By Lefteris Moutis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Goudelock left Fenerbahce after one season, in which he was the top scorer in the Euroleague but his team failed. Was this the right move by the Turkish team?
The American scorer, in his first season in Europe wearing UNICS Kazan’s jersey made an impression with his numbers scoring 18 points per game and reaching the final of the Eurocup.
He was introduced to the European audience as a quality player in offense with an inclination for scoring, who has to have the ball in his hands for a long time in order to be effective. Zeljko Obradovic trusted him and Goudelock completed the season as the top scorer (in total points) in the year’s Euroleague.
Fenerbahce were right to decide to let him go
Goudelock, just like all the players who have such an influence on the game of their teams, is… a blessing as well as curse. Up to and including the first games of the Top 16 Fenerbahce was not playing good and well-organized basketball because Goudelock monopolized the offenses, did not pass the ball and his game was one-dimensional (he was constantly looking for the 1v1).
He improved only when he undertook the role of the pure executioner without being the player who decided every play. Of course, “Zots” was constantly looking for a way to “hide” him in defense so that Fenerbahce wouldn’t be exposed from his defensive weaknesses. However, as it is rumored, the underlying causes for the divorce were not so much related to competitive issues but issues that had to do with the attitude of the American guard.
Goudelock should’ve stayed
A player like Andrew Goudelock is hard to find in European basketball or to attract from the NBA. His talent in offense is so great that on nights like the one when he scored ten three-pointers against Bayern, you simply pray you’re not his opponent. A team like Fenerbahce that was looking for that competitive leap and to establish themselves in the elite of European basketball, a player with these characteristics is often necessary. So he can carry the team on difficult offensively nights and, through his offensive instincts, get his team the qualification to the first Final Four in the team’s history. Like Goudelock did with his winning basket in Tel Aviv in the third game against Maccabi.
Conclusion: Basketball is more of a team sport than ever
When was the last time that a team played a leading role in the Euroleague having one player around whom everything revolved? Quite a few years ago! Like we analyzed in the course of the year, Zeljko Obradovic does not usually build teams around a player who scores so much. The last one was Dejan Bodiroga in 2002.
Modern European basketball requires many axes of creativity and execution and players that can do a lot of things well on the court. Goudelock is an excellent player with a huge offensive talent, but he can be effective for a top team that aims at titles only if he adjusts his game and puts the ‘we’ ahead of the ego. So, Fenerbahce, with this move, might lose some shine but might win in chemistry. Besides, even the giant LeBron James who does so many things on the court and was playing almost on his own, lost to the Warriors.
What do you think? Did Goudelock have to go?