Emmet Ryan sends his final video dispatch from Milano as David Blatt, Tyrese Rice, and Joe Ingles talk about Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleague triumph.
It’s the broadest of questions but one that relates to so much that we see on and off the court. Just what should Euroleague be? With the Final Four tipping off tonight, Emmet Ryan gives his thoughts.
Is it the Champions League of basketball or the NBA of Europe? For most of its modern existence, Euroleague has tried to straddle both ideals with something that left supporters of both ideals unsatisfied.
Prior to last year’s switch to the Top 16 format, Euroleague’s competition had more in common with its football cousin. The expansion to 8 team groups however has had clear conequences and speaks volumes about where the top brass want the competition to go. By installing a round with more games per team than the regular season, the opening part of the competition seems in need of a new name. As a spectacle, the amended Top 16 is a clear improvement with more games between the better teams.
The problem is that you can’t be a little bit pregnant.
The fans now have a taste for more top level games before the knockout stages, building on this makes sense in theory but in practice it would require a massive overhaul of the game as a whole in Europe.
Were Euroleague to become the de facto league for its participants, national leagues would certainly lose out. Aside from the political power struggles that would ensue, there’s a question of what relationship Euroleague clubs would have to their domestic competitions. One would imagine the situation with Adriatic League clubs could be mirrored, with Euroleague clubs rejoining their national competitions come the playoffs. Even if sign off could be achieved, and this writer thinks it could for the most part, what message does that send to the other clubs and their supporters? What would the financial ramifications be if five of your biggest crowd pulling games of the season, as would be the case in Spain, were suddenly off the calendar?