The Eurocentric 2011-12 NBA Western Conference preview (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

Okay, after that Xmas distraction, BallinEurope is ready to write up some more stuff about good tidings and cheer*, namely, the start of the NBA season. With hours to go, BiE’s got just enough time to get in the part two of the Euro-centric big-league preview in this brief look at the teams in the Western Conference – plus Official Fearless Predictions™, guaranteed to be as accurate as they are popular.

*Los Angeles Lakers fans, over whom a huge cloud of doom hangs to start this season, excluded (sigh).

As in the Eastern Conference preview, BiE seeks to keep an eye on those players who contributed a stint in Continental ball this summer during the lockout period and even, to some, extent participants in Eurobasket 2011. BiE believes that the running start from real game-time situations plus the suddenly intensive NBA season will give the Euroballers an advantage in the short-term against more laggardly opponents not in “basketball shape.” And with the shortened regular season, a jump start will provide lasting effects.

To BiE, it looks something like this.

Continue Reading…


Profile: Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz’ no. 3 overall draft pick

With Team Turkey bounced from Eurobasket 2011, BallinEurope’s Sam Chadwick takes a brief look back at the play of prospective Utah Jazz big man Enes Kanter during the tournament — and a look forward to speculate on what he can do in the NBA. Will he be a Al Horford type? Can he compete against the tops in the NBA? And he will get any playing minutes? Read on…

Continue Reading…


Déjà vu in Ukraine? Proposed role models for Fratello’s new team

When Mike Fratello arrives to head up his national team coaching gig in Ukraine, he won’t see too many familiar faces beyond Sasha Volkov. Volkov played for the Czar’s Atlanta Hawks for a couple seasons way back when; unfortunately, Volkov hasn’t actually played ball at any level since year 2000. Coupled with the fact that Fratello hasn’t coached at any level since washing out of Memphis in 2006 and, wow, the television guy is facing lots of unknowns.

Here’s to thinking Fratello will rely on past experience to guide his new team. His historical preference for grind-it-out defense is sure to mesh well with a big, physical Team Ukraine; the side is also blessed with lots of shot blocking at its disposal. Will the Czar be imagining past glories as he trains in Europe? To when in the past will he look while watching his players in the present? BallinEurope looks at some potential role models for Eurobasket 2011.

• Serhiy Gladyr

Current team: Basquet Manresa

Scouting report: “Gladyr is a 6’5” shooting guard with nice athletic ability … What makes Gladyr intriguing is his shooting: He’s one of the better pure shooters in the draft. His shooting numbers are not overwhelming (36% on three-pointers), but he clearly has a sweet-shooting stroke … [at 19 years old, he] already shows the ability to drill shots coming off screens. … He’s not strictly a shooter thanks to his athleticism and good ball-handling. Pretty nice handle where he loves to use his left hand, and has an effective crossover dribble. Did have some issues when trapped on pick-and-rolls … had some issues in general when a second defender approached him … Solid rebounder for a 2-guard … Sergiy is a pretty good athlete by Ukrainian League standards, but how he rates as a NBA athlete is hard to gauge. If he was a Top 10 scorer in Spain or Italy then I’d feel more assured of his potential.” (The Painted Area, June 2009)

What he’s doing in 2010-11: So now Sergiy is 21 and, while averaging 9.1 points per ACB game – second-highest on his team to Uros Slokar – doesn’t put him onto Spain’s top 10 scorers list, BiE thinks The Painted Area must be pleased with Gladyr’s progress. It seems Gladyr’s three-point shooting still underwhelms, as he averages 1.6-for-4.7 shooting beyond the arc per ACB game, good for right around – you guessed it – 35%. Nevertheless, the future looks bright for this Ukrainian; could an NBA draft selection be in his future…?

Role model: Dan Majerle, who Fratello himself may barely remember, as Deadly Dan played just a single season with the Cavaliers and started only 15 times. Like Majerle, Gladyr is noted for his ball-handling skills and is particularly difficult to stop (or to stop from shooting) anywhere on the floor if single-covered. As Majerle is today one of the relatively unsung heroes of those Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns teams of the 1990s, so would a sharpshooting Gladyr should Team Ukraine surprise.

Continue Reading…


The Eurocentric 2010-11 NBA Preview (or How the Hoops World revolves around Europe)

With the 2010-11 NBA season tipping off tonight, BallinEurope marks the occasion in the best way possible: By overrating the league’s Continental players and making a few offhand Fearless Predictions™ in the guise of a preview column.

