How Sloukas’ move changes Pao

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After failing to agree to terms with arch-rival Olympiakos, the Greek guard switched teams (within Athens), representing the first major free agency move this summer in Europe. 

The news comes after persistent rumors of Sloukas re-signing with one of his former teams Fenerbahce, Barcelona, or potentially reuniting with his former coach, Zeljko Obradovic in Partizan, and amidst all the attention and uncertainty, Panathinaikos swooped in to secure Sloukas for the next 3 seasons, for a reported €10MM net. 

On Court

  • Coming off the bench last season, Sloukas averaged 11 Pts and 5.6 Asts but only played 23 minutes per game – a factor that might have played a role in his desire to switch teams
  • For Olympiakos however, he was essential – leading them to the Euroleague Final Four the past two seasons, and the championship game in 2023
  • Last season, he finished 5th in Assists per Game and 3rd in total Assists in the Euroleague (201)
  • In a legendary moment, he nailed the game-winner vs Fenerbahce, to re-take a 2-1 series lead in Istanbul 

Greek Tragedy? 

The transition of Sloukas is a move best understood in simple math terms: addition by subtraction.

Panathinaikos not only gains one of the best guards in Europe but also takes him away from their archrival. 

He will likely start for The Greens, play more minutes, and join a revitalized back-court that features Luca Vildoza and 2023 Eurocup MVP, Jerian Grant.

With more minutes and ball-handling responsibilities, Team AGS expects Sloukas’ numbers to make a jump as he becomes a vital part of Pao´s new project under newly appointed head coach Ergin Ataman, including a statistical impact that was evident during his time with Olympiakos:

  • 26.9% of Olympiakos´s assists were created by Sloukas (5.6 of 20.8) 
  • Led Olympiakos in FTA and FTM
  • 2nd in FGA 266 (only behind MVP Sasha Vezenkov), 3rd in 2ptA (147)

For Olympiakos, who recently lost Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov to the Sacramento Kings, but retained Thomas Walkup and Isaiah Canaan, and added Nigel Williams-Goss from Real Madrid, The Reds will look to divide playmaking and scoring duties accordingly. 

As one of their best drivers, creators, and 3pt shooters, Sloukas being gone is not just going to be felt in the box scores, but in the locker room as well, as Olympiakos will need to replace his winning pedigree and confidence in clutch moments. 

Looking ahead

Panathinaikos seems to have won this battle, for now.

Sloukas has made the Final Four 10x and won the title 3x (2012, 2013, 2017).

He will be the leader to spearhead a push (back) to the top of the Euroleague, and paired with new arrival and lob threat Mathias Lessort, their half-court offense should see a jump in efficiency depending on how the rest of the roster fills out.