2023-24 BKT EuroCup MVP: T. J. Shorts, Paris Basketball

2023-24 BKT EuroCup MVP: T. J. Shorts, Paris Basketball

The rookie guard has guided Paris to the finals in dominant fashion

Paris Basketball star T. J. Shorts has been voted as the MVP for the 2023-24 BKT EuroCup season after an incredible debut season in the competition. Euroleague Basketball congratulates Shorts on the award, which was chosen by a combination of EuroCup head coaches, team captains, fans and media.

Shorts has been the engine that has made this near-perfect Paris team run, with the club – in its second year in the EuroCup – going 20-1 to date. With two more wins in Paris’s all-French EuroCup Finals series with Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse, Shorts and co. will have achieved the most-ever wins in a EuroCup season. With a place in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague up for grabs, which would mark the first time Paris or Bourg has played in Europe’s premier club basketball competition, the American will be looking to continue a magical season on both an individual and collective level by inspiring Paris to a finals victory.

From day one, Shorts was intent on displaying his talent at the EuroCup level in his rookie season in the competition, leading Paris to a perfect 7-0 record while posting of 16.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 2.3 steals and a PIR of 20.0 per night. Paris and Shorts tasted defeat for the first – and only – time in Round 8, but the 26-year-old’s dominance showed no sign of slowing down, as he finished the regular season with averages of 17.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.8 steals and a 22.6 PIR. Without Shorts’s leadership at the point guard spot, Paris’s 17-1 regular-season record would likely have looked far different.

Shorts’s supremacy only increased upon the arrival of the playoffs, with Paris entering the postseason in last eight thanks to its first-placed finish in Group A. For Shorts, there was no hanging around as he became the quarterfinals MVP and semifinals MVP in back-to-back rounds of the playoffs. Against Joventut Badalona in the quarterfinals, he amassed 21 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers and a 28 PIR. In the semifinals, he averaged 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 4.0 steals and a 28.5 PIR in Paris’s 2-0 series sweep of the London Lions. All told, ahead of the finals, he is averaging 18.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.0 steals and a 23.4 PIR in 21 games.

The main statistical categories paint a picture of dominance, too. So far in 2023-24, with at least two more games to come in the finals, Shorts has scored the sixth-most points in any EuroCup season ever with 377; based on his 18.0 points per game average this season, he could find himself in second once the finals are wrapped up. En route to those points, he has made 124 two-pointers, the fourth most all-time, and could move past the 130 of Paris Levallos’s Sharrod Ford in the 2014-15 season, although the 151 of Aykon Ted Ankara Kolejliler’s Vladimir Golubovic in the 2013-14 campaign may be difficult to reach.

He has also made EuroCup history by setting a new single-season record by dishing 158 assists. What’s more, Shorts has the chance to write his name further into the history books when it comes to steals; his 41 to date – the 14th best all-time – are just eight behind the single-season leader Jerry McCullough of Metis Varese from the 2003-04 campaign. Last but not least, his 491 combined PIR through this season is currently the second-best mark all-time, and he could pass the 533 set by Golubovic in the 2013-14 campaign come the end of the finals.

Shorts now has the opportunity to add a second successive European trophy to his collection. Last season, Shorts – and several of his Paris teammates, as well as head coach Tuomas Iisalo – helped lead Telekom Baskets Bonn to the 2022-23 FIBA Basketball Champions League title, with the point guard earning MVP and Final Four MVP honors. Shorts was also chosen as the German League MVP for last season, but Bonn came up short to ratiopharm Ulm in the finals.

Not only is Shorts Paris’s first EuroCup MVP award winner, but he is the first to come from a French team. He follows in the footsteps of many Americans who have earned this honor, albeit some held double nationalities at the time: Chuck Eidson (2008-09, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius), Dontaye Draper (2010-11, Cedevita), Patrick Beverley (2011-12, Spartak St. Petersburg), Nick Calathes (2012-13, Lokomotiv Kuban), Drew Goudelock (2013-14, UNICS Kazan), Tyrese Rice (2014-15, Khimki Moscow Region), Errick McCollum (2015-16, Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul), Scottie Wilbekin (2017-18, Darussafaka Istanbul), Luke Sikma (2018-19, ALBA Berlin), Jamar Smith (2020-21, UNICS) and Jerian Grant (2022-23, Turk Telekom Ankara). The European-born season MVPs in the EuroCup have been Marko Banic (2009-10, Bilbao), Alexey Shved (2016-17 Khimki) and Mam Jaiteh (2021-22 Virtus) . There was no MVP of the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.


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