In gearing up to produce another official BallinEurope Euroleague Power Rankings column (it’ll be up here after the draw next week), BiE got to thinking about how unsatisfying the task will be with only 16 teams remaining. After all, BiE regularly has an eye on hundreds of teams and though the Euroleague is clearly cream-of-the-Continental-Crop, basketball-wise, how would Europe’s other less press-hoggy squads compete?
And so, with little better to do during the holidays (plus the big leagues, most domestic leagues and regional leagues are breaking from the regular-season currently anyway), BiE devised a scheme … presenting the first weekly list of The Top 100 Basketball Teams in Europe!
A bit about the method of calculation first: The number-crunching began with the fairly standard way of expressing the standings tables, with two points awarded to a team for a win and one point for a loss. Of course, not all domestic leagues in Europe are equal, not to mention a few regional leagues (the Adriatic, Baltic and VTB United leagues). At this point, some obligatory arbitrariness was applied.
Beginning with the premise that games in Eurochallenge, the lowest pan-continental league, would be worth 25% as much as a regular league game, BiE then rewarded 2.5 points for a Eurochallenge win and 1.25 for a loss. Compounding 25% onto Eurocup games gave us numbers of 1.5625 and 3.125; these were bumped up to 1.6 and 3.25 for slightly more elegant calculations – these numbers could probably have been even higher over the Eurochallenge level, but what have you.
Finally, compounding 25% results and rounding a bit said 2.5 and 5.0 points should be rewarded for Euroleague losses and wins, respectively, but a first run-through of the numbers showed this would give sub-.500 Euroleague teams a distorted standing. (You should’ve seen where Lietuvos Rytas was ranked with the raw numbers in place; suffice to say BiE would’ve lost any Greek readers he currently has.)
Paradoxically, rewarding Euroleague clubs a bit inordinately for wins results in a more realistic-looking chart: Ultimately, 6.5 points would be given for a Euroleague win. Now, is a Euroleague win really worth more than three wins in a domestic league? Perhaps not, but balancing this out is the fact that fewer Euroleague games than domestic will be played by every team in Europe and for most clubs, EL results will only represent a fraction of the 2010-11 season.
In case, the question of valuing domestic and regional league games were solved as straightforwardly as possible. For any league with either two Euroleague teams or over 25% of its clubs in one of the three major competitions, the “average” game within that league would be weighted based on the top-level teams in that league. The results were mostly reasonable:
VTB United League: 3.5 points for a win / 1.75 for a loss
Adriatic League: 3 / 1.5
Baltic League: 2.3 / 1.15
Spanish ACB: 3 / 1.5
Greek ESAKE: 2.7 / 1.35
Russian Superleague: 2.7 / 1.35
Italian Serie A: 2.6 / 1.3
Turkish TBL: 2.6 / 1.3
Israeli Ligat HaAl: 2.6 / 1.3
French Pro A: 2.55 / 1.275
German Bundesliga: 2.4 / 1.2
It may seem weird that VTB United League games are rewarded more heavily than any European league except the biggest – especially since many contend the entire enterprise is nothing but a really expensive plug for a multinational bank – but take a look at this pool of teams, a pretty seriously competitive bunch.
The only anomaly among the “bigger” domestic leagues was – imagine this – Lithuania. While Lithuania’s four teams of 13 in upper-tier leagues would have given LKL games a reward of just over 1.2 points per loss, the truth is this league is heavily skewed toward its Euroleague powerhouses. Indeed, fans have complained for years that quite a few teams simply serve as feeder minor-league teams for Žalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas. In the end, BiE decided to reward 1.1 for an LKL loss and 2.2 for a win.
While the BallinEurope Top 100 does indeed produce some eyebrow-raising results right near the top (FC Barcelona, a three seed for the Euroleague draw, is no. 2 overall; and could Žalgiris really handle either of the Greek powers right now?), the logic seems solid. Seriously, isn’t 9-3 in the ACB probably better than 10-1 in Italy? Plus, as the season goes, the cream will rise along with the numbers to the top of list; hurting many teams at present (and helping some, particularly a few Ukrainian squads) is a simple relative lack of domestic games played.
