Jaime Martínez Lafargue from the Spanish website Solobasket explains us today why FC Barcelona should be followed this season. Solobasket is one of the most popular websites about Basketball in Spain and offers now also content in English.
Overall record prediction: 7-3
FC Barcelona comes from a troubled season with a coach replacement and poor performances in most of their games. The team failed to advance to the Euroleague Final Four and lost to iurbentia Bilbao in the Spanish Cup quarterfinals. Despite of it all, Xavi Pascual –the coach that replaced Dusko Ivanovic- managed to get the best from his players and reach the ACB Finals.
Ersan Ilyasova played his best basketball since he arrived to the ACB during the playoff and is still growing. He is almost unstoppable right now. Fran Vázquez also stepped up after the departure of Ivanovic and is recovering the enthusiasm and athleticism of some seasons ago. Some other players started to display better performances as the last season came to the endas well.
This overall improvement and the negative answer of the desired Messina to the offer of FC Barcelona has given Pascual a new chance to prove his coaching skills with an elite team. Besides, the new chief of basketball operation Joan Creus –assistant coach of the Spanish National Team that won the World Championships in Japan- put together a renewed roster full of talent. Without a doubt, the comeback of Juan Carlos Navarro from his brief stint in the NBA is the star signing of the club for the new season. Besides, former CSKA Australian center David Andersen, guards Víctor Sada and Andre Barret, the Czech forward Lubos Barton and the late addition of seven footer Daniel Santiago set up what could be arguably the best roster in the ACB. Thus, FC Barcelona must contend for the Euroleague.
The new Euroleague regular season format, reducing the groups to six teams, will give top clubs a more relaxed first stage. FC Barcelona should be one of these teams, and the ten games of its regular season must be a warm up phase before facing the Top 16. Panathinaikos and Montepaschi are the big rivals in the group B, and Barça should compete with them to end the group stage within the three first positions. This team is better than the last season one, so FC Barcelona must be considered as a candidate to play the Final Four.
Final Four: Olympiacos, FC Barcelona, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid.
written by Jaime Martínez Lafargue