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viernes, 17 de octubre de 2008

THE EUROLEAGUE IS HERE (This article is available in English and Español)

We are lucky, because the Euroleague´s basketball returns this coming Monday, so it's time to review and to do forecast about this important European competition.
If we speak of the favourites to win the Euroleague, obviously there is a clear favourite, the Olympiakos Piraeus, which, as we explained in several articles during the last summer(June 25 and July 25: : EUROLEAGUE: SPECTACULAR MARKET! and NBA: THE CHILDRESS´S SURPRISE), it has built an incredible team, a team very balanced with great potential in all the lines.The names of the players is enough to see the quality of the team: the superb Theo Papaloukas, the promising Serbian guard Milos Tedosic, the elegant Yota Halperim, the shooter Lynn Greer and Arvydas Macijauskas, the new sensation Josh Childress, who arrives from the Atlanta Hawks and the center Ioannis Bourousis, the Serbian Zoran Erceg, the powerful "Baby Shack" Soflokis Schortsanitis and the superb Nikola Vujcici- possibly the best center in Europe, since he has a lot of quality both to score and to rebound and to assist-.So, excellent team for a great coach, Panagiotis Giannakis, who has an only objective, to win the Euroleague, although it will have many difficult rivals.

For example, one of the main rival will be the Panathinaikos, the other major Greek team, which, after the fiasco of last season-it was eliminated in the Top 16-, has completed its impressive squad-alongside Dimitris Diamantidis(one the best European defender), the determinant guard Šarūnas Jasikevičius, the elegant shooter Vassilis Spanoulis and the hard Nikos Hatzivrettas, we will see other excellent shooters, who arrive this season to Athens, since this club has acquired a classic of the European basketball Drew Nicholas-he arrives to Greece after adventures in Italy (Livorno Basket and Benetton Basket Treviso), in Spain (Tau Vitoria) and in Turkey (Efes Pilsen) - and the experience Serbian Dusan Kecman. Moreover, Panathinaikos has strengthened its worst position last season, the play in the paint, and this season Mike Batiste finally will have a good help with the arrival of one of the best players in Europe, the Montenegrin Nikola Pekovic-he is 22 year´s old, 2.10 cm and he arrives from Partizan Belgrade, where he played very well last season- and with the arrival of another classic of the European basketball, the constant Antonis Fotsis.

Along with the Greek teams, it also appears as favourite, the current European champion, CSKA Moscow. This club, although it has lost Theo Papaloukas, continues being a very solid team and the great coach Ettore Messina has determinant player in all the lines such as JR Holden, Trajan Langdon "the murderer of Alaska," Ramunas Siskaukas, Matjaz Smodis, Viktor Khryapa, and the new acquisition, the center Terence Morris-he played very well last season at Maccabi Tel-Aviv- the elegant Croatian guard Zoran Planinić or the good Slovenian center Erazem Lorbek- yes, he did not play very well during his Unicaja´s period, but he has a lot of potential as he showed at Lottomatica Roma last season-.
These 3 teams are, a priori, the main favourite to be the European Champion, but of course we can not forget other clubs, which will have many chances:
1-Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv: the Hebrew team is a real mystery, since it has lost the most important players (the aforementioned Nikola Vujcic, Yotam Halperin and Terence Morris or David Bluthenthal-he will play at Le Mans to be the Nicolas Batum´s substitute, who will play at the Portland Trail Blazers-or Will Bynum –he will play at the Detroit Pistons), and while it has got the acquisition of the NBA´s experienced guard Carlos Arroyo, the other new players are a bit of a mystery whether they to be enough good to make a good Maccabi-it is clear that Rodney White is a player who assures around 15-20 points per game and that Yaniv Green has a lot of experience, but I do not know the other new, we must wait... -. Anyway, one thing is clear, this season should be the decisive year to confirm their level the 2 young Hebrew player, Omri Casspi –he transmitted very good sensations last season-and Lior Eliyahu-I did not understand because he lost so much prominence last year, he is pure talent-.

