Jul
2

Twenty Years Ago Today: A European Dream Team for 1992

When basketball fans look back on the 1992 Olympic Games, the top three topics are the awesomeness of the Dream Team, the success of Lithuania playing its first Olympic hoops as an independent nation, and the success of Croatia playing its first Olympic hoops as an independent nation.

Fair enough, BiE supposes, but what about those other NBA-level and/or Euroleague-dominating players in the Barcelona tournament? And what about the historical story surrounding Europe’s other three teams in those ‘Games? Herewith, a European Dream Team of sorts for the ‘92 Olympics plus a tiny bit of backstory and lotsa highlight clips.

As host nation, Team Spain received an automatic bid to the Barcelona Games. Though no slouches in Olympic play – Los Rojos had earned a spot in five of the six previous tournaments, including a silver-medal finish in the Soviet boycott Games of 1984 – history shows that more important in the bigger picture was that 12-year-olds such as Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau Gasol were watching and gaining inspiration.

Spain finished in ninth place after going 1-4 in group play (including a 122-81 drubbing at the hands of the Dreams) and were led in ’92 by long-time national team stars Jordi Villacampa

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May
66

On Olympiacos Euroleague championship: From crises emerge heroes

Printezis: Hero of the day

European basketball fans know that history was made with Olympiacos’ stunning victory in the 2012 Euroleague championship. And so BallinEurope contributor, the self-proclaimed hoops history junkie Uygar Karaca looks back with perspective on the title bid, reaching all the back to the Great Depression of 1929 through the collapse of the Soviet Union and into today’s European Union crises. Whether or not God Himself played a role, the importance of the Reds’ win, as Karaca sees it, is history repeating itself. Gloriously.

This is how things have worked throughout history: From crises emerge heroes. And heroes create the losers. Sometimes underdogs have more advantages simply because they have nothing to lose. It’s not unusual that we see situations like a 10-man football team winning against a stronger side. Sometimes having options confuses minds, creates problems in concentration and ambiguity in methodology. Those who have no real options perhaps have just one way and they become focused on the goal, which brings about greater optimization and efficiency.

I was thinking like this before the match: “If CSKA wins, there will be not many stories but in case of Olympiacos winning, there will be a variety of options in exposing the classical underdog story with many different perspectives. I hope Olympiacos wins.”

The day before the Euroleague final, I was at Abdi İpekci Hall to see some action in the Nike International Junior Tournament. There I saw Stevislav Pesic, also one of the greatest coaches in European basketball, the man who famously brought a European title to both Germany and Alba Berlin, who were real underdogs. I thought that it would be a great idea to take some predictions from him. Said Pesic: “I was not suprised when Olympiakos won against Barcelona, because Barcelona changed its game this year and were somewhat inconsistent throughout the season, whereas Olympiakos improved much compared to the beginning of the season.”

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Mar
0

Andrew Bynum’s three-point shooting streak ends

Just because everyone’s all a-Twitter about it, here’s Andrew Bynum with – all hyperbole and kidding aside – one of the silliest threes ever taken in the NBA. Bynum is now 1-of-7 on threes in his career, with the sole make a meaningless one coming last Sunday to cap a loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Interesting time to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan…

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Feb
32

First half report cards for European players in NBA

At the halfway point of the crazy fast 2011-12 NBA season, BallinEurope flexes the university professor muscles a little bit this morning with midterm assessments of individual performance by the big league’s Continental Players. We’ll be using the European grading system, with 5 being the top score possible and 1 the lowest; the Americans may consider the numbers roughly equivalent to the A-F system of U.S. high schools.

Listed along with the player’s name and team are a few metrics employed in handing out the marks, chief among these current Player Efficiency Ratings as devised by ESPN’s John Hollinger.

Now, class. Ready for the second half…?

