Hello everybody, this is once again Javier Gancedo, as always from Euroleague Basketball. Well, it was not a bad fantasy week for my team, Meet The Boss. I scored 166.2 points, moved up into the Top 600 overall, was the best team this week in the BallinEurope Invitational Challenge private league and now rank fifth in the global standings. Things could be worse, after all.
This will be an outstanding Top 16 week. First of all, we have Maccabi hosting Madrid, which is a hell of a game by all means; this marks the 40th showdown between both teams in European club competitions (all in the Euroleague, unless I’m mistaken). Then we have Zalgiris-CSKA and Partizan-Regal FCB with strong basketball atmospheres: Big games all over the continent! In other words, if you are a Euroleague fan, it’s time to sit back and enjoy an outstanding basketball week. Of course, if you are a diehard fan of any of the 16 teams alive in the competition, you won’t sit back and relax. It’s all part of what’s known around here as DEVOTION.
Anyway, I’m looking at my team right now and I have no idea what to do. Well, I do know Tiago Splitter has to go because he’s injured, but that’s about it. Everyone except Linas Kleiza is playing on the road. I’m going to release Fran Vazquez, because it is never pleasant to play against Slavko Vranes in Belgrade. My final trade will be Dimitris Diamantidis just because I want another point guard. I was about to trade Darjus Lavrinovic, but just heard that Felipe Reyes isn’t travelling, so Lavrinovic is set to stay.
At the very last minute, but there he is.
Alright now, erm … ah … who to choose? Nah, just kidding: I had already thought about it. Tiago Splitter and Stanko Barac are sidelined, so Caja Laboral is set to play Lior Eliyahu and Mirza Teletovic for a long, long time against Cibona. So I chose Teletovic, a hell of a bargain at 58 credits. I traded Diamantidis because I want Milos Teodosic: There is an unwritten rule that, every time Euroleague hands the monthly MVP award to a player, he doesn’t play well in the next game. Here I am to prove it wrong!
This leaves me with 66 credits for my final trade – Damn, I thought I had more money. I’ll go for my good buddy Nikola Pekovic: It’s not that we are buddies, but I really think he is the most unstoppable player in the league. And even when they play on the road, it is OAKA, after all.
So Meet The Boss version 12.0 goes like this:
Terrell McIntyre is coming off a terrible game and is ready to prove himself against Ender Arslan and Popovic.
Milos Teodosic has been unstoppable in January. A new month means a new challenge for him and the Reds.
Viktor Khryapa. A must. Three consecutive double-doubles and opponent Zalgiris is without its starting power forward.
Linas Kleiza. This should be a big showdown against Paulius Jankunas, but Kleiza has been on fire lately.
Juan Carlos Navarro. A tough game for him in Belgrade, but Navarro is the reigning Euroleague MVP: He’s made for these games.
Ramunas Siskauskas. A former Lietuvos Rytas player coming to his hometown Lithuania to face Zalgiris? A no-brainer!
Nikola Pekovic. Though he faces a tough test in Jared Homan, Pekovic is set for a big game.
Ksistof Lavrinovic is ready to use his deep range against Mario Kasun, Daniel Santiago, and hopefully Ermal Kuqo.
Darjus Lavrinovic. Felipe Reyes has stayed in Madrid, so Lavrinovic will get extended playing time.
Mirza Teletovic. No Splitter, no Barac … Teletovic should be on the court for close to 40 minutes in Zagreb.
That is all for me now. Enjoy an outstanding Euroleague week and catch you all here next week! Good luck!