THE Kendrick Nunn no doubt skyrocketing the quality of his guard line Panathinaikou. At the same time, however, it obliges him Ergin Ataman-who suggested and insisted so much for its acquisition-to manage the rest of the roster in an appropriate way, in order to present the best possible result as a whole.
How the guard roles will be divided
It was already “puzzling” for Ataman how he will… fit in the guard line Sluka, Vildosa, Grant, Guy and Grigonis (not to mention Kalaitzakis and Moraitis), now the crowding becomes greater, but the available space and time are the same. The Turkish coach has proven that he goes with the players who meet the demands of him and the games and does not favor names or contracts. For the sake of truth, Grant is first in minutes of presence on the floor, because it gives him more balance between defense and attack, even if he does not have 1/3 and… take out the contract of Sluka and Vildosa. However, because no player should be left out on such a quality roster, Ataman ia must find a way to exploit their virtues.
The conundrum of defense
Nan has a lot in common with Sluka and Vildosa, but also some that differentiate him. The American is no one… annihilator on defense, yet he is clearly more skilled in the piece that of the other two. Although not taller, his big hands and his athleticism (which was average for the NBA but is of a high level for the Euroleague), allow Nan to be quite effective in putting pressure on the ball, an element that Panathinaikos “hurts”, despite the progress he showed against Olympiakos, which, however, does not currently have a threat with a vertical game. Therefore, Nan theoretically it is not impossible to work effectively next to Sluka or Vildosa in the defensive partwhile together with Grant they perhaps form the most capable duo of the existing guards on the roster.
Different elements in the attack
In the attack, respectively, management is also required from the Ataman. Sloukas, Vildosa, but also Grant they can work better with the ball in their hands than without it. Already this element created short-circuits during the simultaneous presence of the Greek and the Argentine on the floor, which is also attributed to the few training sessions they had together due to injuries. Nan is another player who wants the ball in his hands, but has elements missing from the other two. The American doesn’t necessarily need pucks to create imbalances, as his combination of ball-handling ability and burst allow him to create breakouts and attack the basket. In addition, although he excels with the ball in his hands, Nunn – especially during his time in Miami – has learned to work very well off-ball in the attack, either executing from the weak side, or in close out situations by going inside. In any case, Nan’s one-on-one ability-unparalleled for the Panathinaikos roster and one of the few of this level in Europe- it can ultimately benefit players like Sloukas, Guy or Grigonis, who are good peripheral performers.
The necessary… compromises
The minutes on the guard line of a team are in each game 80 (if a team plays with two) or 120 (if it plays with three), not… unlimited. Therefore, the arrival of Nan, who due to quality and after the necessary adjustment period cannot fall below 25′, will reduce the time of the others on the floor. It will probably take everyone, some more than others, to add water to their wine, to take a step back, for the benefit of the orderly functioning of the whole. But even if they don’t do it with pleasure, Ergin Ataman is demonstrably not a… diplomat and it’s not going to be given to anyone who doesn’t do their job. Even to… Nan, since he does not respond to the Turk’s wishes, for whom above all else and everyone, victory counts.
Nan will benefit the tall, but also… tubalin
On the offensive side, things get simpler with Kendrick Nunn and they won’t need… retreats. With the difficulties presented so far by timing in pick and rolls, the American it will give another dimension to the front part of the parquet. His vertical game is an element that was missing from the “greens” and will benefit the tall ones as well. The 28-year-old guard has complete repertoiresince he can attack the basket and finish phases, he can threaten with a mid-range shot off the dribble, he can get a pull-up from the three-pointer, but at the same time he can score in two-on-two situations with a floater, with a mid-range or with drive, or even feed the talls into a pick and roll or play the pick and pop with Mitoglou, Huatso, Mandzouka or Balcherovski.
However, as valuable as Nan’s help will be for the game of the tall players in the attack, their help is just as necessary for the American, in the defensive part. Despite being a consistent defender, Panathinaikos’ twin or triple guards will not often be as effective as needed due to toughness and/or lack of size, so tall ones will be asked to patch holes, as happened in SEF. That is why formations with Juancho in the “3” are not excluded more often, with the Spaniard repaying Nan the… favor he will do him with the possibilities he will give him in attack.
Ataman’s difficult task
Ergin Ataman got what he asked for and it was possible to come to Panathinaikos from Dimitris Giannakopoulos and maybe the transfers are not over yet. The budget is now close to 20 million euros and this implies increased requirements, at least for presence in the playoffs. The Turkish coach has a tough job ahead of him. Not only because a twelfth was added to the eleven transfers of the summer, of a player as influential as Nan-in fact-and not a single player. But also (perhaps mainly) because he should manage big personalities and big contracts in such a way that he will get the maximum from each one, without alienating him or any of the “workers” on the roster. All are matter of balance, competitive or even locker rooms, which should not be disturbed. Ataman is no rookie in such conditions, but unlike Efes where he starred from the beginning (until the atmosphere completely spoiled last year) the current Panathinaikos is a team that is now trying to come back and until they succeed, the atmosphere will be directly related to the results.
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