5. Head of the class
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors (22.1 PER, 23.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg)

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (19.23 PER, 15.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 1.0 spg, 38.1 mpg)

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs (22.32 PER, 19.4 ppg, 8.1 apg, 1.1 spg)

Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves (22.38 PER, 12.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 0.7 spg, 24.4 mpg; in February, 17.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 0.8 spg, 32.2 mpg)

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Feb
1

Ratiopharm Ulm: “We wanted Jeremy Lin two years ago”

How do you say “Linsanity” auf Deutsch?

BallinEurope supposes that the vocabulary term isn’t quite so necessary in Germany but, according to officials at one Bundesliga club, the phenomenon just might have been visible in Europe last season.

Back in 2010, few observers of the NBA Summer League had an eye on the NBA’s current imagination-catcher (and whoa, did the hype ‘round Ricky Rubio die down quickly, eh?) Jeremy Lin. The lion’s share of attention during that exhibition season was no. 1 draft pick John Wall – this despite Lin’s very nice 13-point, four-rebound, two-steal performance against Wall’s Washington Wizards side.

(As the top-liked comment on the below YouTube notes, “John Wall is a total hipster. He was getting owned by Jeremy Lin before it was cool…” Zing!)

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Jan
Dec
9

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.

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Nov
5

Watching the Las Vegas Superstar Challenge online

In the wake of the NBA lockout, those players from the big league not hawking their wares in Europe or elsewhere overseas are looking to schedule alternative games. Though a big-name international tour appears to be stalling at present, this weekend will see quite an exhibition in the four-team “Las Vegas Superstar Challenge” headed up by former Beşiktaş signee Allen Iverson.

While the game apparently won’t be broadcast on television, an outfit called iLinkSports.com is offering folks worldwide a chance to see the games involving names like Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Amare Stoudemire and Andre Iguodala online. See below for the press release detailing the deal; in short, $4.99 (just over €3.50 by today’s exchange rate) before Friday will get you a pass to see the Vegas games.

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Aug
6

Eurojam 2011 tournament confirms Dan Gadzuric, Francisco Elson; no news on Bar Refaeli

Gadzuric to (Euro)jam for HollandSome news from organizers of the upcoming interesting Holland-based EuroJam 2011 tournament, which pits NCAA men’s and women’s sides against European national teams.

Confirmed for the tournament are NBA Dutchmen Francisco Elson of the Utah Jazz and Dan Gadzuric of the New Jersey Nets – BallinEurope can’t help but speculate as to whether the latter will be using his off-time during the tournament to field offers from European clubs, what with the mass exodus of Nets to the Continent. (NetsDaily hints that Gadzuric’s appearance in the tournament may depend on insurance issues.)

The Sacramento Kings’ Omri Casspi is slated to play for Team Israel in the tourney as well; more on this below.

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Jul
5

NBA players to Europe: Weems will, Kirilenko could, Radmanovic might

Scalabrine to introduce Eurubuntu?

That rhythmic pounding you hear over the basketball world? It’s the sound of the clock ticking as many an NBA player gets antsy awaiting a seemingly unreachable resolution to the player lockout in the big league. We’re only three days into the NBA’s first work stoppage since 1998 but with European ball a much more attractive alternative to that of the ‘States than it was 13 years ago, many are looking to The Continent and a few are getting ready to join Atlantic jumpers like Nenad Krstic and David Andersen.

Last night, wires began reporting that Sonny Weems of the Toronto Raptors has already reached an agreement in Europe. Though reports “did not specify which team Weems would play for,” sources indicated that “Weems is in the process of signing a one-year contract and will remain in Europe for 2011-12, even if owners and players were to find a way to solve their differences and salvage the NBA season.”

Weems is currently in Spain with fellow Raptor Jose Calderón at a youth basketball camp, immediately leading BiE to speculate that Weems will be playing for some ACB side in ‘11 – perhaps Caja Laboral Baskonia, with whom Calderón played for five seasons…? The presence of DeMar DeRozan at said camp also makes one wonder about this possibility.

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