AX Armani Exchange Milan kept most of the core of the team from last season and had a couple of meaningful additions that will look to take the team even further after a Final Four return in 2021.
The backcourt for Milan starts with two superstars that remain in the team from last year. Former MVP Sergio Rodriguez will still be the main floor general, and will have the help of superscorer Malcolm Delaney, who averaged 11.6 points last season. New faces Troy Daniels, Devon Hall and Gerian Grant have also been added to make Milan’s backcourt a force to be reckoned with. Daniels is an experienced vet with 339 NBA appearances under his belt, while Hall comes from a stellar season in Germany. Grant also shined with Proimtheas Patras in the Greek League. Another vet, Riccardo Moraschini, will be a quality back-up. At small forward, sniper Shavon Shields will remain one of Milan’s main offensive threats.
The biggest signing for Milan this summer was probably the comeback of Nicolo Melli. He started his career in Milan and after exploding elsewhere and having some great seasons, he is back to his origins to lift the team to a new level. Of course, he will be joined by tried and true EuroLeague stars like Kyle Hines and Luigi Datome, who were already a key part in the team’s return to the Final Four last season. Another new face in the paint will be Dinos Mitoglou, fresh off Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, where he has become one of the most prominent young big men in the league. Kaleb Tarczewski and Paul Biligha return to contribute some more experience while Gianpaolo Ricci is a new face arriving from Virtus Bologna, where he averaged 6.4 points in the 7DAYS EuroCup last season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Even if Milan features a star-studded roster already, all eyes will be on Nicolo Melli, arguably the team’s biggest signing this summer. Melli played five EuroLeague seasons with Milan from 2010 to 2015 but it was when he joined Bamberg of Germany that he exploded. In his two seasons there his numbers increased on every front and he was signed by Fenerbahce. He spent also two seasons there and then he played two seasons in the NBA. He totals 207 EuroLeague games, with averages of 7.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Coach Ettore Messina expects that Melli will be the missing piece in a puzzle that already delivered in spades last season.
Milan hopes to go one step further this season, and that only means one thing: making it all the way to the Championship Game. Last season, the Italian team fell in semis to FC Barcelona, but the big goals remain. Coach Messina has kept the core names of Rodriguez, Hines, Delaney, Shields or Datome, and brought in new faces that could be a new configuration that does the trick. In such a loaded regular season, a good start will be paramount, and the first game at home against CSKA Moscow, which will be a tough test right out of the gate. With four home games in the first five rounds, Milan will have a change to build confidence early, which could prove decisive as it works its way towards the playoffs.
Seen at: Euroleague.net