It’s the penultimate of our 16 previews of all 16 Euroleague 2016/17 teams in 16 days. Today it’s the turn of Olympiacos
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 and, hey look, we’ve just hit one of those two.
Coach: Giannis Sfairopoulos
Arena: Peace and Friendship Stadium aka the SEF (11,600/12,000)
Last season in Euroleague: 14-10 (8-2 regular season, 6-8 Top 16), missed playoffs
Last season in Greece: 25-1, won finals
Who’s new? Khem Birch (Usak, BSL), Erick Green (Reno Bighorns, NBADL), Paris Maragkos (American, NCAA)
Who’s gone? Othello Hunter (Real Madrid, ACB), Darius Johnson-Odom (Sassari, Serie A), DJ Strawberry (Besiktas, BSL), Mihalis Tsarelis (Aris, A1E)
What friend are they on a night out? Prone to looking like they could fade early and then shocking you with their second wind.
The relative lack of changes at the SEF this off-season won’t come as a massive shock to those looking at what went wrong for the roster in Europe last year. There were a few square pegs in round holes and the moves this off-season seem far more focused on fit rather than quality. While the raw individual strengths of Johnson-Odom and Strawberry can work, they never seemed to be what the Reds needed.
As a result the heavy duty is going to fall on the familiar faces. Vassilis Spanoulis, Matt Lojeski, and Giorgios Printezis represent such different parts of the Olympiacos arsenal yet it’s really hard to see them functioning competently without all of the parts. Age is going to be a factor here with Spanoulis as the expanded season will probably seem him get some strategic nights off but he looks like he still has at least one more big run in him.
The big upside for Oly this year is the length of the season. Last year they got into a hole early in the tougher Top 16 group and never looked like they were going to claw out of it. They have time for valleys in their season this year. That’s not going to turn them into a championship side on its own but it’s going to help them out a good bit.
Fearless prediction: 7th. This team had the talent to make a playoff run last year. It didn’t but that was as much to do with the timing of injuries and the relative sprint of the 14 game Top 16 format than the 30 games here. Olympiacos should have enough to return to the post-season.