All right! The folks over at Japan-based Dunk Shot have produced another odd manga-like take on an NBA team. While not long ago, BallinEurope showed the hoops-centric newspaper’s take on Kevin Love and the Eurowolves, this time it’s Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and James Harden getting animated. Translation is forthcoming, but it seems as though the Rockets are preoccupied in similar fashion to the Timberwolves, i.e. it’s all about pursuing the ladies, and Harden (like Nikola Pekovic before him) appears to be having troubles. It’s gotta be the beard, eh?
Tim “Der Nächste Nowitzki” Ohlbrecht moves up to Houston Rockets, to become eighth-ever German NBA player
Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Tim Ohlbrecht, who has made the jump to the NBA in signing with the increasingly interesting (and increasingly European-spiced) Houston Rockets – and whoa, are some Germany-based news outlets excited.
In reporting on the contract, which has the former Frankfurt Skyliners/Telekom Baskets Bonn/Rio Grande Valley Vipers big man locked in with Houston through this season plus a club option through 2014-15, Bild labels Ohlbrecht “der nächste Nowitzki” while getting positively giddy about the possibility of the 24-year-old matching up against Dirk (and sidekick Chris Kaman) when the Rockets face the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Der Spiegel meanwhile quotes recently-hired Team Germany head coach Frank Menz as stating that he was “impressed by Tim’s development in the U.S., particularly [in athleticism],” noting that “It shows great will and ambition to [get to the NBA] the hard way, through the D-League.”
Less than a week ago, Ohlbrecht’s agent Tyler Glass informed Sportando that his client had turned down a 10-day contract offer from the Boston Celtics; in hindsight, this appears quite the shrewd move by Glass, who perhaps knew of the much more attractive offer from the playoff-contending Rockets.
After four seasons with Giants Leverkusen and Brose Baskets Bamberg, Ohlbrecht declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft back in 2010, but his name went uncalled. He returned to the German Bundesliga thereafter to play with Bonn and Frankfurt in turn before reentering the Rockets system this season with the D-League Vipers; his stat line there includes marks of 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. And since 2008, Ohlbrecht has played summers with Team Germany.
Podcast: Lots of talk on Lithuanian basketball; musing about Euroleague, Lakers, Timberwolves; loving Jennifer Lawrence
Episode #20 of the heinnews/BallinEurope co-produced Taking the Charge podcast is now available online. This week, that hardworking David Hein and yours truly natter on a bit about recent Euroleague developments (poor, poor Maccabi Tel Aviv!), the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers before finally finding some focus in Lithuania.
As BiE continuously says, something’s always happening in Lithuanian basketball and recent times are no exception. Freelance hoops writer/BallinEurope agent in Lietuva, Karolis Jankus gives us a little inside dope on topics including:
• Zalgiris Kaunas and the strange culture of losing theorized about on BallinEurope earlier in the week;
• Team Lithuania head coach Jonas Kazlauskas and the strange events which led to his current gig in the CBA with Boss Wang’s Guangdong Southern Tigers;
• Lithuania Basketball Federation secretary-general Mindaugas Balčiūnas, currently under house arrest while prosecutors “are carrying out a pre-trial investigation into alleged jobbery, fraud, document forgery and [...] illegal use of municipal funds for the reconstruction of the Hotel Romantic” in connection with Eurobasket 2011;
• the perhaps unfairly languishing Donatas Motiejunas, who at least must be praised for attitude and work ethic while running up the DNPs; and
• Lietuvos Rytas’ recent victory in its Nike Invitational Junior Tournament bracket, tourney MVP Edvinas Seskus and other Lithuanian prospects.
And our sports movie review of the week is all about the Academy Award-nominated film Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper, Chris Tucker, Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Lawrence (swoon). Tangentially related to sport at best (Philadelphia Eagles worship colors the reels), hey, it still has Jennifer Lawrence.
The entire podcast may be heard here. Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!
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…
Quite a poor turn of events in one of BallinEurope’s Eurocentric NBA storylines to follow in 2012-13 this morning as the Houston Rockets announced the demotion of Lithuania’s Donatas Motiejunas to the NBDL’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Surely nothing can temper the giddy enthusiasm Houston Rockets fans are feeling today, thanks to a ridiculous performance on Opening Day by their team’s new acquisition, ol’ What’s His Name, so BallinEurope will sneak in this bit of bad news.
Back in August, Real Madrid was reportedly wooing Sergio Llull with a nearly unheard-of six- to seven-year extension, which have kept the Spanish guard on Los Blancos’ roster through at least 2019-20. Resolution was finally announced today and, while Llull’s new deal doesn’t run quite as long as projected, let’s just say that we won’t be seeing him in Texas (or any NBA city) any time soon (if ever).
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.
The team-by-team breakdown goes as follows.
Right, with the weekend over and many an hour spent viewing the roundball, BallinEurope rounds up some news items – and video clips! – from the week that was.
• Could this be Real Madrid’s year? Los Blancos are exactly one Rudy Fernandez miss from a perfect 8-0 overall mark early in 2012-13 after topping Caja Laboral Baskonia, 83-81, in overtime this weekend in the Liga Endesa.
Baskonia got a combined 47 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Maciej Lampe while turning over the ball just once – thus not allowing Real to demonstrate their nice quick transition to the fast break – yet ultimately couldn’t answer what’s looking like the best team out of Spain this season.
As one who believes wholeheartedly in the forthcoming Turkish invasion of the NBA, BallinEurope sends props to Trend Basket today; via Tweet by a Turkey-based fan, the preseason statistics for the country’s four current NBAers are listed.
Here’s how they looked (based on 36 minutes of playing time):
● Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz: 21.2 points, 17.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks per in five games
A handful of rights-owned players will be suiting up to play on both sides of the Atlantic over the next eight days, but today BallinEurope takes a slightly wider view beyond these exciting-but-mostly-irrelevant dozen games. Below a look at five players – a bit of a future dream team, perhaps, though desperately seeking a monstrous big man – taken in recent NBA drafts and currently developing in Europe’s higher levels. And yes, there will be highlights.
Your five for the European present and NBA future, then…