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FC Barcelona has been one of the most impressive teams of the off-season and today we are glad to host Leon T. to share his thoughts about how Adam Hanga might be exactly what the Blaugrana need for a much more successful season too.

FC Barcelona was one of the biggest disappointments of European basketball last year. It was the club’s third year in a row without any titles, but the most worrying thing was the style of basketball that the team played. Slow-paced games, heavy dependence on the creativity of Tyrese Rice — who had one of his worst years in Euroleague — and many other players playing below their standards. One month ago Pierre Francoual explained on details what went wrong and since then many things have changed. The story that remains still without an end is the possible transfer of Adam Hanga from Baskonia to Barcelona.

Left Signed
Alex Renfroe Thomas Heurtel
Xavier Munford Phil Pressey
Stratos Perperoglou Rakim Sanders
Marcus Eriksson Rodions Kurucs
Vitor Faverani Kevin Seraphin
Moussa Diagne Pierre Oriola
Justin Doellman Adrien Moerman
Brad Oleson Marc Garcia

Before diving deeper into why Hanga would be the best transfer for FCB this summer, let’s see the rest of the moves that the club has made so far. On the table above, you can see the players who left and the new signings of the team. With a quick view, the new players are better than the ones that left, and this is an encouraging message for the fans. There is more talent at every position. Plus, the signings of Heurtel, Seraphin, and Sanders will help a lot on the offensive end. According to rumors, the last two moves that the club will make will be to sign Adam Hanga from Baskonia, as well as probably also releasing Tyrese Rice. Signing the Hungarian player could be a huge move for the club, and shouldn’t be seen as the cherry-on-top, but as the catalyst that will shorten the transition period from last year and will make all the pieces that were added perform better. Having played already five years in ACB (two years with Manresa and three years with Baskonia), and three years in Euroleague with the Basque team, there will be a shorter transition period on his part, compared with the rest of the signings. His skills could help the better adjustment of players like Heurtel and Seraphin. But let’s see in detail how Hanga can help FCB next year.

Offense:

For those that haven’t noticed, Hanga has improved his scoring all three years that he played in Euroleague. He went from scoring 5.6 PPG in his 2013-2014 Euroleague campaign, to 10.5 PPG in the last campaign. At the same time, he has also improved his three-point shooting from 28.6% to 33.6% on 3.61 attempts per game (also a career high).

In Barcelona, he will play both as a SG and a SF, and his ability to cut to the basket from the weak side will help the team to create more space for the centers and the shooters. Especially sharing the floor with Ante Tomić — one of the best passing centers in the league — would give us for sure some great highlight dunks and will put more pressure on the opposing defense. On top of this, in his last years mainly with the Hungarian NT, but also with Baskonia, Hanga got better at creating his own offense. He could be used as a secondary ball handler when Pressey or Heurtel are on the court and, in some cases, he could even be the main ball handler — especially in pick-and-roll actions, taking advantage of his explosiveness and athletic ability.

Defense:

This is where his impact will be even higher. Adam Hanga was #1 in steals in Euroleague, was voted Euroleague’s Best Defender last year, and his probable addition would be a great upgrade for the defense of Barça.

First of all, he is one of the best on-ball defenders on the continent, and in his person the Catalan team has the stopper who will defend the best guard or SF on the opposing team in the last minutes of a close game. Do you remember last year’s game against Real Madrid, when Llull scored the buzzer beater which gave the win to his team?

Now, put Hanga in instead of Oleson and maybe the result of this game is different. For sure Llull’s shot would be under worse conditions. Check for example the video below — how effective he is defending Spanoulis and managing to get a steal. His great ability in defending the ball handler will come in handy when he plays in the same lineups with Heurtel, as he could defend the opponent’s PG, allowing Sito Alonso to hide Heurtel on a less dangerous player.

Apart from great skill as an on-ball defender, the Catalan team will benefit from Hanga’s ability as a help defender as well. One of the main problems for Barça last year was their defense, especially against pick-and-roll actions. On the video below, you can see a typical pick-and-roll action from Panathinaikos. Oleson got caught on Singleton’s screen and thus Tomić is forced to defend both the ball handler (Feldeine) and the roller (Singleton). Claver and Doellman give almost no help from the weak side on Feldeine’s drive, and the result is an easy basket for PAO.

The following video is from last year’s game against Fenerbahçe. In this game, many of Željko Obradović’s plays involved a high pick-and-roll with the player that was defended by Tomić. The lack of lateral quickness from the Croatian player was a problem all year long, and something that most teams were (and will continue to be) targeting. The counter move from coach Bartzokas was to ask Tomić to play under the high screen. Meanwhile the players on the weak side pack the line to stop the roller. On this specific video, Doellman is the help defender and he leaves his player (Antić) alone on the three-point line to stop the roller, but his close out on Antić after Bogdanović’s pass is not quite fast enough, and the result is a three-point shot from Pero Antić.

Now, add Hanga and his ability to close out quickly into the mix and you have a completely different situation. On the video below you can see how good he is closing out on the attacker. His lateral quickness, combined with his high vertical, allows him to recover his position and intimidate Mačiulis on his drive.

Taking into consideration that Seraphin and Tomić will share most of the minutes at the center position are not good at switching, it makes this ability of Hanga even more necessary. I believe that Sito Alonso will try to cover his centers by asking the weak side players to pack the paint and help their teammates. On this tactic, Hanga will be extremely useful, as we saw, and will help Seraphin and Tomić to play more minutes without being exposed on defense. Add Claver, Ribas, Pressey (a very good on-ball defender) and Barça can have a very good defensive lineup when necessary.

After three years without a title, Barcelona has now managed to make a team that will compete to make the EuroLeague playoffs, and will also be one of the favorites to win ACB. Hanga´s arrival would transform this team to a Final 4 contender. In fact, considering Llull´s injury, they may be the favorite to win the ACB. With Hanga, the Catalan team will have an excellent defender, a good scorer, and someone who will make people come to Palau Blaugrana with his energy, dunks, and chase down blocks.

About The Author

Web Admin & Author

Seb was born and raised in the (dominated by Olympiacos' fans) greek island of Corfu in 1988. His first two memories of basketball are strongly opposing each other: He was feeling completely indifferent in 1997 as David Rivers was repeatedly cruising past the FC Barcelona defence to lead Olympiacos to their first european championship title (and eventually their first - and only - triple crown) thinking "how can it be worth any much if it is that easy?" and then fiercely fanatical as he listened to his father talking to him about basketball (for probably the first time ever in his life) to tell him that "we are almost tied at half time with the referees butchering us, we got them!" (referring to this game here). It was a one-lane way from that moment on.

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