2-The Spanish league´s teams: Of all of them (Tau Cerámica Vitoria, DKV Joventut Badalona, Regal FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Unicaja Malaga), perhaps the Regal FC Barcelona is the team with a best future in this competition, because FC Barcelona was very near of the Final Four last season and it has a better team this year, because on the one hand Dusko Ivanovic is not the coach this season-it is an excellent news for FC Barcelona- and on the other hand it has been strengthened both the shooter´line- Juan Carlos Navarro is again in Barcelona after a season in the NBA (I criticized in other articles his return, since it was during the Joan Laporta´s vote of confidence) and he will do a great job alongside players like Jaka Lakovic, Gianluca Basile, Lubos Barton and even Andre Barrett (the new small guard)-and the play in the paint-it made 2 important acquisitions, the powerful Daniel Santiago and the elegant (3 times European champion, 1 time with Virtus Bologna and 2 with CSKA Moscow), David Andersen, who will be alongside Ersan Ilyasova-he played very well as power-forward last season, both scoring and rebounding-Fran Vazquez and Jordi Trias. About the other 4 Spanish teams, I must say that I find defect, since both Real Madrid and Tau Vitoria have a great problem: the coach, since the coach of Real Madrid-this club has good players such as the shooter Louis Bullock and Quinton Hosley, or the spectacular Jeremiah Massey, or the center Felipe Reyes and Lazaros Papadopoulos (the Greek arrived agiler this year than last season) - Joan Plaza is a inexperienced coach and he commits great mistakes during the important games-he was the main culprit (absurd decisions) of the Real Madrid´s fiasco during the last Euroleague- so, Real Madrid needs another coach, if it wants to be really a competitive team. About the Tau´s coach, Dusko Ivanovic, I have spoken many times about him and he is the worst European coach, since he does not have the necessary mentality to be a good coach and he “squeezes tightly” the players. It is a pity for Tau because it has good players (the excellent Argentine guard Pablo Prigioni- one of the best to assist and to steal-, the shooter Igor Rakocevic, the complete Fernando San Emeterio or the good Brazilian center Tiago Splitter), but the president of the club (Josean Querejeta)took this absurd decision and now the Tau´s fans will suffer a difficult season and they could sing a song to Dusko, the song of the American singer Beck: "Soy un perdedor, I am loser baby ...". About DKV Joventut Badalona, we must say that this year presents a bit uncertain, because it will be the first season without the coach-architect of the last big successes of this team, Aito Garcia Reneses who is the new Unicaja Malaga´s coach, and without the key player of team, Rudy Fernandez, who will play in the NBA-at Portland Trail Blaizers-. Therefore we will have to wait to see if the players start to know and then we will see what is the limit for Ricky Rubio -the wonder kid-, the Lithuanian Simas Jasaitis-he is an excellent shooter-, Luka Bogdanovic, Bracey Wright-he showed good level during the last 2 years at Aris Salonica-, Demond Mallet-excellent for the 3 points field goal-or the powerful Nana Mensah-Bonsu-he is a young player and he has a great future, since for example last season at Benetton Treviso he gota 10 points and 8 rebounds per game-. Finally about Unicaja Malaga, we must say that it has scarcity to be a real competitive team, since after the Daniel Santiago´s departure, it has a poor play in the paint, because the only player who can intimidate in the paint Boniface Ndong, since Robert Archibald is a cold player and the other-German Gabriel and Markus Haislip-play better outside the paint.
3-Montepaschi Siena: Probably this club will be fighting to play the Final Four, since it has the same key players(the good guard Terrel McIntyre and Rimantas Kaukenas or the Lithuanian center Ksistof Lavrinovic),who played so well last season-this club won the Italian Lega without any problem and it reached the Euroleague´s Final Four- and besides it has completed the squad with two very good scorer, Morris Finley-he scored 19 points per game last season at the Italian team NS Rieti- and the already classic player of the European competition, Henry Domercant-this player, who is always near to 20 point per game, arrives to Italy after experience in the Turkish, Greek and Russian league.
