Hello, everybody, and greetings from Euroleague headquarters! This is Javier Gancedo of Euroleague.net, ready to give you all some thoughts about our very own Sporting Bet Euroleague Fantasy Challenge – with just four rounds to go in the competition.
First and foremost, what an exciting Top 16 this is! If anyone had thought that CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos, Partizan and Asseco Prokom would be the four undefeated teams after two rounds, nobody would have believed him. The Top 16 has provided surprises, excitement, incredible action and outstanding drama. The NBA would *kill* to have all this in mid-February: that which makes us strong. Euroleague – and also Eurocup – competitions are as exciting as they can be, and everything will get better from now on. Every single game counts. From now on, every single basket will be decisive in most games…
As for fantasy basketball … well, I had an OK week, I guess. My team Meet the Boss ranks 508th overall, is in fourth place in the BallinEurope Invitational Challenge, but I can only finish second overall because our good man Eurofootball is unstoppable. I have been second in the previous two editions of this Ball in Europe private league.
(By the way, here is a question for our editor-in-chief Os Davis: Will there be any prizes at all? I am ineligible to win fantasy prizes, yet finished first in the weekly standings *twice* in the past … but I could win in here, yes. Bring out the good old goodies, man. Motivate your players out there…)
As usual, I will do my trades live as I write this column. Not only does this makes it fresher, it helps me draw things out by placing neverending, meaningless sentences like this one…
Oh well, let’s focus a bit. Who do we have? First of all, Ksistof Lavrinovic missed a Italian League game this weekend and may not play against Madrid and twin brother Darjus, so he’ll be my first trade. I’m also going to trade Nikola Pekovic because Regal FC Barcelona has a very strong frontcourt with outstanding shot blockers. Finally, I’m trading Juan Carlos Navarro as, even when I think he is great, I expect Barcelona-Panathinaikos to be a really low-scoring game.
This leaves me with 201 credits for three players. Let’s start with the big guys, then. This is a tough one, but since Caja Laboral will play without Tiago Splitter and Stanko Barac is questionable, I will risk a bit and choose Robertas Javtokas of BC Khimki. Discarding the Panathinaikos players and those that have red crosses, Dimitrios Mavroeidis is the most expensive available at just 60 credits. This is going to be trouble: I will have to risk again.
Zalgiris is without Travis Watson and Unicaja may play without Joel Freeland, so that leaves extra room for Georgios Printezis or Robert Archibald. Printezis is a great player, but Rob is a mate, so I’ll pick up Archibald: If need be, I’ll carry a Scottish flag into the Euroleague TV room – if I find one, that is. I have a lot of money to spend on a shooting guard/small forward. I would pick the best player available if I knew who the hell he was. It’s down to Josh Childress or Chuck Eidson and, since I already have two Olympiacos players, I’ll go with Eidson.
So my team looks like this for Euroleague Top 16 week 3:
Terrell McIntyre had back-to-back underachieving games, so he’ll have to bounce back right away against Madrid.
Milos Teodosic. OK, he faces Jamont Gordon, but Teodosic has been unstoppable lately.
Viktor Khryapa. A no-brainer in the game right now: Khryapa’s rebounds, assists and steals make him a must-have player.
Linas Kleiza is being very, very consistent lately. The game against Cibona shouldn’t be an exception.
Chuck Eidson, the American Ginobili, is back! He won’t have it easy against Charles Smith, however, in a big test for him.
Ramunas Siskauskas is playing really well lately. Let’s see how he does against Qyntel Woods on defense.
Robert Archibald. Always good to have him in the team. A solid rebounder and effective in the paint, Archibald should be a good choice.
Robertas Javtokas. Well, Laboral is without centers and Javtokas is big, powerful and experienced. This may work.
Darjus Lavrinovic. If his twin brother isn’t around, Darjus should have a great game.
Mirza Teletovic. Vitoria’s favourite three-point bomber will see extended playing time without Tiago Splitter around.
That’s all for me. Keep enjoying the Top 16 and see you right after the break. Enjoy!