Other notes: Games through Wednesday, December 29, were used in calculations. No qualifying games were considered, nor were early results from domestic cup tournaments currently going on. Finally, as a show of support to the Back British Basketball movement, no. 100 on this chart will always be occupied by the current leader of the British Basketball League. (Sorry, Bosna Asa fans…)
But without further ado – quite a bit of ado has transpired already – the first official BallinEurope Top 100 follows. Enjoy!
1. Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR), 88.3 points
2. FC Barcelona (ESP), 84.5
3. Montepaschi Siena (ITA), 84.3
4. Žalgiris Kaunas (LTU), 82.75
5. (tie) Real Madrid (ESP), 82
5. (tie) Union Olimpija (SLO), 82
7. Fenerbahçe Ülker (TUR), 81.6
8. (tie) Olympiacos (GRE), 77.3
8. (tie) Panathinaikos (GRE), 77.3 – How can you not love this result from the BiE calculator? And who else wouldn’t be surprised to see these two teams in the Euroleague finals? And how many more days is it until January 12?
10. Brose Baskets Bamberg (GER), 77
11. (tie) Caja Laboral Baskonia (ESP), 75
11. (tie) Partizan Belgrade (SER), 75
13. Lietuvos Rytas (LTU), 73.7
14. Efes Pilsen (TUR), 72.3
15. (tie) Power Electronics Valencia (ESP), 72
15. (tie) Unicaja Malaga (ESP), 72
17. BC Khimki Moscow region (RUS), 70.25
18. CSKA Moscow (RUS), 68 – The Red Army may have been ignominiously bounced from Euroleague play, but they’re 4-2 in Russia and 5-0 in the VTB league.
19. Cholet Basket (FRA), 66.5
20. Lottomatica Roma (ITA), 65.8
21. AJ Milano (ITA), 64.4
22. BC Azovmash (UKR), 62.8 – The top non-Euroleague team on the Top 100, Azovmash has one of those top-heavy schedules that is artificially inflating their score; the Ukrainian side has been bounced from the Eurocup after going 2-4 in pool play, so likely this is where they’ll peak.
23. Tartu Rock (EST), 61.7 – Ditto goes for good ol’ Tartu, too.
24. Asseco Prokom (POL), 60.75
25. Norrkoping Dolphins (SWE), 56.75
26. BK Ventspils (LAT), 54.5
27. Budivelnik (UKR), 54
28. Cibona Zagreb (CRO), 52 – This was the club BiE checked for first in making up the Top 100. To wit, how would this Hindenburg of a season reflect in Cibona’s ranking? No. 28 seems realistic enough, sandwiched as they are between a Eurocup Last 16 team and apparently the worst Euroleague team for 2010-11. And this might be as high as Cibona climbs this season!
29. Spirou Charleroi (BEL), 50
30. Unics Kazan (RUS), 49.55
31. Alba Berlin (GER), 48
32. (tie) Dnipro (UKR), 47.5
32. (tie) VEF Riga (LAT), 47.5 – VEF Riga deserves some sort of diplomacy award; they played the first season in VTB, Baltic and Eurocup leagues, the only side to do so in 2010-11.
34. Buducnost (MNT), 45.8
35. Siauliai (LTU), 45.7
36. KK Krka (SLO), 42.25
37. Deutsche Bank Skyliners (GER), 44.85
38. BG Goettingen (GER), 44.8
39. Galatasaray Café Crown (TUR), 44.6 – At 10-3, however, Galatasaray is now knotted atop the TBL table.
40. Gasterra Flames (NED), 43.2
41. CEZ Nymburk (CZE), 43
42. Hemofarm Stada (SER), 42.9
43. Honka Espoo Playboys (FIN), 42.75 – An all-time BiE favorite ahead of three Spanish squads? BiE loves this chart!
44. Rudupis (LTU), 42.7
45. (tie) Cajasol Sevilla (ESP), 41.4
45. (tie) Gran Canaria 2014 (ESP), 41.4
47. EWE Baskets Oldenburg (GER), 41.2
48. (tie) KTP Basket KOTKA (FIN), 40
48. (tie) Benetton Bwin Basket (ITA), 40 – Weren’t these guys playing Euroleague ball not that long ago? And now they’re comparable to a Finnish squad? Yeesh.
