Dec
1

The body eventually breaks

A couple of weeks back this video had the internet salivating at what Juan Carlos Navarro could do, it had the opposite effect on Emmet Ryan. What Navarro did was depressing to BiE’s editor.

Look at it, 21 straight three balls. Even in warm-ups that’s impressive. Now look at Navarro’s stat line from the game he played straight after. 17 minutes, 1 of 4 from the field, 1 of 2 from 3, 5 points, 1 steal, and a PIR of 8. If that was a bench player we wouldn’t be breaking that down too much but he’s not there to high five, he’s the highest scorer in Euroleague history.

The issue with Barcelona’s star is unquestionably physical. When your signature shot is a floater, having chronic foot injuries is a massive problem. The overall line for JCN isn’t terrible. In 7 games he’s made 55 per cent of all shots but only 10 of 34 from deep. In theory three-pointers should be the least of his worries. Navarro doesn’t need to drive for the three. He can step back and fire. The problem of course is that every baller in Europe knows Navarro has issues driving. They’re covering the three more, they are bringing that extra pressure because they know that Navarro is less likely to charge past over-exerting defenders.

There’s no combination of adrenaline and psychosis that can overcome Father Time. If it were that easy MJ would still be playing. Mentally Navarro is still in the game, physically he has run out of room to adjust as a complete player. Xavi Pascual has recognised that in recent weeks, placing less of a defensive burden on him and allowing him to commit purely to his role as a scorer. Some big outings in the middle of the Euroleague regular season and in ACB have pointed to this being better for Navarro and Barcelona. Where they go from here is another matter entirely.

Long-term, what do you do with a player like Navarro? Could he handle the idea of being switched to a sixth man next year? Could anyone in Barcelona even dare to ask that of him. Navarro’s ego isn’t Kobe-sized but like the Mamba, he expects to have the ball in his hands when it matters. That last shot is his property, by right or not.

As an every game starter, JCN is done. He’s relatively young but a foot injury for a player built around being nimble is a killer. Older players have stayed relevant by adjusting their roles and strategically that’s comfortably the best route to go with him. Ask him to be the Ray Allen of this team, the Jason Terry, or even what Saras was last season with Barca. Navarro’s a proud baller but he’s also a smart one. Barcelona won’t remove him from the starting spot until he says it’s time but what if he took the initiative. Next May, when all is said and done, take Xavi for a cortado and talk about a plan to win.

As long as Barcelona’s pockets remain deep, they will be perennially in the playoffs in Euroleague and the top two in Spain. The difference between being one of the best and the team that raises the silverware is slim. Navarro’s a winner. He doesn’t want to lead a team that comes narrowly short of getting over the line. He wants to break the tape every year until he hangs up his kicks for good. If Navarro wants to win, he’s going to have that chat with the boss.

Nov
1

Euroleague Heats Up As Barcelona & Nanterre Record Dominant Victories

The Turkish Airline Euroleague continued as Group A and D matches were underway. The highlight came from Group A as FC Barcelona as it defeated CSKA Moscow 79 – 70 in a hard-fought game. Barcelona’s Juan Carlos Navarro was the key difference as he scored 17 of his 20 points after halftime, making 3 of 4 two-pointers, 3 of 5 threes and 5 of 5 free throws while dishing 3 assists, to secure the win.

CSKA did try to stage a comeback, reducing the gap to 8 points during the fourth quarter, but Barcelona never lost control, and made sure that there was significant distance between the two teams at the final buzzer.

In the second Group A game, JSF Nanterre dominated Budivelnik Kiev for its entire game as it recorded a comfortable 80 – 61 victory in Paris, marking the team’s first home victory in the Euroleague.

After an impressive win over FC Barcelona last week, Nanterre took control with a 17 – 3 first quarter run, controlling the game from start to finish. Thanks to some fantastic three-point shooting in the first half, the team was ahead 51 – 23 and the visitors had no response. Will Daniels scored 14 to lead a balanced Nanterre effort that saw all but one player score.

The final Group A game saw Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul continued its unbeaten run after rallying from a double-digit deficit, beating Partizan NIS Belgrade 78 – 88 and securing top spot with a 4 – 0 lead.

Partizan built a double-digit lead in the second quarter, and held a 38 – 30 halftime lead, but Fenerbahce rallied as Bojan Bogdanovic and Emir Preldzic spearheaded the offense. The duo hit back-to-back triples early in the fourth quarter, sparking a 4 – 14 spurt that put the game out of reach.

It was Bogdanovic who came out as top scorer, capping off an impressive display with 26 points on 6-on-9 three-point shooting.

In Group D, a number of exciting games took place, the most notable being Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv registering its third consecutive win by edging Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 74 – 76, Devin Smith pacing the winners with 18 points.

In the other games, Eurocup champion Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar needed Krunoslav Simon to bury the game-winner in the final second to beat Panathinaikos 69 – 72 in an exciting game, while Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade picked up its first Euroleague victory by taking down Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 63 – 73 in a tough away game.

- Quinton O’Reilly (@qoreilly)

Sep
0

Spanoulis, Diamantidis, Navarro, more talk about NBA 2K14

Euroleague got some of the biggest names in the game together in Madrid to try out NBA 2K14 which, in case you’ve been away from every form of media, will feature 14 Euroleague teams this season.

Os has already got his copy pre-ordered, once herself gives me permission I’ll be getting my own copy, and suffice to say the presence of Euroleague teams in NBA 2K14 has a lot of fans in Europe excited. Heck, if journalists like us are openly giddy imagine what everyone else is like.

