becomes the go-to guy in half court sets. Another returnee, Shawn James, can be counted on to bang and block shots too.
Maccabi has a long road to go to match its results of recent seasons, but Coach Blatt’s chemistry building has been excellent and the sum potential of his players is enough to challenge for a ticket to London. Maccabi looks to be a great defensive team that should score at will in transition. If everything comes together, there will be great joy in Tel Aviv all season long.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Nik Caner-Medley
Aggressive forward Caner-Medley is just what the doctor ordered for a new-look Maccabi Electra squad. His toughness, athleticism and blue-collar work ethic is certain to win over teammates and fans alike at Nokia Arena. Moreover Caner-Medley has the skills, basketball IQ and team-first outlook needed to successfully flutter between a supporting role and stepping up as the go-to guy, which he proved in last season’s Eurocup title game. Caner-Medley’s total package of goods has the potential to lead Maccabi deep again this season.