Galatasaray return to Euroleague for the 2016/17 season by virtue of winning Eurocup last season. Emmet Ryan looks at how they will handle the step up
As the intro suggests, we’re doing a preview for each of the 16 teams in Euroleague in the 16 days leading up to the start of the new season. Regarding player movement, we are relying heavily on the wonderful Mark Porcaro’s work with his 2016-17 player movement database. You should all follow Mark on Twitter.
We are going through the sides in reverse order of when they take the floor in the opening round of games in the 2016/17 Euroleague season. The entire reason we ended up on that order was because we figured it would be cool to finish with the two teams playing in the season opener.
Coach: Ergin Ataman
Arena: Abdi İpekçi Arena (12,270)
Last season in Eurocup: 15-9, winners
Last season in Turkey: 22-8, lost semi-finals
Who’s new? Jon Diebler (Anadolu Efes, BSL), Alex Tyus (Anadolu Efes, BSL), Austin Daye (Pesaro, Serie A), Justin Dentmon (Sichuan, CBA), Can Kormaz (Usak, BSL), Tibor Pleiss (Utah Jazz, NBA), Emir Preldzic (Darussafaka, BSL), Russ Smith (Delaware, NBADL), Deon Thompson (FC Bayern, BBL)
Who’s gone? Dusan Cantekin (Trabzonspor, BSL), Errick McCollum (North Control Beijing, CBA)
What friend are they on a night out? Rowdy buddy who insists, despite all appearances, that he can outdrink you.
Prior to last season, there were as man Eurocup titles won by Irish sides as Turkish teams. That, if nothing else, tells you how much of a breakthrough that championship was for the BSL as a whole. This year Gala get to play the full season with the big boys and they have reloaded heavily for the fight. The Efes duo and Preldzic all had either poor stints or poor finishes in their previous homes. Combined that could actually count heavily in their favour. Diebler in particular might actually get more space and usage than he dealt with in his last stop, both fundamentally necessary for the form Ohio State man.
That huge amount of movement however is also asking a lot. We saw how Barcelona and Darussafaka both struggled with giant roster overhauls a year ago and there’s little reason to believe it will be any different for Gala. They have gambled and they are right to gamble but that doesn’t mean it’s going to pay off. The big plus here however is they have, in Sinan Guler, one of the best pure leaders in all of European hoops. The brain, the attitude, and the game, just plain everything about Guler is a plus on a roster. Elsewhere in Euroleague, he might not see the same level of usage but he’s still the type of guy coaches love to have in a locker room and on a bench. On the floor, he still has plenty to give.
Another man with a great rep in terms of attitude but far more questions around what he can do is new arrival Tibor Pleiss. The German big man took his shot at the NBA, it didn’t work out and coming off his prior season with FC Barcelona that wasn’t a shock. Offensively he has a heap to offer and Gala is a location that could go either way for him. On the one hand, I’m worried it’s too big a club for what is essentially a mental rehab year. On the other, if he can make an impact with this kinds of bodies around him then it might work out brilliantly.
Fearless prediction: 10th. In a crowded field for playoff spots, I see those issues around roster upheaval as just a smidge too much for Galatasaray to feature in the post-season.