Ryan Broekhoff may not have been playing in the 2018 VTB United League All-Star game in St. Petersburg, Russia unlike in 2017, yet he was still able to shine on the big stage after winning the three-point contest.
The three-point contest featured a host of deadly marksman, including Sergio Rodriguez (CSKA Moscow), Aliaksandr Kudrautsau (Tsmoki-Minsk), Branko Mirkovic (Kalev), Kristaps Janicenoks (VEF Riga) and Anton Ponkrashov (UNICS).
Broekhoff entered the competition after shooting the three-ball at a 45.83% clip in the first half of the season, good for third best in the league. He was desperately unlucky to miss out on making the World Team for the All-Star game after a brilliant 2017-18 season to date, both as a team and individually. In the VTB League, he has been posting 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while delivering an even better 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in an unbeaten 16-0 EuroCup run.
Only the top two players qualified for the final, with Broekhoff qualifying to take on Latvian long-range bomber Kristaps Janicenoks. The Latvian only managed 15 points in going first, with Broekhoff storming home strongly in his performance, winning easily by scoring 20. In winning the three-point title, Broekhoff picked up 300 000 rubles (AU$6,704).
As we wrote earlier in the year, the next stop for Broekhoff after the 2017/18 season could well be the NBA.
Two attributes continue to be highly prized in the modern NBA: defensive versatility and three-point shooting. It’s no secret the Golden State Warriors perfected their championship blueprint over these traits. NBA teams looking to emulate the Warriors’ success, be they contenders like the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets, or rebuilding sides like the Brooklyn Nets, will most certainly have their eye out for swingmen who can space the floor with three-point shooting, while defending multiple positions.
On paper, the 6’7 Broekhoff fits into this NBA archetype, and the EuroCup rankings back it up. His win in the VTB United League All-Star three-point contest just further reinforces the value he could deliver for an NBA team.