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The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Oct
2

BallinEurope’s Top 10 Euro-centric storylines in NBA 2013-14 season

Pero Antic: Ready for his (NBA) closeup

Though the NBA’s opening night went down yesterday (North America time), the far majority of teams in the Association has yet to tip things off. What better time then, to enumerate 10 or so storylines BallinEurope will be following in 2013-14?

(That was a rhetorical question.)

Right, then. Here’s what we’re looking at in the NBA season to come.

• Tony Parker and his French Foreign Legion. The San Antonio Spurs, who first dipped into international talent when they drafted that guy from the Virgin Islands back in 1999, added yet another non-North American this offseason to go with Parker, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter et al in Marco Belinelli. The thought here surely is for the Western Conference champs to supplement shooting off the wing and supplement they shall.

Meanwhile, pundits aplenty (all the way up to Bill and Jalen” over at Grantland.com) wonder openly about the psychological effect of heartbreaking losses in game six and seven of last year’s finals. BiE’d say that this ain’t no ordinary team and despite never having been in this position (i.e. as the previous year’s runner-up) to start a season, the Spurs’ll shrug it off. What cannot be so easily brushed aside is ol’ Father Time, who’s clearly gaining on Ginobili and surely must be sneaking up on Tim Duncan…

• Marcin Gortat’s fortunes on the Wizards. As part of an all-out – and possibly bald-faced – salary dump/preparation to tank for the draft lottery, the Phoenix Suns dumped The Polish Hammer in the eleventh hour to a suddenly impressive-looking Washington side. Continue Reading…

Jul
0

Shuffling pre-threepeat, Russians in Brooklyn: Last week’s five most intriguing Euroleague (and one NBA) acquisitions

All right, now things are getting interesting. Euroleague rosters are falling into place with top names signing with clubs that leave BallinEurope stretching the imagination – thinking about Papanikolaou outfitted in the Blaugrana here – and most of the prime pickups in the NBA have chosen their destinations for 2013-14. (Except … except … what about Nikola Pekovic and that $50 million deal? What is happening in Eurowolves land?)

Regardless of poor Peks’ situation, player movement kept things interesting for European basketball devotees even if no actual club games are being played. BiE took special notice of the following moves last week.

• Kostas Papanikolaou to Barcelona and
• Mirza Begic to Olympiacos. So the Reds want to threepeat, huh? Well, they’ll have to do so with quite a different look; the losses of Papanikolaou and Kyle Hines while adding Mirza Begic and Bryant Dunston means swapping two guys who played above their height for, well, actual height – not to mention opening up a barrage of questions. Could we really see a downshift in tempo in Piraeus? Does management expect to improve in rebounding, in which Olympiacos was third-best in the 2012-13 Euroleague? How much more court time will Stratos Perperoglou see? And how important can former Harlem Globetrotter Brent Petway be?

Intriguing stuff indeed, but what about that shiny new Blaugrana acquisition? The not-quite 23-year-old (his birthday’s next week) joins a roster that includes La Bomba, Marcelinho Huertas, Ante Tomic and up-and-comers Alex Abrines, Mario Hezonja and Marko Todorovic – in short, a lot of weaponry in the arsenal. More is needed in the backcourt with no more Pete Mickael and who-knows-what-Erazem-Lorbek-will-bring, but BiE’s picks Barca to be among the big league’s top-scoring sides in 2013-14.

Continue Reading…

Jul
1

Podcast: Talking Euroleague, NBA transactions, Lithuania basketball

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #44 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

This week’s podcast pays homage to the axiom that, when in doubt about what to talk about in European basketball, simply go to Lithuania. And who better to discuss Team Lithuania’s chances in Eurobasket 2013, Linas Kleiza’s release from the Toronto Raptors, Zalgiris Kaunas’ exit from the VTB United League and such topics than Lithuania Basket’s Simas Baranauskas? Few, we think. (Spoiler: Simas is “cautiously optimistic” about Lietuva in the Slovenia tourney.)