Here’s what the players at the event in Madrid had to say. First up, it’s the champ.
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May
1

Euroleague Final Four semifinals: Top five plays

Right, then, here’s the big league’s official “best of” clip from last night’s semifinal games, starring Rudy Fernandez, Marcelinho Huertas, Juan Carlos Navarro, Giorgi Shermadini and Nenad Krstic with his only two points in CSKA Moscow’s debacle…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

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Apr
1

FC Barcelona-Panathinaikos: The YouTube history (starring Gallis, Dominique, Obradovic, Saras, Pekovic, Diamantidis, Tomic)

Panathinaikos logoThose in the know about European basketball (or sport, really) need no introduction to either of these storied franchises who add another chapter to the annals tonight: Panathinaikos Athens goes to Barcelona to take on the Blaugrana in a decisive game five Euroleague quarterfinal match – after one heck of a series thus far.

Hyperbolization of these teams’ history – not to mention the nail-biting, cliffhanging suspense of this very playoff series – would be difficult and doing so would be bland. So BallinEurope will simply say that the series between these two clubs has Panathinaikos with a 15-12 overall advantage historically, and let’s get to the YouTubes. Enjoy quite a fascinating collection of a virtual Who’s Who of highlights; once again, YouTube rules.

FCB logo(Incidentally, if this collection seems slightly PAO-biased, apologies. Perhaps the Greek side’s fans are ahead in the video-sharing sphere as well…)

Panathinaikos and Barcelona met under the proper Euroleague banner at the very tail end of the 1993-94 season. In the third-place game, Nikos Gallis capped another EL scoring- and assist-leading season (23.8 and 4.7 per game, respectively) by leading PAO to a 100-83 win in the first game between the clubs in 12 years — back to the Champions Cup days.

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Dec
0

Watch all 33 points of Juan Carlos Navarro’s explosion against Real Madrid

It seems La Bomba may be immortal after all … At the age of 32 and in his 13th season on the professional level, Juan Carlos Navarro isn’t quite playing the minutes he used to; in Saturday’s display against the previously ACB-undefeated Real Madrid, the king showed he hasn’t abdicated anything yet.

With just enough time to enter the discussion of “Best Individual Game of the Year” in Europe, Navarro was good for 33 points on incredible 12-of-13 overall shooting including a perfect 5-of-5 on threes – together with six rebounds and three assists good for a crazy 44 performance index rating – in the stirring 96-89 Barcelona win. With the loss went Madrid’s 14-game Liga Endesa winning streak.

From the ‘Tube, then, here’s all 33 of Navarro’s points followed by lots more video from the match below the break.

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Nov
136

Poll: Which player in Europe should be in the BallinEurope logo?

Congratulations, thanks and an apology all go out from BallinEurope this morning.

In order, that’s a congrat to Arvydas Sabonis, who will receive the honor of immortalization (sorta) as one half of the to-be-redesigned BallinEurope logo. Sabas was mighty impressive in amassing more votes from readers in the public opinion poll here than Dirk Nowitzki, Ricky Rubio and poor Tony Parker combined;

a shout out to all those who voted in the BiE poll; you’re gonna love part two for sure; and

apologies for the relative lack of contributions last and, foreseeably, this week. To put it in brief, BiE headquarters is relocating (read: “Os is moving”), but in December things will be again running smoothly here.

Right, then. Let’s get down to business. Based on suggestions from BiE readers, contributing writers and such, the field for Sabonis’ cartoon opponent in the BallinEurope logo will be the following.

Erazem Lorbek got some support from commenters and BiE admits that once again the Barcelona big went underrated on these pages. So BiE didn’t have Lorbek in his top five for Euroleague MVP balloting last season; this nomination should make up for that. While Lorbek’s numbers are generally down in 2012-13, he looks to be rearing back with three consecutive double-digit EL games and could be wearing the Blaugrana colors for some time yet.

The BallinEurope endorsement, however, goes to Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Not only is Big Sofo a fan favorite, not only would Sofoklis be done well in caricature, but can’t you just imagine him squaring off against Sabonis? Vote Sofo.

Despite the possibility of imminent retirement, Juan Carlos Navarro stays on the list. And Bo McCalebb’s there because he’s Bo. And because BiE wants that FYR Macedonia jersey in the logo.

Finally, there’s Vassilis Spanoulis. Damn straight BiE went there; after all, the guy did orchestrate Olympiacos’ magic run to cap 2011-12 with a couple of titles and he’s been an anchor on Greek national teams since 2000.

You may now blow up the comments section – but vote first!

Which player in Europe should be in the BallinEurope logo?

  • Vassilis Spanoulis (56%, 108 Votes)
  • Juan Carlos Navarro (20%, 39 Votes)
  • Bo McCalebb (11%, 21 Votes)
  • Sofoklis Schortsanitis (11%, 21 Votes)
  • Erazem Lorbek (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 194

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Nov
30

You decide: Who should be the new BallinEurope logo? Should “Pau” be retired?

“Pau”, Ramunas have served BiE well…

Sooner or later, it had to happen. With Ramunas Siskauskas – half of BallinEurope’s logo – now retired from the professional ranks, the icon (or possibly icons; more on this later) of this website must change. And so today we’re asking the question at top, i.e. Who should be the new logo?

We’ll be running a poll on this question next week, but please feel free to put forth suggestions in the “comments” section below this post. A few suggested guidelines: Since the winning choice will be immortalized (well, as immortalized as things can get online) in illustrated form, BiE asks that you consider only guys easily caricatured or are at least easily recognizable by the uniform.

After making a few kneejerk-reaction choices, BiE also consulted with this site’s contributing writers and a pilgrim father of BallinEurope. Below runs the tentative list of candidates thus far.

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Oct
0

Monday hangover: Real Madrid awesome; CSKA Moscow vulnerable; Arvydas Sabonis rules

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.

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Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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