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. Continue Reading…
Has it really been almost two months since the Euroleague Final Four? And when did the seasons in Spain, Greece, Italy and the NBA finish up? Time gets exceedingly relative and outright bendy once offseason transactioneering begins as memories of the previous year are quickly disposed for a look to the next and the money starts flying around.
Last week was a particularly noteworthy, headline-making span, particularly over here in Europe and especially if you’re interested in any player not named Dwight Howard. Here are BallinEurope’s five favorite moves of the previous seven days. (Is it wrong to say BiE already can’t wait for October?)
• Adam Hanga to Laboral Kutxa Baskonia. The career arc of the player destined to become Hungary’s all-time greatest continues: After developing in the Hungarian league followed by two seasons with Manresa of Liga Endesa, Hanga is set to make his Euroleague debut at age 24½ with Baskonia – and seems certain to surprise those not in-the-know with his across-the-board contributions; while Hanga will be having some minor surgery this week, he expects to miss no regular-season games. The four-year contract with Baskonia may yet keep Hanga here in Europe and out of San Antonio for a bit longer, which can be construed as good news (certainly for Continental ball followers) or bad (for the NBA supremacists).
To no one’s surprise, Sportando reports that CSKA management is already looking at some serious roster rebuilding for 2013-14, but Spanoulis-to-Moscow would be a bit jarring, in BallinEurope’s opinion.
Is Vassilis Spanoulis throwing down a gauntlet? As the Euroleague official website leads its interview with The Captain by describing him as having “taken his place among the all-time greats of basketball by leading Olympiacos Piraeus to just the second Euroleague repeat title in the last two decades,” the below picture appears on the site’s front page.
Given that Olympiacos’ trophy was taken in Britain, does anyone else sense a subliminal message here, perhaps to the rest of the ‘League…?
The entire interview with Spanoulis may be found here.
No matter which way this year’s Euroleague championship played out, history would be made with Olympiacos chasing a repeat championship and Real Madrid its first in 18 years. And as it turns out, fate’s scribe was writing with Red(s) pen: Once again, tournament underdogs Olympiacos ended up EL alpha dogs with a 100-88 win over Real Madrid for only the third repeat title of the last 25 years.
Olympiacos: They are the champions — again
Real Madrid jumped out to an early lead as All-Euroleague first teamer Rudy Fernandez accounted for six points and two assists on his team’s first 10 points, finding Sergio Llull again and again; the two would combine for 16 in the first quarter alone. Los Blancos’ 27-10 lead after the opening stanza might have been considered enough against an ordinary team – but Europe’s comeback kids are hardly ordinary.
Pero Antic’s three to start the scoring in the second quarter got the Olympiacos fans back to their feet –more importantly triggering a 13-2 run with contributions from Kyle Hines and Kostas Sloukas to bring the Reds to within seven at 29-22. And highlight-reel Reyes-to-Slaughter alley-oop dunk aside, the Reds fairly well owned the second 10 minutes, outscoring Real 27-14
Of particular note in the second 10 minutes was Stratos Perperglou stifling Fernandez, limiting him to just two points on free throws; in fact, Perperglou’s defensive play was representative of Olympiacos’, as nearly half of the Madrid points (six) in the quarter were made at the line, while six Real turnovers were forced.
Vassilis Spanoulis, remarkably quiet for so long, finally broke his personal cold streak with a three after the first minute of the third quarter and a subsequent three would give Olympiacos its first lead at 48-45 – must’ve been something concocted at halftime … another run – this one 15-5 – appeared to have Real on the ropes in the third, but Los Blancos weren’t finished yet, momentarily retaking the lead at 56-55 after a pair of jumpers from Fernandez.
Among the highlights in a pressure-packed final five minutes of the third were two consecutive stops of Fernandez after he’d run up seven in the stanza already; among the lowlights, Sloukas assessed for a technical after flopping. Nikola Mirotic, uncharacteristically plagued with foul trouble earned his fourth PF – one of 10 committed by three members of the Real frontcourt – late in the third quarter as well. After 30 minutes, it was a new ballgame: 61-61.
With 90 seconds gone, Spanoulis reentered the court to palpable tension. A section of Reds fans maintained their trademark noise, but many were strangely silent while the Madridistas clung to edges of their seats.