49. Asefa Estudiantes (ESP), 39.9
50. Bennet Cantu (ITA), 39.1
51. BC Donetsk (UKR), 39
52. (tie) Banvit BK (TUR), 38.8
52. (tie) Telekom Baskets Bonn (GER), 38.8
54. Hapoel Jerusalem (ISR), 37.8
55. BK Prostejov (CZE), 37.75
56. KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje (CRO), 37.5
57. Helsinn Lugano Tigers (SUI), 37
58. KK Zadar (CRO), 36.75
59. Aris BSA (GRE), 36.5
60. Beşiktaş Cola Turka (TUR), 36.2 – How much longer will Allen Iverson fume playing for a Memphis Grizzlies-resembling squad?
61. Khimik Yuzhny (UKR), 36
62. Lukoil Academic Sofia (BUL), 35.75
63. SLUC Nancy (FRA), 35.475
64. Szolnoki Olaj (HUN), 35.25 – Ah, Hungarian basketball at its finest.
65. Le Mans (FRA), 35.125
66. Chorale Roanne (FRA), 35.1
67. Asvel Basket (FRA), 34.8
68. Maccabi Haifa (ISR), 34.65
69. Pinar Karsiyaka (TUR), 34.6
70. BC Minsk 2006 (BLR), 34.25
71. Gravelines Dunkerque (FRA), 34.2
72. Ferro-ZNTU (UKR), 34
73. Pepsi Caserta (ITA), 33.9
74. Artland Dragons (GER), 33.6
75. Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (ISR), 33.3 – BiE wonders what the odds are on a repeat Ligat HaAl championship for Gilboa/Galil are…
76. Panellinios BC (GRE), 32.2
77. Turk Telecom Ankara (TUR), 32.1
78. PAOK BC (GRE), 31.95
79. KK Siroki TT Kabeli (BIH), 31.5
80. (tie) Leiden Basketball (NED), 31
80. (tie) LF Basket (SWE), 31
82. Barak Netanya (ISR), 30.75
83. Antwerp Giants (BEL), 30.25
84. Oostende (BEL), 29.5
85. Dexia Mons-Hainaut (BEL), 29.25
86. Orleanaise Loiret (FRA), 29.125
87. BC Lokomotiv Kuban (RUS), 28.7
88. Spartak St. Petersburg (RUS), 28.6
89. KK Radnicki (SER), 28.5
90. (tie) BC Kyiv (UKR), 28
90. (tie) FMP (SER), 28 – At 14-0 in Serbia and playing in no other league, FMP is looking to hold a position on the Top 100 … until the big kids get home from school and the Serbian Superleague is in full swing.
92. (tie) Apoel Nicosia (CYP), 27.25
92. (tie) Lisboa e Benfica (POR), 27.25
94. (tie) CSU Asesoft Ploiesti (ROM), 27
94. (tie) KK Igokea (BIH), 27
96. Belgacom Liege (BEL), 26.25
97. Anwil Wloclawek (POL), 26.2
98. KK Crvena zvezda (SER), 25.5
99. Krasnye Krylia (RUS), 24.95
100. Liverpool Mersey Tigers (GB), n/a
Bubbling under: Bosna Asa (BIH), 24; Steaua-Turabo (ROM), 24; Kalev (EST), 22.75; Enterprise Dynamo Moscow (RUS), 22.15; ETHA Encomi (CYP), 22; Nevezis (LTU), 20.7; Okapi Aalstar (BEL), 20; Kalev/Kramo (EST), 19.55; Perlas (LTU), 19.55; Paris Levallois (FRA), 19.125; BC NN Nizhny Novgorod (RUS), 18.2; Trefl Sopot (POL), 18; Liepaja Lauvas (LAT), 17.25; Keravnos (CYP), 17; TTU/Kalev (EST), 16.1; Cedevita Zagreb (CRO), 16; Helios Domzale (SLO), 15; Valmiera (LAT), 14.95; BC Enisey (RUS), 14.85; Triumph Lyubertsy (RUS), 10.8.