Right, then. Start calling up that calendar for October because the NBA has announced that two teams from the big league will be coming to Europe (presumably as part of the 2014 NBA Europe Live tour), with another six heading to other continents. From the NBA and Associated Press, the schedule looks like the following.
Off the wire are a few details from an interview former Team USA/Philadelphia 76ers head coach Larry Brown gave to Israel Sports Radio earlier this week. Hired by Southern Methodist University for the 2012-13 season, Brown revealed that he had considered an offer to coach the Maccabi USA basketball team before the SMU deal came through – and that he won’t be leaving the game any time soon.
This one goes out by request to BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y. … with Team USA coming together to play the Dominican Republic today – with or without Chris Paul – BiE tries to answer the question “Who [if anyone] can beat Team USA?”
A few gauntlets have been thrown by the Americans already, the least of which is certainly not the roster itself. That roster, one more time, is the following.
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Team France’s aspirations for Olympic success in 2012 have taken quite a hit today, as Joakim Noah announced that he will not after all compete in the London Games with Les Bleus.
Noah made the announcement today, as reported in L’Equipe, explaining that “I’m absolutely not ready, not ready to run, not ready to jump. And even less to play. I need more time and work. I’m not in form for someone who wants to compete in the Olympics. And given the problems that I have with my ankles, not going to the Games seemed to be the most reasonable decision.”
The Chicago Bull had suffered an ankle injury in his NBA team’s playoff series with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Worse yet, France is still on hold with regard to Tony Parker’s eye problem, the result of a bizarre incident in New York (one that he’s suing for $20 million over, incidentally). Head coach Vincent Collet must submit a final roster for his team tomorrow.
For those not necessarily in the know about European basketball, the announcement of Anthony Parker’s retirement from professional hoops today may not have exactly made most sit up and take notice – just another Cleveland Cavalier gone, right?
Except that Parker’s six-year European CV is loaded with team accomplishments and individual accolades, bringing Maccabi Tel Aviv a superpower’s worth of trophies in the mid-2000s. His brief run earned him a spot on the “50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors” list in ’08 – just one of 35 players and one of five Americans – after racking up consecutive EL MVP awards, one EL Final Four nod and three European rings (two EL, the other the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague title).
BallinEurope today posts its traditional tribute to retiring greats, i.e. career rundown plus YouTube clips! To get started, then…
In his first media appearance since the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers, Joakim Noah assessed his chances of suiting up for Team France in the 2012 Olympics.
“Still a little sore” from his most recent ankle injury, Noah stated from Los Angeles that “I’m not quite ready. I will discuss all this with [national team coach Vincent] Collet. For now, it’s necessary that I focus on rehabilitation.”
Putting something of a more positive spin on things, Noah went on that state that “I prefer to stay positive and tell myself that time is on our side. We’ll see how it turns out. We’ll know more in two or three weeks […] when I can join the French team. The Olympics is also a goal in my season, but I want to return to France in shape. I want to be there, but at 100%.”
The NBA club has not given word on whether Noah will be discouraged or prohibited from playing in the Olympics.
For Les Bleus in FIBA Eurobasket 2011, Noah contributed a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game over the tournament to go with 9.0 ppg and 0.9 spg.
BallinEurope scored an exclusive interview with Ayron Hardy, a graduate of Jacksonville University currently in the midst of his rookie professional campaign with Leicester Riders. The former Dolphin racked up the accolades and trophies in his four years at JU, getting named to the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman team in 2008 and the 2010 Pre-Season Atlantic All-Conference Team, plus a nod as the Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. His senior year saw him average 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
For the Riders in 2011-12, Hardy is enjoying an star-level year, including a ridiculous 20-point, 15-rebound, 13-assist, four-block performance against Sheffield Sharks. Hardy chatted with BiE’s British basketball specialist Sam Chadwick about his toughest opponents, why he chose to test the waters of the British Basketball League and the internet-based voting which has him in the lead for league MVP.
Not long ago, BallinEurope handed out mid-season grades for NBA players representing The Continent; rookie Nikola Vucevic was awarded a solid 3 out of 5 – a 3.5, really, if only this self-imposing grading system weren’t so harsh. BiE assessed that “subjectively speaking, Vucevic has been particularly impressive for the surprisingly impressive Philadelphia 76ers; if he were getting more playing time, there might be mutters about the former USC Trojan vis-a-vis Rookie of the Year honors.”
Today, Sam Chadwick takes a look at Vucevic in the form of a “draft review” column and, crunching a few numbers, echoes BiE’s contention. Chadwick deduces that the sky’s the limit for this rookie who could in fact become a top-level NBA big. How good is Nikola Vucevic? How about Dwight Howard-level good?
Name: Nikola Vucevic
Country of birth: Switzerland
College: University of Southern California
Height: 7’0” (2.13 meters)
Age: 21 (born October 1990)
Vucevic quietly made a name for himself at the University of Southern California, where he had career averages of 11.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists across three years while shooting 51% from the field and 30% from three-point range. He made the All-Pac 10 second team in his second season and All-Pac first team after averaging 35.0 minutes, 17.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his junior year. His junior year also saw him make the Fox Sports All-American third team and become the first player to lead the Pac 10 in rebounds in consecutive years.
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)
And here’s one for the Tony Parker devotees: France-based RMC Sport today quotes Les Bleus’ leader at length on his selection to the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. (Sacre bleu, is it already time to be thinking about the all-star game?) Though much talk is devoted to the San Antonio Spurs’ chances in 2011-12, Parker comes off as utterly effusive about his fourth bid in the marquee game. Indeed, il a laissé éclater sa joie.