Ahead of their crucial Group D clash in EuroBasket 2017, Emmet Ryan breaks down the clash between Turkey and Serbia. With both sides needing a win and the home side as underdogs, Turkey will need to look to its three amigos to spur them on if they are to have any chance of victory
The efficiency is a problem and it’s not going away anytime soon. Turkey has three young players who bring more energy than the rest of their roster combined and it’s not close but they aren’t reliable yet. That comes with youth. What they are doing however is filling the Bobby Dixon deficit more than any other option available to Ufuk Sarica can. In Cedi Osman (Cavs), Furkan Korkmaz (Sixers), and Kenan Sipahi (Besiktas), Turkey have a trio from the 2 to 4 that can run at opponents as well as any combination in this tournament. Their energy is top tier, that’s simply not in doubt. Focusing it is another matter entirely but against Serbia it’s a gamble Sarica simply has to take.
Serbia’s loss to Russia showed their offensive deficiencies. Bogdan Bogdanovic is their only pure scorer out there, save for the giant Boban Marjanovic. The other 10 are far from dead weight offensively but their primary assets are defensive. You can count on Milan Macvan for some scores, the same with Vladimir Lucic, but Bogdanovic has to go big in most games. Serbia can be defended even with their clear and massive advantage at the 5. The trio of Marjanovic, Ognjen Kuzmic, and Vladimir Stimac, are built to cause problems for Turkey’s primary centre Semih Erden. Marjanovic can bruise him on offence, Kuzmic can shut him down when Semih looks to drive, and Stimac is just a terrier that can tire him out.
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That’s a huge issue for Turkey as lacking that guy in the middle who can hurt Serbia’s 5 rotation is going to give Sasha Djordjevic’s side more room to create. There will be space, Bogdan will get spots, and the rest of the gang will be able to find nicer avenues to attack. That’s a huge issue for Sarica and his veterans can only do so much if Semih struggles. He needs to take a risk. He needs to trust in youth.
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The Osman-Korkmaz-Sipahi combo is certainly a gamble. They could go long stretches without making a significant offensive contribution but the one thing Sarica knows they can do, that they will do, is run with the Serbs. They have that ability to force Serbia to rotate harder than they would like, to make Djordjevic juggle more, and to bring real pressure in this game. That may be the only opening Turkey can rely on tomorrow. Serbia should win but a gambling Sarica has a shot.
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