After last night’s 104-93 overtime win by the San Antonio Spurs over the Memphis Grizzlies in game three of the Western Conference semifinals, BallinEurope fears that NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol and his guys won’t be playing much further in the 2012-13 edition of the big league, but at least the Spaniard was able to add one more jam (not to mention the swell nickname “Demolition Marc”) to his career highlight reel – namely this smoking of Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard…
History in the making? Ricky “The Human YouTube Highlight Clip” Rubio lived up to BallinEurope’s sobriquet last night in his Minnesota Timberwolves’ 107-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Rubio’s 25-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist performance was the first 20+/12/12 triple double against the Spurs since Larry Bird – and totally makes for one sweet YouTube clip in its own right. See for yourself in the nicely tightly-edited two-some minutes from the league below.
(Incidentally, BiE’s said it before and may say it again: How about that Rubio-to-Williams connection, eh?)
Episode #19 of the BallinEurope/ heinnews co-hosted “Taking the Charge” podcast is now online. Bearing a nice Hungarian accent, our centerpiece interview this week will be of great interest to Spanish basketball fans, San Antonio Spurs nation and NBA prospect-watchers, as Team Hungary’s Adam Hanga joins David Hein and yours truly for a solid 20 minutes or so of chat on all manner of subjects.
After wowing international scouts attending the 2009 Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso and announcing his jump from Hungary’s domestic league to the Liga Endesa with Manresa for 2011-12, Hanga became the first-ever Hungarian national to be drafted in the NBA when the Spurs chose him at no. 59 in 2011.
This just in from TalkBasket.net: According to the international hoops-centric website, the San Antonio Spurs have signed Union Olimpija’s Aron Baynes to a multi-year deal and will complete a $400,000 buyout to land the player’s rights. Baynes had worked out for NBA teams including the Sacramento Kings in 2009, but didn’t stick in the big league.
After flirting with Erazem Lorbek in the offseason, Spurs brass were no doubt impressed by Baynes’ EL regular-season display (during which he looked much like Lorbek, 2011-12 edition) in which all he did was lead the league in two-point attempts, two-pointers made, offensive rebounds, total rebounds and performance index rating.
For San Antonio fans who subscribe to the “seeing is believing” credo, here’s a couple of goodies for you…
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.
NBA Europe Live, Euroleague American Tour: Bo knows highlights; Celtics regroup against Milano; Stern travels; video clips
The past three days saw five cross-continental club games play out in Europe and the US in the 2012 Euroleague American and NBA Europe Live tours. And, hey, it’s Monday, so let’s just roll the highlight clips!
• Naturally, the biggest news was all about the lone upset among the games: Fenerbahçe Ülker’s 97-91 toppling of the Boston Celtics in Turkey. Bo McCalebb added to his already-heavy personal highlight film with several sweet plays and incredible speed. (Seriously, is he getting faster?) Directly below, he bamboozles Pierce (“Damn, he’s quick,” The Truth was surely thinking), blows past Rajon Rondo and finds Oguz Savas for an easy two after getting Brandon Bass to leave his feet…
Who cares if the games are meaningless in any real sense? BallinEurope missed the Euroleague American Tour and NBA Live Tour games tremendously in 2011 – one item doubtlessly on BiE’s list of underrated casualties of the player lockout – and is thrilled to see them back.
In just a couple of hours, the Boston Celtics and Fenerbahçe Ülker will tip off the first of eight games to be played in five days’ worth of international club clashes, as teams in both continents’ big leagues prepare for 2012-13 seasons. This evening, a few notes, links and videos for you themed on these tours; naturally, BiE’ll be doing this in the time-honored tradition of the ESPN TrueHoop Network, i.e. bullet-style. To catch tonight’s and the other games, head over to Euroleague TV.
• The Dallas Mavericks’ goal on their European road trip? To build team chemistry. Also, on Saturday in Berlin, Dirk Nowitski expects to seat some 100 friends and family. Loftily stated Dastardly Dirk, “I told the NBA for all the crap I’ve been doing for them for fourteen years they better hook me up with a bunch of tickets.”
NBA Europe Live Tour and Euroleague American Tour games tip off tomorrow, giving a few fan bases a glimpse at some possible future prospects already drafted and with rights owned by a big league club.
Following up on yesterday’s brief look at five rights-owned European players developing their games on The Continent, today is offered another quintet for your consideration. Fans of Chicago, Charlotte, and San Antonio will particularly want to pay attention – and tune into some Euroball in 2012-13…
• PF Nikola Mirotic, Real Madrid (2011 NBA draftee; rights owned by the Chicago Bulls).
Few players are more greatly anticipated – and few could be more immediately useful to such an injury-prone frontcourt – in Chicago than Nikola Mirotic.
Mirotic rolled on last season after bagging the Euroleague Rising Star award for 2010-11, nearly doubling his EL scoring average from 6.6 to 12.5 ppg; not to mention a like increase in touches. Unfortunately for Bulls backers, Mirotic is contracted to Real through 2016 –although he’ll only be 25 years old by then and BiE wouldn’t be surprised to see Chicago at least attempt a hefty buyout within the next four seasons.
(To induce further covetousness in the Windy City, check out the 26-point, 10-rebound, 46-PIR damage Mirotic did in Real’s game two Liga Endesa victory over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid last night…)
Could David Blatt be panicking? Armed with a retooled roster after last season’s Euroleague disappointment, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2012-13 edition hasn’t overwhelmed in preseason play with little team cohesiveness or incorporation of the Team Russia coach’s patented defensive game plans in evidence. The Israel side washed out in a the four Euroleague-team Domreiter Cup in September before redeeming themselves slightly in Paris, winning the pre-season tourney there last weekend (albeit against lesser competition).
Before topping Galatasaray for the tournament title, Blatt sounded off a bit after his players got by with a win over home team Paris Levallois. “We had two offensive rebounds in 40 minutes,” said Blatt. “You know, I’m 50 and I would have gotten more than two offensive rebounds if I had been on the court.”
But Blatt offered a solution on Saturday which appears to be a matter of fact now, in light of Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s recent release from the club: “Malcolm [Thomas] is exactly the kind of player you need to play a team like Paris Levallois. He is very athletic, fast and plays above the rim. It brings a lot of energy, but also creates a lot of easy baskets … Thomas is very good at offensive rebounding and he will bring what’s missing [on the team].”
Everything is coming to a head as we’re finally getting a picture of Europe’s big basketball tournament. With eight teams still in the running for five spots, four of today’s FIBA EuroBasket 2013 qualifiers are potentially crucial to making up the final bracket in Slovenia: Germany at Sweden, Serbia at Estonia, Turkey at Portugal and the match of the day, Latvia at Georgia. BallinEurope takes a brief look at these games and the overall picture as the qualification tourney nears its end – bullet-style, natch, with links and YouTubes.
• The way BiE sees it, the picture looks something like the following. In/in barring epic collapse: Montenegro, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic. All but out/out: Belarus, Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland. Why are we here: Slovakia, Iceland, Albania, Portugal, Cyprus, Luxembourg.