3x3 teams that could win a Masters for the first time in 2021
MIES (Switzerland) - 2020 saw the dominance of Novi Sad end and the emergence of the Liman-Riga two-headed monster. Heading into 2021, it’s a new year with major changes. Players and teams are returning, while the breakup of Novi Sad has shifted the balance up and down the rankings. Let's take a closer look at some of the teams that are ready to make a move and win their first Masters title in 2021.
Ub (Team Ranking: 3)
Ub jumped 7 spots up the rankings after three strong World Tour appearances in 2020, coupled with the additions of Dejan Majstorovic and Marko Savic, formerly of Novi Sad. The Serbs immediately become one of the most dynamic and accomplished teams in 3x3, with World Tour pedigree and as much talent as any team in the field. They’ll get their first chance to show the new Ub at the Doha Masters 2021 next week and we're all excited to see how they look.
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Amsterdam (Team Ranking: 7)
Amsterdam have plenty of World Tour experience, but they often finish in the middle of the pack, not making a Masters final since 2018. The team welcomes Maksim Kovacevic from Liman, the 11th ranked player in the world, giving them more shooting around playmakers Aron Roije and Dimeo van der Horst. This might be the year they finally break through to win the coveted World Tour championship trophy.
Gagarin (Team Ranking: 12)
2021’s success will come down to which Gagarin show up. Are they the team that was underwhelming in 2020, finishing 9th and 13th in two World Tour appearances? Or are they the squad who reached the final of their first-ever Masters in Prague back in 2018? Alexander Zuev once again returns as their best all-around player, hoping to help them win their first Masters.
Ulaanbaatar (Team Ranking: 13)
The Mongolians had a memorable 4th place finish at the Los Angeles Masters 2019. There’s a lot of World Tour experience on this team, giving them a chance to catch fire and go all the way in 2021.
Lausanne (Team Ranking: 14)
‘King Wes’ Molteni and the rest of Lausanne are building something special in Switzerland, and they need that World Tour title after coming close so many times before. If 2020 was any preview for this year, Lausanne has a very high ceiling. They’re one of the most exciting teams, with a fast, dynamic style filled with ‘did you see that’ passes from Gilles Martin. This might be the year we finally see the King get his crown.
Jeddah (Team Ranking: 15)
Jeddah have been one of the toughest teams to play on the 3x3 court but have only reached the semi-finals of a Masters twice. The good news? It happened for the second time in their last Masters in Doha last year. Kevin Corre has been the anchor of that team down low and Khalid Abdel-Gabar has proved to be one of the best ball-handlers in the game. Enough to get the team its first World Tour Masters this year?
Graz (Team Ranking: N/A)
Graz are a young team, recently getting their first World Tour experience in 2020, showing up nicely, and finishing 7th at the Debrecen Masters. Filip Kramer and Mortiz Lanegger came together with the goal of preparing for the Olympic qualifying tournament, being hosted in Austria, but their vision has expanded beyond just international competition. The team has shined in various events this winter. Will they be the revelation of 2021?
Utena (Team Ranking: N/A)
They are currently unranked due to the ranking freeze but in their recent form, they are one of the top-10 most dangerous teams in the world. As for 2021, their schedule is still in the works, but in 2020, the team featured some of the best new 3x3 players and a group that was consistently challenging the top competition. Their third-place finish at the Jeddah World Tour Final and Ignas Vaitkus’ emergence as one of the best players on any court gives us reason to believe a World Tour win is well within their reach.