2017-18 Team Profile: Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Anadolu Efes Istanbul reached the playoffs for the third time in five years last season as it remains a force to be reckoned with at the continental level. Thing started slow for Efes, but it soon became clear that new head coach in Velimir Perasovic knew how to inject his vision into a talented roster. The team lost its first three games, but a three-game winning streak boosted its record to 6-5 and a share of sixth place. Efes fell back again and at the two-thirds mark of the regular season, sat in ninth place at 9-11. Then came a pair of four-game winning streaks – including victories over eventual finalists Fenerbahce Istanbul and Olympiacos Piraeus – to not only storm into the playoffs but to climb to 17-13 and sixth place. Thomas Heurtel, who was chosen EuroLeague MVP for February, Derrick Brown and Bryant Dunston all excelled for Efes and gave the team hope for the playoffs. After a Game 2 win on the Road, Efes looked to finish Olympiacos off at home. However, in the most contested playoff series of all, the Reds staved off elimination in Game 4 and won the series at home. Efes was unable to capture a trophy at home, where it fell in semifinals, but the club as a whole took a step forward in the toughest edition of the EuroLeague to date and showed that it is not far from advancing to the Final Four for the first time in the modern era of the competition.