We have a treat this week on the podcast as the regular crew of Austin, George and Rob are joined by Ermal Kuqo for his take on a huge range of topics in European basketball today.

As everyone will be aware, Ermal played for Fenerbahçe, KK Split, Efes Pilsen, Valencia,  Pivovarna Lasko, Galatasaray and others in a 20+ year pro career at the top of European hoops. Now an overseas scouting consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers, he shared his wealth of experience in the game as a player and now a talent evaluator, and has plenty to say on how European teams might be doing things wrong, and what they should do better.

It’s a long one, but there was a lot to talk about and believe me, this one is worth your time. You won’t find any politician’s answers here! To help guide you through the ‘cast, here is a rough breakdown of what we talked about and when:

  • 00:00 – 12:45 – Intro, the new Euroleague format, surprise contenders?
  • 12:45 – 49:50 – How European teams recruit, the problems that occur, domestic quotas, youth development, Ermal’s career choices, what European teams could do better in building a team.
  • 50:00 – 1:12:40 -Should there be a Players Union in Europe?
  • 1:12:44 – 1:20:00 – The changing role of the Centre position and adapting to that change, playing for David Blatt
  • 1:20:00 – 1:24:20 – Luka Dončić and the best European prospects in Ermal’s time, and playing against Dončić Senior
  • 1:24:20 – 1:32:00 – Ermal’s most annoying opponent, most talented teammate and his new role with the Clippers

Seeing as we talked a fair bit about the use of overseas players in Europe, Austin put together this chart of minutes distribution in Euroleague 2016/17. Let us know what you think, about this and everything on the podcast, on Twitter or via the comments below.

Minutes distribution by continent in Euroleague 2016/17

Minutes distribution by continent in Euroleague 2016/17

Through 18 rounds, every team has played about 3,600 minutes. When adding the players’ minutes, I did not include partial minutes (i.e. 342:23 was just added as 342, for the sake of simplicity). Most dual-passport players were included under the nationality where they were born or spent most of their childhood. So although Sylven Landesburg and Joe Alexander are listed as “Israeli” on the EuroLeague website, I counted them as American. I counted Ilimane Diop, who would’ve been the only African player, as European because he moved to Spain from Senegal when he was 15. I counted Nick Calathes as Greek because he played for their U-20 team, which felt more legitimate than including someone like Bobby Dixon as Turkish or Alex Renfroe as Bosnian.

If you have any questions about specific players, ask Austin.

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