Maccabi starts making moves as finger pointing begins with Nunnally staying in Israel

Dec 29, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Monaco on Wednesday at 20:00 Israel time as the second round of Euroleague games gets underway just ahead of the new year. The Yellow & Blue enter the contest in the midst of a seven game losing streak and a record of 7-10 while Sasa Obradovic’s club sits at 6-11 and have won only once in their last 8 games a run that began with a loss at Yad Eliyahu back in November.

While both teams are struggling on the court, Monaco made a change on the sidelines as Zvezdan Mitrovic was replaced by Obradovic as the principality’s team looked to get out of their slump, however their record is only 1-4 in the 5 games that the new bench boss has been in charge.

James Nunnally – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Maccabi has yet to make a significant move despite the losing streak, however, it looks as if there may be some movement as James Nunnally did not make the trip to Monaco for the Euroleague tilt and remained in Israel for individual workouts.

“I decided to keep James out of the team this is my decision,” Maccabi’s head coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos said. “I am only thinking about the good of the team and the best of the team.”

The decision to keep Nunnally in Israel was made after the swingman’s poor play of late including a brutal Derby showing going 1/6 from the field with 5 turnovers and a -5 efficiency rating. But that game was only the tip of iceberg as may be able to score, his defense is questionable at best and has showed very little emotion on the court for the Yellow & Blue.

Sfairopoulos had this to say right after the 83-82 loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv as to why Nunnally had dressed despite having been playing poorly recently, “James is a very good scorer and I trust him. He’s a player that can show up in the tough moments and is a player that can give a lot in situations to the team. He was not on a good shooting day but that is life, sometimes you miss and sometimes you score.”

Ioannis Sfairopoulos- Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Interesting enough that coach Sfairopoulos trusted Nunnally just a couple of days ago. Of course that was then and this is now as he’s got to win games and he’s got to change things up to get some sort of positive results.

Roi Cohen of Sport 5 reported that after Monday’s practice Nunnally was the first player to leave the facility and that the team needed to win some games. With that he also added that he’s not the problem. The question is then, who or what is the problem?

Was that a veiled shot at Scottie Wilbekin who it seems just can’t play with one another or Sfairopoulos?

Bill Neff, Nunnally’s agent then told Cohen that just as Nunnally wasn’t the main star when Maccabi was winning, he’s not the team issue as they lose.

James Nunnally – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

One can read into that statement as they would like but if one had to guess, if Wilbekin warted Nunnally to play at Monaco he’d be playing. The two just don’t mesh well on the court.

Another couple of items of interest from Neff was that Nunnally probably won’t be heading to another Euroleague team as the window closed on Wednesday. China, although a place that the swingman enjoyed is out because they aren’t currently allowing players into the country and that NBA 10-day contracts aren’t something he is looking at because he has a contact with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

So it looks like Nunnally is going nowheres unless the two parties come to terms for a parting of the ways.

At this point the fans would also like to see the end of Nunnally after getting into it on an Instagram Live post that has since been erased as well as on Twitter the night before the Derby game where a fan suggested that he go to sleep to which Nunnally responded, “U my parents”? Maybe he should have gone to sleep early as his stats showed arguably his worst performance in Yellow & Blue.

Interesting that Nunnally will talk to fans on social media but has yet to attend a pregame or postgame media session which is not only his blame but the club as well for allowing him special dispensation to escape being questioned.

Another Maccabi player who has not performed up to par in Angelo Caloiaro was also asked about Nunnally not making the trip, “That is coach’s decision and for them to decide, not my way grade.”

Angelo Caloiaro – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

As for the game itself, Caloairo is aware that both teams are struggling to find wins any which way they can, “They are struggling too and we’re struggling, any road game is tough and they are talented and so are we, but we have to turn it around.”

There’s no question that Maccabi has got turn it around and amazingly Sfairopoulos is getting yet another chance to do just that as management has had more patience than anyone would have expected in terms of not letting the coach go at this point. While there are definitely serious financial considerations at play, the Yellow & Blue will need to do something, with the best thing being finding a way to win at Monaco.

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