3 Strahinja Stojacic (SRB)
12/06/2024
3x3
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What's gone wrong with Ub Huishan NE on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2024?

CHENGDU (China) - As we head to the Chengdu Masters, the fourth stop on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2024, No.1 seed Ub Huishan NE will arrive under unusual pressure and facing question marks. 

The Serbs are so far this season titleless and their stranglehold on the World Tour looks shaky. It's a far cry from previous seasons where Ub won four straight titles to start 2022 before topping that by winning the first six Masters last year. 

Let's look at some of the issues facing Ub. 

Lack of chemistry

Ub's rampant starts the previous couple of years have been built off chemistry and having their awesome foursome playing together. 

But this season they've been rotating the squad with superstar Stahinja Stojacic not playing in Marseille, while legendary Dejan Majstoric missed Ulaanbaatar

They've also added 3x3 great Stefan Stojacic -  the older brother of Strahinja - and he made his debut in Ulaanbaatar. It's a big addition, but it takes time to build chemistry and the results might be uneven as we've seen so far. 

 

Doctor Strange can get to another level 

It hasn't quite been 'Doctor Strange's' multiverse so far in 2024.

The No.1 ranked player has by no means been bad, but has yet to hit his incredible standards of the past two seasons where he had thrusted himself into the GOAT conversation. 

He is averaging 5.6 ppg - nearly a point below his mark last season - but there have been flashes of brilliance. Stojacic isn't far away. He's still near the top of some major stats, including highlights and one-point %. 

But we are waiting for him to get to the GOAT level and that might just happen in Chengdu. 

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The competition has improved

It's not necessarily a case of Ub having slipped. It's probably more telling that the standard of the World Tour has improved and gone up a level. There has been an injection of talent and new teams are emerging. 

While Ub's biggest rivals Amsterdam (NED) and Miami (USA) are even scarier prospects and already have titles on the board.

Their superstars Worthy de Jong and Jimmer Fredette - the biggest challengers to Stojacic's crown - are hitting their peaks on the half-court having regularly played 3x3 for some time now. 

Ub will have to find ways to get even better and it's going to take a collective effort. Their core have all won Masters MVP, but haven't quite played at that standard just yet. 

You just know they will be extra determined to get back on track. 

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Silver linings

Ub are the victims of their incredible success - they are held to ridiculously high standards. On the surface, not winning a title from three Masters is seen as a failure. 

But closer inspection suggests otherwise. They were an inch away from winning a third straight title in Utsunomiya before falling short to Miami in an epic final. 

 

In Marseille, without 'Doctor Strange', Ub lost a pool game in OT to Paris (FRA) before being knocked out in the quarters by eventual champs Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU) in a classic. 

Ub again fell in the quarters when they fell short to eventual champs Amsterdam (NED) in Ulaanbaatar. Once again it was a see-saw of a game that could have gone either way. 

Glass half full, Ub haven't been far off the mark. Perhaps they've just been unlucky. And maybe they've taken a different approach and decided to ease their way into the season. 

But any way you spin it, the pressure is building and they will be desperate to end their season drought in Chengdu. 

FIBA