Another mediocre week for Euroleague Fantasy players across Europe, or so I have heard anyway. And judging by my own scores I’d say it is true. Is it me or have most Euroleague clubs and players lost their balance in the Top16 phase? Nothing goes as expected and planned anymore. For example I picked Petravicius last week and he played 10 minutes less than his average playing time. I picked Mickeal and he went down injured before the half time. I picked Morris and Batista had the game of his life in Kaunas almost reaching a double double figure by the end of the first quarter!
The only thing that hasn’t changed is the ability of Partizan to push Panathinaikos to their limits and then somehow manage to lose the game in the dying seconds. Happened three times so far… and of course the pleasant surprise of the two Lithuanian teams which have been gold in their Euroleague campaigns so far.
Ibrahim Jaaber: I think I’m going to stick to Ibrahim Jaaber for a bit longer. His performances have been exceptional for a Euroleague rookie and you couldn’t ask for anything more than a 16 ranking points average from a guy who was literally unknown and playing in some Athens suburbs team some weeks ago. Plus he needs less than 8 ranking point to hit a new limit up for 10(!) credits.
Theodoros Papaloukas: At last Papaloukas has been showing some, even if it was just a glimpse, of his class in the last few games. With the problems that Unicaja has with its PGs and with the height advantage that Papaloukas has over them I believe he will have a very solid game leading CSKA to yet another win in Top16. Let’s just hope that Messina leave him on the court for more than his usual 20 minutes.
Shooting Guards/Small Forwards:
Romain Sato: Sato has been a great help to Siena in the past few weeks and he has scored more than 19 average ranking points in Top16 so far. He has benefited (if we can use this term) by Kaukenas’ injury and has increased his playing time from 24 to 34(!) minutes per game! He is a very solid SG who can shoot well, draw easy fouls and rarely turnovers the ball. If he could only be more precise in his three point shootings he would be even greater. Maybe the time has come?
Jonas Maciulis: Maciulis is the top scorer of the Top16 so far. He is one of Lithuania’s top prospects and is known for his passionate game. Although he is below 200cm he has the rebounding ability of a center and can easily guard taller opponents. I think that Olympiakos lacks this kind of a player who would be able to stop him and he can do some serious damage. He is self-conscious and won’t take any shots in a hurry but only when he is sure about it. Oh yes, he is scoring an average of 23 ranking points in the Top16.
Marcus Brown: Yet another Zalgiris player for me this week. Most of Olympiakos’ opponents shooters find way too many open shots, especially from behind the arch, even in the SEF arena and they usually don’t miss. Just remember McIntyre (4/7 for 3 and 19 points, Winston (7/8 for 3 and 26 points, Halperin 2/5 for 3 and 21 points, even Marcus Brown himself 2/4 for 3 and 19 points). And we all know what is Brown capable off when he is left unmarked for even a split second.
Drew Nicholas: Somehow I believe that the Partizan-Efes game will be a high scoring one. Add Partizan youth and Efes run and gun style and you get the picture. And this is exactly the kind of a game that Nicholas loves. After storming over Panathinaikos in the opening day Nicholas was slowed down by the best Euroleague defense and earned himself just 9 ranking points but Partizan is far from a defensive side even though they are top in the rebounding category. Let’s hope he draws some easy fouls and grab a few rebounds as a bonus.
Shaun Stonerook: Panathinaikos has one of the most short front lines of the Euroleague. And as that wasn’t enough, its two tallest centers, Tomasevic and Tsartsaris are injured and out. Stonerook is an undersized PF and has been registering an average of 31 minutes per game so far in the Top16 average and helping Siena in every aspect, either by scoring, rebounding or even stealing. I expect him to shine tonight taking advantage of his aggressiveness.
Terrence Morris: To be honest I was between Morris and Batista. I just don’t know who will do the best tomorrow but I believe that they will both have a good game. Morris might have disappointed us last week but I’m gonna trust him and hope that a packed Nokia Arena gives him that extra motive and of course the put a pressure on the refs to call easy fouls against Morris by Real Madrid front line.
Nikola Pekovic: Back to the favorite Euroleague Fantasy player of the current season. This young Montenegran (?) giant has been impressive so far and is dominating the boards and scores a double digit amount of points in almost every game. His playing time has dropped in Top16 but I believe that his coach will leave him on the court for a considerable more time to deal with Woods.
Marcus Goree: All of you who can’t wait to buy Smodis or your teams please hold your horses. Messina said that Smodis needs a couple of weeks before being able to compete in a higher level such as Euroleague. Thus Goree will get to keep his playing time at 25+ minutes and help CSKA to defend efficiently against Unicaja and draw some fouls in the low post.
Good luck. Arkadios.