Hello all at BallinEurope, once again this is Javier Gancedo, as always from Euroleague Basketball. If you don’t know by now, my team Meet The Boss was the first-ranked, number one OVERALL in the NIKEiD Fantasy Challenge last week. Needless to say I am very proud about this, beating dozens of thousands of basketball fans out there with a team I actually published here in advance.
Of course, I can’t win a prize – After all, I set the prices, organize the game and handle it all season long. But it’s all about pride, plus I obviously improved my situation in the BallinEurope private league. This is the second time in five years of Fantasy Challenge that I rank first overall. I also lead the Top 16 standings, so it’s like a new challenge.
The reaction from friends and workmates has been pretty cold. Maybe it’s that the game is not that popular among them, maybe it’s something else. Fact is, what you can’t describe is the FEELING you get when you know you’ve won. It was like at 3am when I realized it and I’ve been smiling since that moment.
It also rounded out a perfect week with huge Euroleague and Eurocup showdowns. The Real Madrid – Regal FC Barcelona superclassic, the big wins by Cibona and AJ Milano, Pamesa rallying to beat Zvezda in Pionir … The Top 16 is here and I love it. Anyway, won’t talk too much about me finishing first – I cannot say winning – last week. I am already a two-time champ, like Tomas Van den Spiegel.
Of course, it was easy to trade last week but we’re back to just three per week, so don’t expect anything big from my team this week: I have enough already. With five weeks to go, it’s tough to actually surprise people. First of all, I am trading Lior Eliyahu. Maccabi Electra plays at Barcelona – not the easiest place to come around in the Euroleague this season. Eliyahu will be facing a superb defender like Ersan Ilyasova, so I decided to trade Lior.
I dropped Vassilis Spanoulis for the same reason: He’s playing on the road, on a tough court in Martin Carpena and against two solid defensive players in Thomas Kelati and Berni Rodriguez. My CSKA rule still applies, so the third trade is Alan Anderson.
I decided to sign David Hawkins, as I think he has a good chance to shine against Asseco Prokom: He’s too strong for David Logan, too fast for Koko Archibong. My second pick is Pete Mickeal, because he had a terrific game this weekend.
Sadly, Tiago Splitter is not with the team for personal reasons. All I wish is that Tiago will be back on court soon and that I am able to express my condolences one day. It is just too tough. Without Splitter, Mickeal and Igor Rakocevic have to step up against Olympiacos. I don’t like any other option at center but Stephane Lasme. It is not that I think he will have a 30-index game, but he will be solid playing at home, plus I save almost 26 credits.
So my team looks like this:
Sergio Llull – Will be here as long as Raul Lopez stays sidelined. Llull, as I expected, had a breakout game last week.
Terrell McIntyre – He plays at home and, for a change, T-Mc is taller than his opponent. McIntyre must have an OK game.
David Hawkins – Not very convinced, but I like the fact that Hawkins can help AJ Milano in many, many ways.
Juan Carlos Navarro – A man made for big games like the one against Maccabi. Jaka Lakovic is out, too.
Igor Rakocevic – Right at the prime of his career, stays a must-have for everybody – including YOU!
Pete Mickeal – More minutes for everyone in Tau Ceramica. Mickeal is ready to lead Tau in a tough game.
Ksystof Lavrinovic – He loves playing in the high post, and that is what he’ll probably do against Savas and Erden.
Felipe Reyes – Remains the man to stop in Real Madrid. A solid choice in the next two games.
Nikola Pekovic – Not very convinced about keeping him against Robert Archibald and Ndong, but I had no better option either.
Stephame Lasme – A bit of a gamble. I trust him because of his rebounds and blocked shots at Pionir.
That’s all from me this week, enjoy the Euroleague games and see you next week! As usual, good luck!