Eight players to watch at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Jeddah Final
JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final is here and the field, loaded with talent, is ready to go head-to-head for the ultimate 3x3 prize. Let’s take a closer look at 8 of the top players, all determined to earn the top spot in Jeddah.
Stefan Stojacic (Liman)
No. 1 S-VAL, No. 1 2-pointers made (tied), and No.2 P-VAL
There’s a reason every 3x3 player chose Liman as their favorite to win the World Tour Final, and his name is Stefan Stojacic. ‘Mr. Robot’ has been the best shooter throughout the 2020 season, tied for the lead in 2-pointers made (31) while shooting a stellar 38% from distance.
The MVP of the Debrecen Masters, Stojacic really does it all. He can score from anywhere on the court, he creates for his teammates, and has led Liman to the top of the standings. After winning two different Masters events in 2020, is this the year that Liman can finally put it all together and lift the finals trophy? As Stojacic goes, Liman goes, so all eyes will be on the court general.
Nauris Miezis (Riga)
No. 1 P-VAL, No. 1 highlights, No. 1 key assists
To give you an idea of just how good Miezis is, he has 36 key assists this season, the most on the World Tour. The next closest player has 21.
Nauris Miezis comes into the World Tour Final as the top-ranked player in action, with Dusan Bulut missing the event. His numbers are off the charts, even for a man who doesn’t always get the top billing on his own team. Riga is in a position to win their first World Tour Final after impressing throughout the 2020 season, so expect Miezis to be at the top of his game. It’s hard to imagine him playing even better than he is right now, but we can’t wait to see what’s in store.
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Karlis Lasmanis (Riga)
No.1 double 5s, No. 1 in dunks, No. 2 scoring overall, No. 3 in S-VAL
There has not been a more dynamic duo on the 3x3 World Tour this year than Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis. For everything Miezis does on the perimeter, Lasmanis provides the balance on the inside, attacking the basket and creating havoc for the defense.
‘Batman’ has two World Tour 2020 wins, an MVP honor at the Hungary Masters, and a Tissot Buzzer beater for the ages in Doha. He and his teammates are firing on all cylinders heading into the most important action of the season, and we expect to see a lot of Lasmanis with the ball in his hands when the games matter most.
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Disco Domo (NY Harlem)
No. 3 key assists (tied), No. 4 Drives, No. 5 highlights
After a tough tournament in Doha, Disco Domo Jones returns to the 3x3 court with a full roster and a chance to make history. Last year's World Tour regular season MVP is looking to lead his team to their first World Tour Final win, which would be a first for a US-based team.
If Jones can get going in Jeddah, NY Harlem will be one of the most dangerous teams there. We all expect to see his ankle-breakers, sick dimes, and lockdown defense, but will we see a trophy raising this Saturday?
Dejan Majstorovic (Novi Sad)
No.5 1-point percentage (No. 1 for players with more than 3 games played), No. 20 scoring overall
With Dusan Bulut out of the World Tour Final, everyone is wondering where they are going to get their scoring from. While the team is loaded with talent, Dejan Majstorovic will have to turn back the clock and play in his 2017 form when he was off the charts.
While the outside shot was not dropping in Debrecen (17%), 'The Maestro' showed his versatility and his next-level off-the-ball movement by shooting 80% from inside the arc. He will need to provide even more offense in the World Tour Final and help carry a Novi Sad team that has underperformed in 2020.
Miroslav Pasajlic (Ub)
No. 8 S-VAL per game, No. 15 P-VAL per game
Who can forget the impact that Miroslav Pašajlić had during his brief, but epic run during the 2020 World Tour season. At the Europe Masters, he gave Ub the scoring and clutch-shooting they needed to make a run all the way to the finals, when they hit a wall against Riga.
His most notable moment came when he drilled the game-winning shot over Dusan Bulut in the semi-final, putting the team on his back. Coming in as the 8th seed, Ub will have to faceoff with Liman (SRB) and Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) in the group stage, a tough task. If Pasajlic can return to form, this Ub team might be the Cinderella story of the World Tour Final.
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Dulguun Enkhbat (Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, MGL)
No.6 1-point percentage (No. 2 for players with more than 3 games played), No. 2 ranked player in Mongolia, 10th World Tour event (first final)
If Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy are going to try and shock the world again, they are going to need Dulguun Enkhbat to find his range. He shot 79% from the 1-point range over the course of the World Tour 2020.
Tsenguunbayar Gotov has been awesome for the Mongolian team, and if Enkhbat can find his shooting stroke, this team might once again find themselves knocking out the world's best. The second-ranked Mongolian player brings a ton of World Tour experience to the team and we’re expecting a performance that matches the moment.
Ignas Vaitkus (Utena Uniclub)
No. 5 P-VAL per game, No. 7 Pts per game, No. 6 S-VAL per game
Ignas Vaitkus has been a consistent force for Utena Uniclub, which comes into the World Tour Final with nothing to lose. After bursting on to the 3x3 scene earlier this year, he and the team have been fantastic, making it to the final of the Debrecen Masters and the semi-final in Doha.
Now in the World Tour Final, they will face off against NY Harlem (USA) and Sakiai Gulbele (LTU), with whom they have already formed a deep rivalry. While there are no easy roads to the bracket and the final, if Vaitkus can once again shoot at an elite level, this Lithuanian team might just cap off the perfect 2020 season.