BallinEurope is previewing all 18 Euroleague Basketball teams over the next 18 days. Yesterday it was the turn of Panathinaikos. Today it’s Georgios Bartzokas and Olympiacos.
Georgios Bartzokas has lost two key pieces in Kostas Sloukas and Sasha Vezenkov but Olympiacos still have one of the most loaded rosters in Euroleague Basketball.
Euroleague record: 24-10
Regular season position: 1st
Playoffs: Beat Fenerbahce 3-2, lost championship game (Real Madrid)
Greek League record: 22-0
Regular season position: 1st
Playoffs: Won finals 3-1 (Panathinaikos)
Other: Won Greek Cup final (Peristeri)
Joel Bolomboy (Crvena Zvezda), Kostas Sloukas (Panathinaikos), Sasha Vezenkov (Sacramento Kings, NBA), Tarik Black (Free agent).
Who is new?
Ignaz Brazdeikis (Zalgiris), Luke Sikma (Alba Berlin), Nikola Militunov (CSKA Moscow), Nigel Williams Goss (Real Madrid), Giorgios Tanoulis (Promitheas).
Georgios Bartzokas (Coach), Shaq McKissic, Giorgios Larentzakis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Thomas Walkup, Isaiah Canaan, Moustapha Fall, Alec Peters, Michalis Lountzis, George Pappas.
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Need to know
Despite the roster stability on the whole, it’s hard to overlook the two big departures. Sasha Vezenkov was an inevitable departure before last season even started. Olympiacos got a great year from him and were within a single bucket of completing the set of trophies in the season. Real Madrid, of course, denied them the chance to be champions of Euroleague Basketball.
Also congratulations, I guess, to Ignas Brazdeikis. He’s the first, and will likely be only, player to get mentioned as a team member in more than one of these previews. Brazdeikis was still with Zalgiris when that preview went up. He moved to Olympiacos a few days later.
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What the bookies think
The raw number the sportsbooks have for Olympiacos is 8/1. On its own, that seems fair. In the context of how that shakes out in basketball betting, it may be a touch long. The oddsmakers have the Reds just sixth overall in Euroleague Basketball this season. That seems a bit long to me.
What we think
The losses of Sloukas and Vezenkov have already been mentioned but Georgios Bartzokas still has the core of last season’s side. There’s an awful lot to like here. The signings feel incremental rather than explosive, despite the drama of the Brazdeikis arrival.
It’s going to be awfully difficult to replicate last season’s extraordinary performance. This remains a team that is built to go deep in Euroleague Basketball.
I told you all yesterday that you’d be more angry at this pick than the Panathinaikos pick. That goes for fans of both the Greens and Olympiacos. I’m predicting a series of eternal enemies.
Pick: 5th place in the regular season