For the first post, we chose to focus on Euroleague’s leading scorer Vasilis Spanoulis (after the recently retired Juan Carlos Navarro). With his two Euroleague teams (Panathinaikos, Olympiacos) he has celebrated 3 Euroleague titles and was awarded equal times the title of Euroleague’s Final Four MVP. Since he is well-known for his scoring skills we will try to visualize his shooting attempts throughout all his 11 Euroleague seasons.
The animation was created by plotting all the locations of his Field Goal Attempts per season. With this technique, we are able to get quickly an overview of his Field Goal Attempts and understand how his offensive game has evolved throughout all these years. Let’s have a deep dive on different periods of his career.
Early Years with Panathinaikos (2007-2009)
From our analysis, the first Euroleague season with Panathinaikos (2005-2006) is excluded because we don’t have access to this type of data.
As it’s clear from his early years, his game relies heavy on drives close to the basket. Check out his successful right-side drives against CSKA Moscow in the 2009 Final.
From Panathinaikos (2009-2010) to Olympiakos (2010-2011)
In the summer of 2010 he made the move to Olympiakos and became the undisputed leader and main contributor in team’s scoring.
As it’s clear from the plot he started taking more attempts but still having the right-side drives his most characteristic play.
Euroleague Titles with Olympiakos (2012, 2013)
Seasons 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 were without a doubt the most successful in team’s recent history. Spanoulis’ contribution was vital. An interesting observation is that in these seasons he attempted more drives from the left side.
Taking more drives attempts from the left side shows his level of confidence during these years. Check the following examples of these plays in crucial games:
Recent Olympiakos Years (2013 – 2018)
His game changed from the year 2013 and onwards, as he started to take more three-pointers, especially from the center and right side.
He didn’t hesitate to take deep three-pointers even during crunch times.
While he now relies more on his deep three-pointers, it’s not an easy player to defend as he can still drive very efficiently towards the basket. In a coming post we will examine how he is impacting Olympiakos game beyond scoring but also how his not-so-strong defensive game affects the teams performance.
Let us know for similar visualizations that you would like to see!