2023-24 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague MVP: Mike James, AS Monaco

2023-24 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague MVP: Mike James, AS Monaco

James captures the league's top individual honor for the first time

After another unforgettable season, Mike James of AS Monaco has been chosen by fans, media, team captains and head coaches as the MVP of the 2023-24 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. The dynamic guard was the leader of a Monaco side that set a club record for wins as they reached the playoffs for the third straight season together and came within one win of the Final Four.

James scored in double digits in all but one of his 39 games this season, ranking second in scoring at 17.9 points per game. He improved his three-point shooting from 27.3% last season to 37.2% in the 2023-24 campaign, while also averaging a career-high 4.1 rebounds per night, ranking seventh in assists (5.1 apg.) and third in PIR (19.4). Along the way, James became the EuroLeague’s all-time leading scorer, adding even more light to his MVP season. James set the record in a home game against Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade when he passed Vassilis Spanoulis.

He showed off his scoring arsenal all season long, whether draining his trademark step-back three-pointers or attacking the rim, from which he got to the foul line often. Accordingly, James was second in the league in fouls drawn (182), free throws made (149) and free throws attempted (193).

James started the season with a bang, averaging 19.0 points and 5.6 assists in an early five-game winning streak that put Monaco in the top part of the standings. Between Rounds 10 and 18, James scored at least 20 points in seven games, reaching 28 points twice in road victories at Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and FC Bayern Munich. He was at the heart of Monaco’s 98-74 rout of top-ranked Real Madrid 98-74 with 15 points, 6 rebounds and a season-high 12 assists for a PIR of 32. James was naturally instrumental in his team’s final regular season push, as Monaco won 12 of its last 13 regular season games to finish third in the standings with a 23-11 record before losing to Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in a series with unprecedented drama: Fenerbahce won Game 5 in overtime.

James started his EuroLeague career with Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, which he helped reach the Final Four in 2016. He went on to play for Panathinaikos Athens, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan and CSKA Moscow before joining Monaco. James won the 2018-19 Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy with Milan. A four-time All-EuroLeague selection, James becomes the first American player to receive the MVP award since Anthony Parker claimed it in 2005 and 2006 for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The list of EuroLeague MVP winners starts with Parker, the only player to claim the award twice. Theo Papaloukas of CSKA was the 2006-07 MVP, followed by Ramunas Siskauskas also of CSKA (2007-08), Juan Carlos Navarro of FC Barcelona (2008-09), Milos Teodosic of Olympiacos Piraeus (2009-10), Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos (2010-11), Andrei Kirilenko of CSKA (2011-12), Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos (2012-13), Sergio Rodriguez of Real (2013-14), Nemanja Bjelica of Fenerbahce (2014-15), Nando De Colo of CSKA (2015-16), Sergio Llull of Real Madrid (2016-17), Luka Doncic of Real Madrid (2017-18), Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce (2018-19), Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul (2020-21), Nikola Mirotic of Barcelona (2021-22) and last season’s winner, Sasha Vezenkov of Olympiacos.

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