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Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ 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 +++
Oct
3

European present, NBA future? Five more rights-owned draftees to watch in 2012-13

NBA Europe Live Tour and Euroleague American Tour games tip off tomorrow, giving a few fan bases a glimpse at some possible future prospects already drafted and with rights owned by a big league club.

Following up on yesterday’s brief look at five rights-owned European players developing their games on The Continent, today is offered another quintet for your consideration. Fans of Chicago, Charlotte, and San Antonio will particularly want to pay attention – and tune into some Euroball in 2012-13…

• PF Nikola Mirotic, Real Madrid (2011 NBA draftee; rights owned by the Chicago Bulls).
Few players are more greatly anticipated – and few could be more immediately useful to such an injury-prone frontcourt – in Chicago than Nikola Mirotic.

Mirotic rolled on last season after bagging the Euroleague Rising Star award for 2010-11, nearly doubling his EL scoring average from 6.6 to 12.5 ppg; not to mention a like increase in touches. Unfortunately for Bulls backers, Mirotic is contracted to Real through 2016 –although he’ll only be 25 years old by then and BiE wouldn’t be surprised to see Chicago at least attempt a hefty buyout within the next four seasons.

(To induce further covetousness in the Windy City, check out the 26-point, 10-rebound, 46-PIR damage Mirotic did in Real’s game two Liga Endesa victory over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid last night…)

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Oct
0

Is Heat-spurned Malcolm Thomas the answer for Maccabi?

(Malcolm Thomas image courtesy NBA.com)Could David Blatt be panicking? Armed with a retooled roster after last season’s Euroleague disappointment, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2012-13 edition hasn’t overwhelmed in preseason play with little team cohesiveness or incorporation of the Team Russia coach’s patented defensive game plans in evidence. The Israel side washed out in a the four Euroleague-team Domreiter Cup in September before redeeming themselves slightly in Paris, winning the pre-season tourney there last weekend (albeit against lesser competition).

Before topping Galatasaray for the tournament title, Blatt sounded off a bit after his players got by with a win over home team Paris Levallois. “We had two offensive rebounds in 40 minutes,” said Blatt. “You know, I’m 50 and I would have gotten more than two offensive rebounds if I had been on the court.”

But Blatt offered a solution on Saturday which appears to be a matter of fact now, in light of Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s recent release from the club: “Malcolm [Thomas] is exactly the kind of player you need to play a team like Paris Levallois. He is very athletic, fast and plays above the rim. It brings a lot of energy, but also creates a lot of easy baskets … Thomas is very good at offensive rebounding and he will bring what’s missing [on the team].”

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Jul
2

The BallinEurope Summer League Review: On 14 NBA aspirants from the Continent

While so much attention is paid to the upcoming Olympics and warm-up games, a number of European players have quietly gone about their business in the NBA Summer Leagues in Vegas and Orlando. BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, takes a look at an extended roster’s worth of European ballers’ performances in the Orlando and Las Vegas summer games.

Alexis Ajinca, San Antonia Spurs (2.8 ppg, 50% FG, 2.8 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg in four Las Vegas games)
Ajinca is in a similar position to Ryan Richards: Both played summer league for the Spurs and turned in eerily similar numbers. However, Alexis did manage to hit at least 50% of his shots while also being a slight factor on defence (0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks) in his very low 10 minutes per game. Ajinca’s hopes for an NBA spot, like Richards’, look like a long shot and I expect him to return to France for the coming season. Although a tall and talented big man always seem to earn a roster spot, Alexis just has not developed the way teams hoped he would when he was selected 20th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft.

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Jul
34

Who can stop Team USA?

This one goes out by request to BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y. … with Team USA coming together to play the Dominican Republic today – with or without Chris Paul – BiE tries to answer the question “Who [if anyone] can beat Team USA?”

Good one.

A few gauntlets have been thrown by the Americans already, the least of which is certainly not the roster itself. That roster, one more time, is the following.

Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
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Jul
4

Joakim Noah: “I’m absolutely not ready,” won’t play for Team France in Olympics

Team France’s aspirations for Olympic success in 2012 have taken quite a hit today, as Joakim Noah announced that he will not after all compete in the London Games with Les Bleus.

Noah made the announcement today, as reported in L’Equipe, explaining that “I’m absolutely not ready, not ready to run, not ready to jump. And even less to play. I need more time and work. I’m not in form for someone who wants to compete in the Olympics. And given the problems that I have with my ankles, not going to the Games seemed to be the most reasonable decision.”