Hein and yours truly also bring the speculation and chatter about recent moves and events in European ball and abroad, touching on Kostas Papanikalaou staying with prospective threepeaters Olympiacos; Richard Hendrix staying in his niche on Eurocup champs Lokomotiv Kuban; the success of Milwaukee Bucks draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo in the FIBA U20 European Championship tournament; Andrei Kirilenko taking a pay cut to join the Brooklyn Nets (which is clearly about kickbacks and not pursuing an NBA title ); Bogdan Bogdanovic eschewing those same Nets for another turn with Fenerbahçe Ülker; and Bobby Brown attempting to crack the New York Knicks roster.

All this and our sports movie review of the week, the so-bad-it’s-marvelous Jean-Claude Van Damme flick Double Team co-starring none other than Dennis Rodman and Mickey “The Wrestler” Rourke. Ever wonder why The Worm has had to resort to bizarre forays into North Korea for HBO in order to stay in the entertainment biz? Rodman brazenly putting his acting “chops” in this flick will explain all. And remember: Offense gets all the glory, but defense wins championships…

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/ into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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Continue Reading…

Jun
10

Eurobasket 2013: Which NBA players are in, which are out?

Because it’s never too early to start looking ahead to Eurobasket 2013 – wait a minute, there’s only 11 weeks left until tipoff? Definitely not too early, then, to take a look at the formative rosters for the big Continental tournament.

While only a few national teams (Croatia and Lithuania among them) have released preliminary rosters at this point and a few major leagues still playing (Spain, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc.), we can at least deduce which NBA players will or won’t be playing. After all, the rosters of 93.3% of NBA teams have finished their 2012-13 season – and the Miami Heat have no Europeans!

Below is a rundown of each team and the status of their potential NBA players. A few high-profile draft choices and rights-owned guys expected to jump over soon are also peppered in, along with links to appropriate sources. If you find/hear of anything relevant to the list, please comment below.
And we’ll do this group by group…

Group A
Belgium –
no current NBA players

France – Kevin Seraphin (Washington Wizards) is out for ’13 but hints he’ll be back in the future.

Ten days ago, based on a L’Equipe report, website Catch-and-Shoot described Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls)’ Eurobasket status as *très incertain*, and after another punishing NBA season seems unlikely.

No official word on Nicolas Batum (Portland), though the Trail Blazers reportedly be “watching Batum’s injury” this offseason. Perhaps some discouragement is forthcoming…?

France-based media outlet Figaro reported back in May that Ian Mahinmi (Indiana Pacers) and Ronny Turiaf (Los Angeles Clippers) would play; this may have been speculation based on prior results, but Turiaf’s presence on Les Blues for this tournament has been on coach Collet’s mind for a while.

Continue Reading…

May
8

Spanish media: Bogdanovic coming to Brooklyn; Splitter rebuffs wacky Real Madrid overture

It’s good news for international hoops fans into the NBA in a pair of stories via Spain-based Marca today.

Earlier this morning, the outlet reported that Mikhail Prokhorov and his Brooklyn Nets will buy out Bojan Bogdanovic’s contract with Fenerbahce Ulker for some $570,000. Bogdanovic was originally drafted by the Miami Heat at no. 31 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, and his rights subsequently bounced to Brooklyn through the Minnesota Timberwolves in a series of trades.

For Fenerbahce this season, Bogdanovic was good for 15.9 points in 28.25 minutes per game in Euroleague cumulatively – and 20.5 in just over 32½ in the Top 16 round. Back in Turkey, Bogdanovic averaged 13.0 in 25.3 minutes.

Any buyout of Bogdanovic’s contract would become official on July 1.