Brief notes and snarky remarks on all 25 NBA teams follow. (Yes, BiE said “all 25.” Since the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and Los Angeles Clippers boasts no Europeans, they can’t really be considered proper NBA teams for our Eurocentric viewpoint.

Southwest Division
Some folks are calling the 2010-11 edition of the Dallas Mavericks its strongest team ever; it’s also a pretty good Team France embryo, with Ian Mahinmi, Alexis Ajinca, and last year’s sensation Rodrigue Beaubois helping make up Dirk Nowitzki’s posse. Unfortunately, the Western Conference may be tougher than Western Europe this year…

Continue Reading…


Where will NBA’s European free agents go?

While everyone else in the basketball universe is watching the minute-by-minute maneuvers of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the like, BallinEurope has an eye on those powers from The Continent who may be moving around within the NBA to help reshape rosters for the 2010-11 season. Our man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, ruminates on the final destinations of 15 European NBA players. Os Davis provides the ever-popular (yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrre) fearless predictions.

Right, so everyone knows this is the summer of free agency, with possibly the top free agents ever to come on to the market in the NBA. In total, there are around 17 European players on the market – right now, we’re ranking the top 15.

Continue Reading…


Team USA to take on Greece in leadup to 2010 FIBA World Championship

Tickets went on sale yesterday for this summer’s friendly match between Team USA and Team Greece in the leadup to the 2010 FIBA World Championship tournament. The Americans will be taking on Hellas in Olympic Stadium on August 25. Ticket prices range from €20 to €100.

Team USA’s national team training camp runs July 19 to 24 in Las Vegas. On the 24th, the in-team Blue vs. White game will be held at UNLV; tickets for this game and the entire “2010 USA Basketball Showcase” event cost between $12 and $75.

The 2010 FIBA World Championship starts on August 28 in Turkey. Greece tips off in Ankara against China in Group C, which also includes the hometown team, Russia, Puerto Rica and Cote d’Ivoire. The USA gets Croatia on day one in Istanbul and Group B also includes Slovenia, Iran, Brazil, and Tunisia.

Continue Reading…


Draft profile: Miroslav Raduljica

In tribute to that great international pastime known as “NBA mock drafting,” BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, periodically takes a look at some of Europe’s prospective high draft picks. Today’s profile features Serbia’s Miroslav Raduljica, a 22-year-old center who figures to hear his name on draft day early on in the second round.

There may or may not be a caveat on drafting Raduljica: Draft Express, in a live meeting with FMP Zeleznik head coach Vlado Djurovic, had Djurovic stating that “Miroslav Raduljica is not interested in playing in the NBA. He will go to a big team in Europe.” Since Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade apparently had some sort of interest/negotiation with Raduljica later in February, the Black-and-Whites might be considered the favorites to snag the big man.

Continue Reading…


Draft profile: Donatas Motiejunas

Now that NBA mock drafting is in full swing (despite the total lack of clarity regarding playoff positioning, not to mention seeing how the damn lottery ping-pong balls fall this year), BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, will be taking a look at some of Europe’s prospective high draft picks. Today, it’s all about big man Donatas Motiejunas.

Vital stats
Position: Centre/Power Forward
Height: 7’0”/2.13m
Weight: 224 lbs/101 kg
Date of birth: 09/20/1990
Current Club: Benetton Treviso

Continue Reading…


On Kahn, Rubio, Milicic, Simmons and the illusion of regret



“Teams survive on TV money, season-ticket revenue and luxury suites. They don’t care about the upper decks. They care about getting fat checks in March and April for the following season, then banking that money for a few months and collecting interest on it. They care about getting us to pay for a spring’s worth of playoff tickets up front even though our team might survive only eight days in the postseason. And if they stink, they care about only one thing: creating an illusion of regret.” – Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons

The statement sounded good, with the general manager apparently committed to landing his hard-to-sign first-round draft pick and thereby soon bring relief to fans of a franchise essentially troubled since its inception.

And then you realize it’s David Kahn talking about signing Ricky Rubio. David Kahn of the long-suffering Minnesota Timberwolves. And you start thinking about what ESPN columnist Simmons so succinctly summarized as the “illusion of regret.”

“The illusion of regret is crucial. It’s the single most important dynamic in the NBA right now. It drives every lottery drawing, every trade deadline and every free-agency period.”

Continue Reading…