Despite a whole lot of genuinely interesting things happening in the world of basketball right now, it’s a tough time to manage a NBA social media account. Most free agents are signed, the summer league is long over, and there’s still a good chunk of time until pre-season. Throw all that together and NBA Twitter accounts start getting silly. On Wednesday the theme was #NBASweets and Euro ballers in the association didn’t get left out of the nonsense.
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…
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.
BiE likes to write up this particular roundup at year’s end for a couple of reasons: Firstly as a thank you to the readers who check out BallinEurope however frequently; like they say in sports, this website wouldn’t exist without the audience.
Secondly, a look back at which BallinEurope stories drew the most attention provides a nice microcosm of what was most of the minds of European basketball. Yes, national heroes playing in the NBA still reign supreme, but international tournaments happily still get ample due here on The Continent.
So without further ado, here are the stories that you, the readers, decided were the true headline-grabbers in 2012.
1. Splitter opines Adelman key to Rubio’s success; Ginobili says “impressive”
When Ricky Rubio finally eked his way into the Timberwolves’ starting lineup, the results were immediate and positive. Of course, those of us who’ve been following The Human YouTube Highlight Clip since his days as the youngest-ever player for Barcelona could sit back and say “I told you so” – like Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili did.
Note: This piece was first published in February 2012.
Hosting dignitaries and politicos from Italy this week, U.S. president/basketball devotee Barack Obama recently gave an interview to the visiting media as well, naturally taking time to praise Italia’s representatives in the NBA. As self-proclaimed scholar of basketball diplomacy – perhaps the only one on the planet – Enrico Cellini has noticed that Obama’s effusive acclaim for Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli is in fact quite similar to the prez’s gushy quotes on Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur back in 2009…
In a rare interview between an American president and an Italian newspaper, Barack Obama went through a wide variety of topics ranging from the state of the current Euro Crisis, through the turmoil in Syria to the importance of Italian-Americans in US society: “Italy can be proud that its sons and daughters continue to make invaluable contributions to the success of the United States and to our bilateral partnership”.
BallinEurope will be celebrating NBA Opening Day with lots of stuff centered on the big league; firstly, BiE takes stock of Continental ballers in the ‘States.
Taking a look at this year’s roundup, we note that 53 Europeans have been named to NBA clubs’ 15-man roster, just beating the pace of the 52 listed in 2010-11. (BiE didn’t take the tally for last season because, you know, things were kinda confusing during the lockout and all…)
And quite a few teams have seriously European-tinted rosters: Five teams go into the 2012-13 NBA season with four Continental players – and of these 20 players, perhaps only Sasha Pavlovic and Evan Fournier are marginalized at the lower end of the 15-man rosters. If one includes Ty Lawson as an honorary Lithuanian (for at least one more season), the Denver Nuggets could put an all-Euro squad on the floor with Lawson heading up an admittedly odd lineup of Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov.
Last night’s recap of the action in FIBA EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round, in brief: Serbia and Turkey took care of business, the miracle campaign of dark horse Azerbaijan ended sadly, and the 24 teams that will comprise The Continent’s big tournament are now known.
BallinEurope has a podcast with Germany-based heinnews on more general matters regarding the qualifying teams scheduled for later today, so a few thoughts will follow. For now, however, contact the virtual trophy makers, because BiE’s announcing its official All-Qualifiers Team. Without further ado, the first five are…
Did Danilo Gallinari really flop in the final minute of his Denver Nuggets’ recent loss to the Lakers while Ramon Sessions hit a key three? Or did Pau Gasol foul Gallinari on the pick? If the latter is true, why was there no call? After words to the American media to the effect of “It was a tough pick. You’ve got to expect that in the playoffs … I’ve got to be ready and play defense,” he words were a bit choicer in Italian. Enrico Cellini tells BallinEurope about The Rooster speaking out on the Lakers, the referees and especially Steve Kerr.
Said Gallinari, in the print version of Italy-based Gazzetta dello Sport: “[The referees] would certainly have called that type of pick on our big guys. It was a crystal clear foul but, as everybody knows, they call fewer fouls for you when you play against the Lakers.”
Gallinari went on to address TNT commentator Steve Kerr, who argued on-air that the play was a Euro-style flop, with “I guess Kerr hasn’t played basketball for too long.”
BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, today gives us a few choice quotes from Italy’s man on the New Orleans Hornets, Marco Bellinelli. In an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport weekly, Bellini decries the relative drawing power of his NBA compatriots Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani as opposed to himself; plus, there’s a further comment that a certain Chicago Bull might not dig too much…
In an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport weekly magazine Sportweek, New Orleans Hornets guard Marco Belinelli went through his supposed inferiority complex toward the other two Italian kids in the NBA, Bargnani and Gallinari.
In slightly contradictory fashion, Belinelli says, “I never felt I’m competing with them. Sometimes people talk more about someone else, it happens. Sure, I’m not pleased that Italian journalists and fans keep on considering Il Mago and Il Gallo more important [than me]. I can’t do anything about it but I feel a little bad.
“So why do the other two guys have more appeal? Just because they score more points or because they sell themselves better?” [It’s gotta be the market, Marco. Or the lack of flashy nickname... – Ed.]
Belinelli argued that status as high NBA draft picks paved Bargnani and Gallinari’s ways to smooth entrances and then reckons, “In the past, I’ve been penalized for being considered just a shooter, but I’ve showed I can do much more. I’m not a Kyle Korver type of guy, someone who shoots and that’s it: I can pass, do pick-and-rolls, drive the lane.”
As the Gazzetta dello Sport journalist desperately tried to portray him as a superhero with icebreaking questions on the order of “How could you turn from zero to hero?” and “Do you feel like a monster?”, Belinelli finally surrendered: “Well if it means that I never surrender and that I will fight to become the best player possible, then yes, I am a monster.”
Ah, now we have the defensive equivalent of Nick Young’s “alley oop to God” and this one, too, happened amid last night’s NBA action. Via the excellent Sportando, BallinEurope brings you a clip of Team Italy/Denver Nuggets’ stud Danilo Gallinari apparently getting caught quite by surprise against the Cleveland Cavaliers and ending up on the wrong end of a 2-on-1 fast break. And so The Rooster had to improvise a bit in his transition defense. Hijinks, as they say, ensued.