The Chicago Bull had suffered an ankle injury in his NBA team’s playoff series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Worse yet, France is still on hold with regard to Tony Parker’s eye problem, the result of a bizarre incident in New York (one that he’s suing for $20 million over, incidentally). Head coach Vincent Collet must submit a final roster for his team tomorrow.

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Jun
1

Dalibor Bagaric on time with Chicago Bulls: “I was unlucky”

Old pro Sam Smith of Bulls.com has written an exceptional column on present (though perhaps for but a wee bit longer, if speculation is to believed) and former Chicago Bulls Luol Deng and Dalibor Bagaric.

A good portion of this epic-by-today’s-standard is devoted to possible trade destinations for the Team Britain big man — even though Smith believes Deng’s recent musings on getting dealt. Most intriguing is a proposition swapping Deng to the Houston Rockets for Kyle Lowry, thereby freeing up Goran Dragic to start there and creating one wicked backcourt in Chicago.

Smith then switches gears and drops a bit of trivia. To wit: Which players have played 10 seasons in European professional basketball and at least three in the NBA? Smith’s got:

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Jun
2

“What has happened here?” The best Euro-centric buzzer-beaters of 2011-12

In clearing out the virtual desk of 2011-12 basketball season stuff, BallinEurope today presents this compilation of the year’s top Euro-centric buzzer-beaters. The requirements to make the list were two: the primary player in the buzzer-beater most be of European nationality or the shot must take place in a game featuring European teams; and the buzzer-beater must take place at the end of a quarter, i.e. no shot-clock buzzer-beaters considered.

Greater weight was given in consideration to the relative importance of the win earned with the highlight shot. Keeping one’s team alive is more important than YouTube glory, after all.

And on with the list. Firstly, honorable mentions go to:

Travis Diener for Banco di Sardegna Sassari against Fabi Shoes Montegranaro on April 15. Sassari would go on to win in overtime, 79-77, and continue in a successful season which had them ultimately placing fourth in the Serie A. Unfortunately for the purposes of this post, not quite a buzzer-beater.

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Jun
0

Who’s the greatest, Lebron or Kobe? Don’t argue, it’s useless…

Courtesy the Facebook page entitled Il basket è Vita comes this excellent perspective-inducer regarding the basketball careers of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and one other guy. Here are the first two panels; see below the break for the punchline and rough translation of the dialogue into English – though these images really speak for themselves. (Funny, BallinEurope knew Kobe was fluent in Italiano, but Lebron…?)

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Jun
3

Besiktas 80, Anadolu Efes 76: The BallinEurope review of a triple-crown season

Besiktas introduces Deron Williams: It seems like so long ago...

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, who capped a fascinating whirlwind run last night with an 80-76 victory over Anadolu Efes in game six of the TBL championship series. The Black Eagles may add the trophy to their Turkish Cup and FIBA Eurochallenge title in 2011-12, certainly the most successful – and among the most bizarre – seasons the club has ever experienced.

Beşiktaş’ season, like any power in club hoops, began in the summer. All they did to top last year’s high-profile signing of the ultimately marginal Allen Iverson was ink Deron Williams, a franchise guard at his peak, to the biggest contract in European basketball with an NBA out-clause when the player lockout was to be settled.

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Jun
3

Joakim Noah: “Not quite ready” for Olympics, but “time is on our side”

In his first media appearance since the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers, Joakim Noah assessed his chances of suiting up for Team France in the 2012 Olympics.

“Still a little sore” from his most recent ankle injury, Noah stated from Los Angeles that “I’m not quite ready. I will discuss all this with [national team coach Vincent] Collet. For now, it’s necessary that I focus on rehabilitation.

Putting something of a more positive spin on things, Noah went on that state that “I prefer to stay positive and tell myself that time is on our side. We’ll see how it turns out. We’ll know more in two or three weeks […] when I can join the French team. The Olympics is also a goal in my season, but I want to return to France in shape. I want to be there, but at 100%.”

The NBA club has not given word on whether Noah will be discouraged or prohibited from playing in the Olympics.

For Les Bleus in FIBA Eurobasket 2011, Noah contributed a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game over the tournament to go with 9.0 ppg and 0.9 spg.

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