4-Efes Pilsen: the truth is that the Istanbul´s team has very good looking, because Ergin Ataman has formed a very competitive squad with high level and experienced player, who can win any game. Thus we see in the turkish team players very well-known as the guard Milos Vujanic-his last season at Dynamo Moscow was enough good and he started to recover his best level(his best year were 5-6 year ago when he played at Fortitudo Bologna and Partizan Belgrade)- or Cenk Akyol –this player is pure talent and he returns to Efes Pilsen after a year on loan at Galatasaray-, or the forward Charles Smith-he is the regularity personified, since he almost always score 10 or more points-, Bootsy Thornton- he is another constant player- or the forward Michail Kakiouzis and Preston Schumpert-he played very well last season at Besiktas, since he scored 17 points per game-,Kerem Gonlum or the center Mario Kasun-he was unlucky during his FC Barcelona´s period- or the constant center Kaya Peker.
5 - Finally, we must say that we will also pay attention during this year to other teams, whose squads have good player and it they are not favourite to be in the Final Four, they can beat any other “big” club. So we'll see the results of teams like Lottomatica Roma-it has acquired good players like the elegant guard Sani Becirovic or the former NBA´center Primoz Brezec or the American Andre Hutson-, Cibona Zagreb-it has recovered the Croatian classical players like Davor Kus (he did not show his real level during his Unicaja Malaga´s period and he will play on loan at his former Croatian club), Damir Markota (he did not have a good NBA ´s period) or the powerful center Nikola Prkacin-, the Union Olimpija Ljubliana of Marko Milic and Vlado Ilievski, the Zalgiris Kaunas of Marcus Brown, Dainius Salenga or Jonas Maciulis, the AJ Milano of Massimo Bulleri and David Hawkins, the Partizan Igokea Belgrade(this club is always synonym of talented players and we think that this season will be the year of the forward Novica Velickovic, the guard Uros Tripkovic or the forward Milenko Tepic) or Fenerbahçe Ulker of Mirsad Turkcan and the great Croatian player Gordan Giricek, who after a solid career in the NBA has decided to return to European basketball, as many other players like the small guard Earl Boykins, who will play at the legendary Italian Virtus Bologna, or Jorge Garbajosa and Carlos Delfino who will play at the Russian Khimki or Jannero Pargo and Bostjan Nachbar, who will play at Dynamo Moscow and Nenad Krstic, who is new Triumph BC-Lyubertsy´s player-we must say that neither the Triumph, neither the Dynamo Moscow and the Khimki will play this year in the Euroleague-.

So, enjoy it.
On Monday, the first game, Tau Cerámica Vitoria-Fenerbahçe Ulker Istanbul at 2030 cet. Cheers,
J&F

6 comentarios:

francescomisc dijo...

The basketball is not my strong but I really like to get a nice find in your blog.
the next

www.interclubacquaviva@libero.it

Juan y Fer dijo...

Thanks Francesco for your message, well I recommend this sport, there always is spectacle, both in the domestic league and in the Euroleague.
Regards.

ultrANIL07 dijo...

Efes Pilsen is not a Ottoman team. If you edit this detail, I'll be happy.

Juan y Fer dijo...

Thanks Ultranil07 for the information, I have changed the word. I am sorry if I have said something wrong but in my country Ottoman is synonyn of turkish and I do not know if this word has other specific meaning. Anyway, I have changed the word, no problem.
Regards.

ultrANIL07 dijo...

I don't want to be understood wrong. In a way, you are right about the Ottoman. That empire is the past of Turkish Republic. But I hope you'll appreciate, most of us don't like to be called as Ottoman.

Thanks for your regard :)

Juan y Fer dijo...

Ok, I understand it. no problem.
Thanks.
Regards.

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