Krstic's Vote With Parker

31 January 2014

FEATURE

EuroBasket 2013 MVP Tony Parker
Krstic believes EuroBasket 2013 MVP Tony Parker should also be named FIBA Europe Player of the Year 2013

Serbian and CSKA Moscow veteran Nenad Krstic might be on the shortlist for FIBA Europe Player of the Year, but ask the man himself who he believes should get the award and there are no signs of self-promotion.

When fibaeurope.com posed the question to the CSKA center shortly after his team's convincing Euroleague Top 16 road win at Bayern Munich on Thursday, the question was barely out of the reporter's mouth when Krstic replied with a straightforward answer: "Tony Parker".

The 30-year-old was named as one of the 10 nominees following a second consecutive trip to the Euroleague Final Four and playing the senior statesman at EuroBasket 2013 where he lead a young and ambitious Serbian side to a seventh-placed finish, a result that few commentators would have predicted following a dismal qualifying campaign.

"It is definitely an honour for me to be in this group of players. To be considered among the top 10 players in Europe is massive," said the former seven-season NBA player, who is a first-time nominee for the award which was first presented in 2005.

Krstic has carried his fine form from Slovenia back to his third season of domestic action for CSKA Moscow. At the time of the writing he has been averaging 11.3 points a game in the VTB League and 16.3 points and six rebounds a night in the Euroleague Top 16.

His stats this season are typical of his returns in Moscow on one of the strongest rosters in Europe - on paper at least, if not on the court.

Krstic and co. looked destined to win the Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul in 2012, leading the final by 19 midway through the third quarter, only for Olympiacos to produce a comeback for the ages, with Georgios Printezis sealing the game for the Greek outfit with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock.

Nenad Krstic (CSKA Moscow)
Nenad Krstic and CSKA Moscow have ventured to back-to-back Euroleague Final Fours but are yet to return home as conquerors of Europes

Move on 12 months to London and CSKA's European conquering plans came uncoiled in the semi-finals at the hands of the same opponent.

Does this perhaps suggest a little more pressure third time round?

"There is always a lot of pressure to win everything but we get used to it. This is my third season here and you know that every team in Europe is going to play 100% against you. You kind of get used to that during the year."

Going on the recent form shown by the Russian club, there is evidence of more than a little truth to Krstic's sentiments.

CSKA Moscow are in the in-form team in the competition once more and few people would disagree that they look destined for another Final Four, especially following their dominance of the previously undefeated Real Madrid in Moscow on 23 January, followed up by their 25-point victory over Bayern on Thursday.

"Definitely the Madrid game gave us confidence, even though we lost following that to Khimki in the VTB League.

"Ok that is another competition but we [against Bayern] played under the confidence from the Real Madrid game."

So winning their last two games in Europe by 14 and 25 points respectively, it would be fair to say they are reaching their peak performance. However, Krstic offers a scary thought, suggesting they have some way left to go.

"We are not there yet. We still have room for improvement. Tonight, was a good win and we played good as a team but I think we can be better, especially when Sonny Weems comes back."

To vote for Nenad Krstic as FIBA Europe Player of the Year 2013, click here.


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