Euroleague Basketball is pleased to announce that point guard Nick Calathes of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar has been selected as the Eurocup MVP for the 2012-13 season. Calathes, 24, has been Lokomotiv's floor general and most important player on its way to the final, which will take place on Saturday at the RTL Spiroudome in Charleroi, Belgium.
Thanks in no small part to the leadership of Calathes, Lokomotiv has a chance to lift its first international trophy when it faces Uxue Bilbao Basket of Spain in the title game. Calathes set a Eurocup record by becoming the first player to dish more than 100 assists in one season during the competition's 11-year existence. In addition, ranked second on Lokomotiv in scoring, rebounds, steals and fouls drawn. Calathes stepped up in key moments throughout the season, but he was truly exceptional in making everyone on his team better so that together they could lift Lokomotiv to new heights. His all-around excellence, consistency and leadership all combined to make Nick Calathes an ideal choice as Eurocup MVP.
The Eurocup MVP is part of an awards structure that recognizes the finest Eurocup players for their efforts on the basketball court throughout the season. Calathes's selection was made by a panel of Euroleague Basketball's in-house experts based on his and his team's performance during the Eurocup regular season, Last 16, quarterfinals and semifinals rounds. Statistics and performance index ratings were taken into consideration for the award, but did not alone determine the winner.
Calathes joins 2012 MVP Patrick Beverley of Spartak St. Petersburg, 2011 MVP Dontaye Draper of Cedevita Zagreb, 2010 MVP Marko Banic of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket and 2009 MVP Chuck Eidson of Lietuvos Rytas on a select list of Eurocup stars to win the award.
For any not familiar with the Calathes story, Nick was a standout player at the University of Florida, who chose to leave school after his sophomore season to take a lucrative contract in Greece(where his family immigrated from in the 1920's and his brother also played) with the premiere Greek professional team, Panathinaikos. Though he was widely considered a possible late first round pick, as a 6'6 guard with point skills and a two highly productive seasons that earned him All-SEC honors, his contract gave teams pause, and he fell to the second round, where the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him, and traded him to Dallas.
Calathes won the Greek Cup with Palathinaikos in 2012, and earned several individual awards, including First Team All Defense and Most Improved Player. He now adds Eurocup MVP to his list of achievements, and his team will play for the Eurocup Championship Saturday. If you noticed in the article, last year's Eurocup MVP was Patrick Beverley, who was signed by the Houston Rockets back in January and has played so well he's become the backup point guard for the team, earning close to 20 minutes a night for a playoff bound team. Might this year's MVP follow a similar path?
The Mavericks still own the rights to Calathes, who signed a two year deal with Russian team Lokomotiv Kuban back in July. Calathes, who turned 24 in February, had been rumored to be interested in beginning his NBA career over the summer, but the timing was less than ideal, as the Mavericks were putting all business on hold in anticipation of the Deron Williams decision.
I will be honest: I cannot find a lot of contract details for Calathes. Someone with more information will have to tell us if Calathes can be bought out and for how much. I think it is safe to assume, though, that if there is mutual interest, such a move can be executed. That is a big "if", of course.