The EuroLeague is the premier basketball league outside of the NBA. And like the NBA, it is loaded with ridiculous talent. Some of the Euroleague’s best players also played in the NBA. Most didn’t make it in America and returned to Europe where they established their legends.
Here are the best players in the Euroleague 2019:
Nick Calathes is the point guard for the team Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League. The 30-year old Greek-American was the 45th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft and played for the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA from 2013-2015. Since returning to Panathinaikos, Calathes has led his team to three straight Greek League titles from 2017-2019, three Greek Cup trophies, and three straight Greek League MVPs from 2017-2019 as well. Calathes has also been named to the All-EuroLeague first team in 2018 and 2019.
Spanish guard Sergio Lull is one of the few Euro players who have decided to stay in Europe rather than play in the NBA. Lull was the 34th pick of the 2009 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets but he didn’t go to the United States. Instead, he built his reputation in the EuroLeague where he is a two-time champion with Real Madrid and a former EuroLeague MVP in 2017. After being sidelined with a torn ACL for most of the 2017-18 season, he returned to average 9.3 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 27 games played last season.
Nando De Colo
Frenchman Nando De Colo won the EuroLeague title in 2016 with CSKA Moscow and he won the EuroLeague MVP and EuroLeague Finals MVP that same season. De Colo is a five-time All-EuroLeague selection, three in the first team. He was also the VTB United League Playoffs MVP in 2017 and back to back French Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016. After helping CSKA Moscow with a second EuroLeague title in 2018-19, De Colo signed a deal to play for Fenerbache in the Turkish League on a 2+1 deal.
Alexey Shved plays for Khimki in the VTB United League. He was a star at CSKA Moscow when he left for greener pastures in the NBA. After three years in the NBA, he returned to Europe where he has solidified his legacy. In 2018, he was named to the All-EuroLeague second team and awarded the Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy. He was also the top scorer, All-tournament first team and MVP of the 2017 EuroCup.
Jan Vesely looked primed for NBA success when he was drafted 6th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2011 NBA draft. But after two disappointing seasons in the United States, Vesely returned to Europe where he’s found his mark. He helped Fenerbahce won the Turkish title from 2016-2018 while also winning the Turkish Cup in 2016 and 2019. In the EuroLeague, Vesely led his team to the title in 2017 and is the reigning EuroLeague 2019 MVP.
Tornike Shengelia plays for the Baskonia team in the Liga ACB. He was also a former NBA draftee, selected 54th overall in 2012 by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played for the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls before moving to Baskonia in 2014. He earned All-Liga ACB first-team honors and All-EuroLeague First team honors in 2018. He also finished second behind Luka Doncic in the 2018 Liga ACB balloting.
One of the mainstays of the Spanish national team during the peak of their powers, Sergio Rodriguez currently plays for Olimpia Milano in the Italian Lega Basket Serie A. Known as El Chaco, Rodriguez has won two EuroLeague titles with different teams. In 2014, he was named to the All-EuroLeague first team and was the EuroLeague MVP as well. In 2018, Rodriguez was also an All-EuroLeague 2nd team selection.
The 37-year old is a legend in Europe. Spanoulis was Balkan Player of the Year in 2009 and All Europe Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013. He has been named to a record eight All-EuroLeague team selections and was the 2013 EuroLeague MVP. He is also a three-time EuroLeague champion and a former 2nd round pick of the 2004 NBA draft. He is best remembered for scoring 22 points during Greece’s 2006 FIBA World Cup win over the United States.
Kostas Sloukas plays for Fenerbahce and a regular for the Greek National team. He went undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft and returned to Europe with a vengeance. He has won three EuroLeague titles, one FIBA intercontinental cup win, two Turkish Cup victories, and three Turkish League titles. Last season he was named to the All-EuroLeague First team.
Kevin Pangos is the Canadian point guard of the FC Barcelona Lassa team in the Liga ACB. He played college hoops at Gonzaga in the United States and was the 2015 WCC Player of the Year as well as a third-team All-American selection by Sporting News. Pangos was named to the All-EuroLeague second team in 2018 and led Zalgiris to two Lithuanian titles in 2017 and 2018.