BallinEurope is previewing all 18 Euroleague Basketball teams over the next 18 days. Yesterday it was the turn of Valencia. Today it’s Sasa Obradovic and Monaco who are hoping that Kemba Walker and Mike James will bring them glory.
Sasa Obradovic brought AS Monaco to the Euroleague Basketball Final Four last season. There’s only one acceptable result this season. Will the addition of Kemba Walker be enough to deliver a championship?
Euroleague record: 21-13
Regular season position: 4th
Playoffs: Beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-2, lost semi-final (Olympiacos)
LNB record: 26-8
Regular season position: 1st
Playoffs: Won finals 3-0 (Mets 92)
Other: Won French Cup (Asvel), lost French Leaders Cup quarter final (Bourg)
Yoan Mokondou (Buducnost), Chima Moneke (Baskonia)
Who is new?
Kemba Walker (Dallas Mavericks, NBA), Mam Jaiteh (Virtus Bologna), Petr Cornelie (Real Madrid), Terry Tarpey (Le Mans), Theo Pichard (Pole France)
Sasa Obradovic (Coach), Mike James, Yakuba Ouattara, Jaron Blossomgame, Donatas Motiejiunas, Jordan Loyd, Alpha Diallo, John Brown III, Ellie Okobo, Donta Hall, Matthew Strazel, Mohammad Amini.
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Need to know
The relative lack of movement by AS Monaco on the whole with its roster this off-season was overshadowed by two things. First of all, Kemba Walker is a big name acquisition although it’s not like he played a lot of basketball in the last while.
The other is the Mike James saga. He seemed determined to depart but he’s still in the principality. Both of these stories made AS Monaco come across as far less stable in Euroleague Basketball than the reality would imply. Outside of those two headline grabbing tales, this was a pretty quiet off-season.
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What the bookies think
This is a tale of the sportsbooks really liking two sides almost equally. AS Monaco is available at 6/1 in basketball betting. A couple of days ago, they were technically second favourites over Panathinaikos in third on the same aggregate odds. Today, they have swapped places and are officially considered third favourites to win Euroleague Basketball this season. In reality, the two are joint second in the eyes of the oddsmakers.
What we think
The bookies have this, at least in terms of the regular season, exactly right for AS Monaco. That stability should propel them to a lot of wins this year. Yes, Mike James could be happier. Mike James however has shown that he can still ball out when he’s not content. This won’t be an issue.
I expect AS Monaco to have a very strong regular season and, once again, secure home court in the Euroleague Basketball playoffs.
This is an excellent roster and it’s definitely a very good team. Whether it can make to leap to be great is a question for another day.
Pick: 3rd place in the regular season