Continue Reading…

Feb
Jan
0

Report: Brooklyn Nets to take on Cibona Zagreb in Croatia in October

Drazen PetrovicSome exciting news for folks in Zagreb from the English-language section of the news portal Croatia Week: Basketball fans in the big city may be treated to a unique Brooklyn Nets-Cibona Zagreb exhibition match in October in observation of the 20th anniversary of the death of all-time great Drazen Petrovic.

And according to the ‘Week, little stands in the way of such an eventuality: “The Brooklyn Nets, who were called the New Jersey Nets when Petrovic was a star there in the early 1990′s, will play a match against Petrovic’s former club Cibona in Zagreb if there is enough interest…

Gee, do you think the first-ever appearance by an NBA team in the basketball-mad land could generate enough interest? Start looking into hotel deals now, sports tourists!

Continue Reading…

Dec
2

NBA on Christmas Day: BallinEurope’s Official Fearless Predictions™

Here on The Continent, all but the hardiest envy those in the Western Hemisphere today; as the holiday fades into evening here, the NBA’s awesome quintupleheader is just beginning: To watch this live, the European would have to pull an all-nighter, with wall-to-
wall basketball straight through to 7am or so. BallinEurope plans to watch the first two and get up before the rooster for the 4.30am CET tipoff of Clippers-Nuggets.

In any case, apologies for the delay, but below run BallinEurope Official Fearless Predictions™ for the Christmas slate. The first game’s already begun (full disclosure: as of this writing, it’s Brooklyn Nets 16, Boston Celtics 12), but BiE’s got the Cs winning in Spike Lee’s neighborhood – wish it could be proven, but BiE did post his vote this way in the ESPN Sports Nation poll today.

On the rest of the slate, the other OFPs include the Los Angeles Lakers over the Knicks in a nailbiter in which Steve Nash goes for nine assists (of course); the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Miami Heat by 8; the Chicago Bulls defend home court against the Houston Rockets, winning by 10 despite game high-scorer James Harden’s efforts; and in that battle of the league’s most exciting teams, the red hot Los Angeles Clippers extend the winning streak (which will end against the Celtics in their upcoming match) over the Denver Nuggets by, BiE’ll say, 11.

Enjoy the wall of ’ball; BallinEurope sure will…

Continue Reading…

Nov
15

Minnesota Timberwolves bullets: How good are these guys?

Nice choice, BallinEurope readers. The Minnesota Timberwolves, selected as BiE’s NBA home team for the 2012-13 season, are early darlings in the big league, managing to get off to a respectable 4-2 start (“Their best start in 11 years!” went the hype after the Wolves’ win over the Indiana Pacers) while Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and at present J.J. Barea are down to injury.

BallinEurope checks in this morning with those fantastic Eurowolves, bullet-style with video and an Official Fearless Prediction™ or two below.

Continue Reading…

Nov
9

US Presidential Election 2012: America’s basketball diplomat hits hardwood for last-minute votes (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

Love him or hate him after nearly four years in office, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama is the first basketball president – a fact that could curry lots of favor with Generation X and Y voters in a celebrity-charged election.

Sure, Bill Clinton was lucky enough to enjoy his home-state University of Arkansas’ 1994 victory in the NCAA Tournament and play host to the Dream Team in ’92. Sure, guys like George W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon were often more erudite when discussing sports than, you know, politics (check out “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” for Hunter S. Thompson’s interview with Tricky Dick, an interview which Thompson was told could only be about NFL football). And the Kennedys surely won popularity points for their picturesque family touch-football games.

However, no US president has leveraged sports fandom on an international scale like Obama. (Check out BallinEurope contributing writer Enrico Cellini’s piece on his pet project, tracking Obama’s basketball diplomacy moves.) And the president’s preference for basketball represents the rise of the NBA and to some extent NCAA hopes during David Stern’s reign as the big league’s commissioner.

(Is it any coincidence that Obama came to professional prominence in that hometown of the 1990s’ Incredibulls? BiE thinks not.)

Continue Reading…