Hello NIKEiD Fantasy Challenge players all over Europe! Once again, this is Javier Gancedo, as always from Euroleague Basketball headquarters.
Well, the 2008-09 NIKEiD Fantasy Challenge comes to an end this week. It has been a fantastic season for the game, I think. I guess I’ll have to do a recap next week: In fact, I’m looking forward to it. Of course, we have to focus on this week, possibly the toughest of the season. Most teams are qualified and locked into a spot for the next round, rotations may be different and the one and only piece of advice I’m giving is … use the players that are still playing for a goal in order to avoid surprises.
I have decided to avoid those players of teams with no chance of remaining in the competition (with some exceptions due to trading restrictions), and I’m also not using players from CSKA and Montepaschi, already first and second in their Top 16 group. Of course, I have considered Zoran Planinic against Cibona, but he will either play the game of his life or be nervous throughout the 40 minutes — no in-between.
As you can see, my chances at winning the BallinEurope league are slim but hey, there I am. EVICROCK leads the pack at 2,359.4 points, I’m running second at 2,338.3, and DIDO/ holds third at 2,334.7 with a good chance to beat me. This is going to be difficult, especially since it’s 4.10pm and I haven’t even thought about trades … What do I do?!?!?!
Well, the situation helps me. Terrell McIntyre did not travel to Istanbul, my bet on Omri Casspi was a total disappointment while I will trade Immanuel McElroy – and keep Carlos Arroyo – because Alba plays on the road and Maccabi at home. Classic, a very solid argument. I can’t believe I did so well with such decisions.
Anyway, let’s see who I’ll add … My point guard will be Dimitris Diamantidis. It’s him or Pablo Prigioni, but I think I have good money so Diamantidis is the man. He always plays well in big games, like the one against Unicaja. This leaves me with 101 credits for 2 shooting guards or small forwards: Plenty of money. I’m picking Romain Sato against my own rules. McIntyre is out, Lavrinovic is out, and Kaukenas is not 100%, so someone has to play well over there — Sato or possibly Henry Domercant. My final trade of the season is more conservative, as I picked Pete Mickeal, a player made for games like this.
So my team looks like this:
Carlos Arroyo – Maccabi is only playing for pride but hey, what team in European basketball is prouder than Maccabi?
Dimitris Diamantidis – Panathinaikos is playing for first place, so Diamantidis should get a lot of minutes.
Romain Sato – Coach Pianigiani has to test him at power forward. No T-Mac, Ksistof. He has to see playing time.
Juan Carlos Navarro – Barcelona is seeking to win its Top 16 group against Maccabi. Navarro is instrumental to that goal.
Igor Rakocevic – If I had to choose a team captain, it would be Rako. He has been in my team most of the time.
Pete Mickeal – Some players do not perform well in make-or-break games. Pete is made for them, as simple as that.
Ioannis Bourousis – I wanted to include Charles Gaines on my team, but had no extra trades. Bourousis is solid, though.
Felipe Reyes – Madrid at home? With a chance to finish first? Man, Reyes stays, no matter what.
Nikola Pekovic – Again, Pekovic is unstoppable even for great defenders like Haislip, Ndong or Archibald.
Tiago Splitter – All-Euroleague center. Big-time game. Very motivated against Vujcic – remember the 2005 finals?
I’ll be back next week to recap the fantasy season. Until then, good luck and may the best win!