The death blow may have come on a hidden play, as Acie Law forced Llull to bounce a dribble off his foot and into the backcourt – Spanoulis’ followup three would ultimately seal the deal from 70-62:
While Law and Sloukas and Georgi Shermadini went on to score from various spots on the floor, Jaycee Carroll’s three-pointer – just one of three Madrid shooting attempts in the fourth quarter’s first five minutes – stood alone as a Real success from the floor. By that time, the Reds’ lead had ballooned to 82-70 and the Spanish side simply did not have an Olympiacos-like miracle comeback in ‘em.
BallinEurope tries to take the responsibilities of Euroleague media partnership seriously and so spent way too much time deliberating over the vote for this season’s all-Euroeleague team/MVP awards. Having been given through last Friday – and after the result of the Olympiacos-Anadolu Efes game was in – to fill out the ballot, let’s just say BiE stayed up late determining just the right order for submission. One can’t take this stuff too seriously, can one?
Of course, every year, the thoughtful media member must first define “Most Valuable Player” Should this title be taken to mean simply the best player within the given association for the given year? Or perhaps the value of Player X to his *team*, i.e. consideration of how much worse X’s squad would have been without him, is most important – though this contention relies on speculation rather than the fact of accumulated stats.
Questions upon questions: What about the defensive contributions which elude statistical measure? Or those intangibles of leadership that a cagey veteran like Vassilis Spanoulis (or Sarunas Jasikevicius, for seven-minute bursts, for that matter) adds to a successful side? And on this note – How much emphasis and importance should be placed on participation with a winning team? The All-Euroleague first team these days has tended to include five players from Top Four teams, rewarding winning with an individual nod. But wasn’t someone having enough of a banner year to get a Montepaschi Siena or Caja Laboral Baskonia much further into the EL season than expected?
You see the can of worms BiE had opened; it’s like this every year.
Regardless, BiE’s ballot is in and after a subsequent weekend of watching more hoops, an examination of the thinking process. The Euroleague ballot is set in the now-fairly standard format: Media partners may vote for five players, with five points awarded to each voter’s no. 1 choice, four to the no. 2, three to the no. 3, etc. Once again, the ‘League is allowing free voting: Any five players regardless of position may be chosen. (At least that part was easy…)
To more properly integrate BallinEurope.com with Twitter (BiE’s weekday obsession), a feed to the BiE_basketball Twitter account is now included with the right-hand banner.
Finally, with something of greater emphasis in BiE Land these days on the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series, a tab for the ‘casts has replaced the “Euroleague Transactions Table.” While the ‘table has been a popular feature at BallinEurope.com in the past, we’re finding that more and more websites boast such a feature — and quite frankly, certain rumor-emphasizing ‘sites have caught up to and surpassed BiE in this area. Whereas five years ago, a “transfers table” was unique among European basketball-centric websites, this is nearly requisite stuff these days.
BallinEurope.com will have some new concept in place by the time Euroleague free-agent season starts in the runup to 2013-14, but for now we’re pimping the podcast.
A few more features may be added in coming days — we’re still working on more video players, for example — but please feel free to comment on what we see right now. Quite honestly, we love the new design and hope you do, too!
As always, thanks for reading; stick around for continued coverage of European basketball in all its myriad aspects!
We think the Sabas vs. Spanoulis logo represents BiE’s interest in European hoops both present and past, representing a fresh look while still harkening back to the site’s original graphic. A general redesign is also in the works, but click “continue reading” to see the logo below the break – and let us know what you think!
As The Continent has bid adieu to eight teams’ Euroleague bids for 2012-13, BallinEurope looks back briefly to take a brief look back at the regular season’s best – not to mention spindly some quality time outside the mall and in front of the YouTube.
The BallinEurope 2012-13 Euroleague Regular Season All-Star Team looks as follows.
• Vassilis Spanoulis, Olympiacos. It’s almost getting difficult to find new ways to trumpet Olympiacos’ success and Spanoulis’ outstanding leadership in calendar year 2012. (They haven’t lost a game in two months? Whoa! Oops, sorry.) Sheer numbers fail to tell the entire story of the Reds’ leader’s first 10 EL games this season, but we love the stats here, so boggle away: How about 16.0 ppg on 46.6% overall shooting to go with 5.9 assists, 1.0 steals and *1.77 blocks* in 28½ minutes per game? BiE reckons Spanoulis was regular-season MVP, an idea backed by Euroleague Adventures’ Sam Meyerkopf in the latest episode of the heinnews/BallinEurope co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series. (Shameless self-promotion over.)