After finishing last Euroleague season in 10th place, 17-17, Red Star Belgrade began this off-season with intention, signing "big name" free agents in hopes of qualifying for the new play-in style tournament beginning this upcoming season: Top 6 teams make the playoffs, while teams ranked 7-10 compete for the final 2 spots.
Additionally, Red Star announced that the club will move their home games to Stark Arena, with a capacity of 19,394, dwarfing their old home venue Aleksandar Nikolic Hall, which seats just 8,000.
With the summer progressing and preseason throughout Europe beginning in early September, what will the impact of the new signings mean for the Serbians, and what is a realistic outlook for this legendary club that hasnt reached the Euroleague playoffs since 2016?
With every new player arriving, there is a roster spot that needs to be filled, and Red Star has lost 4 of their 5 best scorers from last season who combined for >48 points per game:
However, the club successfully re-signed Nemanja Nedovic, last year’s 2nd highest scorer, and kept solid role players Luka Mitrovic and Branko Lazic, a good foundation to complement the new signees.
Shabazz Napier6´1, PG
The 2x NCAA champion won the Serie A with Milano this past season, and in Euroleague averaged 15 PTs & 3.9 ASTs on 45.6% shooting from the 3pt line
Milos Teodosic6´5, PG
The 36 yr. old who has played in five Euroleague Final Fours and won the title in 2016 with CSKA, spent his last 4 seasons with Virtus Bologna and averaged 10.3 PTs & 6 ASTs (3rd in EL) last season
Adam Hanga6´7, SF
The 34 Yr. old has played in three consecutive Euroleague Finals, winning the title with Real Madrid last year
Rokas Giedraitis6´7, SF
Giedratis, who played for Baskonia last season, averaged 10.4 PTs, 5.9 REBs & 1.6 ASTs, and struggled shooting in the Euroleague (29.3% 3s), but was hot in ACB (43.6% 3s)
Joel Bolomboy6´9, C
Bolomboy is a Euroleague champion with CSKA in 2019, finalist in 2023 with Olympiakos, and an athletic inside presence on both ends
Mike Tobey7´0, C
Tobey arrives from Barcelona where he won the ACB last season, competes with the Slovenian national team, and is a big man with a soft touch + 3pt range
Marko Simonovic6´11, C
Simonovic returns from the US after being drafted by the Chicago Bulls 44th in 2020, playing 16 NBA games - last season in the G-League, he average 14.8 PTs & 9.9 REBs
Yago Dos Santos5´9, PG
The Brazilian is a German BBL Champion with Ratiopharm Ulm , won Finals MVP, and is quick guard with tremendous range on his jumper
Given last year’s performance, a couple of things are clear for Red Star to compete at the highest level in the Euroleague: improve scoring along with 3pt shooting, rebounding and rim protection.
The new additions address the team's needs, speak to a thoughtful off-season plan, and the formation of a deep roster:
Experience with Teodosic and Napier, along with tremendous passing and shooting
Nedovic will mostly operate as an off-ball scorer, a role he is most comfortable in
Yago adds speed and shooting and forward Adam Hanga can also help out here, if needed
Bolomboy will be the main defensive anchor and inside finisher
Tobey and Simonovic add tremendous size with outside shooting to spread the floor
Both bigger forwards (Davidovac & Mitrovic) can help out here as well.
Giedraitis and Hanga give the team size, shooting, rebounding and playmaking
In Mitrovic and Davidovac, they can play small ball (Hanga or Giedraitis at the 4) or big line-ups with Davidovac (6´8) and Mitrovic (6´9) at the 3&4 positions.
Last season, Red Star's defensive rating was 4th best in the Euroleague, 112.8, which they will look to maintain. They also played the 4th slowest pace, something that could change this season as they look to address the following:
In the Euroleague, Red Star will be very tough to play against. They can mix lineups with 3 premier guards and play very fast, or put a tall lineup on the floor that will be able to switch almost everything on defense, giving them tremendous versatility on both ends. The roster is deep and can cover missteps due to injury or performance ups and downs throughout the season.
Expect the Serbians to make a deep run in the Euroleague playoffs next season if things click.