In the fourth of our 16 team previews in 16 days, Emmet Ryan looks at what to expect from Panathinaikos in the first post Diamantidis season
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: Argyris Pedoulakis
Arena: Nikos Galis Olympic Indoor Hall aka OAKA (19,250)
Last season in Euroleague: 15-12, lost playoffs
Last season in Greek league: 25-1, lost finals
Who’s new? Ioannis Bourousis (Baskonia, ACB), Mike James (Baskonia, ACB), Pat Calathes (Astana, VTB), Chris Singleton (Lokomotiv Kuban, VTB), KC Rivers (Real Madrid, ACB)
Who’s gone? Dimitris Diamantidis (Retired), Ognjen Kuzmic (Crvena Zvezda, ABA), Miroslav Raduljica (Olimpia Milano, Serie A), Elliot Williams (Golden State Warriors, NBA), Vladimir Jankovic (Valencia, ACB), Marquez Haynes (Venezia, Serie A)
What friend are they on a night out? Famed for being really good on odd numbered dates, just don’t bring them anywhere with red decor.
It’s really hard not to love PAO’s off-season, which says a lot considering they just said goodbye to a legend. In Bourousis and James they have brought in a pairing that excelled together last season and the pieces around them are nice too. Singleton will get heaps of attention, likewise Calathes linking up with his brother Nick, but for me it’s Rivers that screams of the big play for the bench. He’s the type of complementary piece too many sides overlook when gunning for hot star power. He’s going to be loved in Athens (well, on the green side).
The outgoings likewise make a bunch of sense. The tandem of Raduljica and Kuzmic never seemed to be what was needed for the parts around them and I love Kuzmic going to Zvezda where he has a chance to hit a hard reset. Jankovic is arguably the biggest loss, DDD aside, purely because of his role but if that’s the worst loss of your off-season you are doing alright.
Last summer the switches looked ostensibly good but also made PAO a touch too predictable on the floor. There was nothing in their bench game that made you think this side had the change of look necessary to make it to the final four. This year, the front office looks to have played its hand far better. On all fronts, this team looks built to be a contender. They have the right bodies to make a big season out of the first post Diamantidis era.
Fearless prediction: Well after that I kind of have to go all in, I’m picking them for 3rd in the regular season and home advantage in the playoffs.