By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
Milos’ shaving regimen has seemingly intensified since his arrival in Moscow, while in Madrid, Rudy’s beard reminds us all that he’s home, if his 14.5 points per game hadn’t already done that for you.
Sergio Llull, Jaycee Carroll, and Nikola Mirotic are all averaging double figures, too, in the league’s most aggressively inclusive line-up.
It might get scarier.
1. Real Madrid (1A): As it turns out, Real Madrid is not the highest scoring team in the Euroleague like we thought they’d be (shout out to Denny Verde). But they are second, and the Shooting Bobby Browns won’t be able to feast on the Berlins, Elan-Chalons, and Prokoms of the world anymore. With the richest rotation on the continent, Madrid can feast on anyone they damn well please, especially with Barcelona held at bay in Group F.
2. Zalgiris Kaunas (1C): I mean, come on. They lost to Cedevita. We told you guys that putting all these old dudes on the same team was a bad idea.
(I’m sorry, Kaunas. I’ve changed, I promise. I’m more mature now. You’ll see. Please, take me back.)
3. Unicaja Malaga (2B): Marcus Williams has nine assists in Unicaja’s closing win over Elan-Chalon, but misses all six of his threes. Before he chucks the next one (37.3 percent from downtown, slightly better still than his 36.4 percent from two), he should check to see if Earl Calloway (60 percent, 52.8 percent) is open. That’s the sort of deference that will make this at-times dynamic duo max out their production.
4. CSKA Moscow (2D): After eclipsing three assists just once in the season’s first six weeks, Milos Teodosic would like you to reconsider his credentials as a distributor; the fuzzy, loveable Serb averaged 8.25 dimes the rest of the way, even with a paltry two as CSKA knocked off the (then) 9-0 Barca in week ten. His steals are up during that same stretch, from just over one to just over two. Stats are merely stats, but Milos has shown me that he’s the key to Championship CSKA vs. Hope For The Best In The Playoffs CSKA.
And now, Milos.
But this guy has helped, too.
5. Panathinaikos Athens (3A): Lose a legendary coach like Zeljko Obradovic, a defensively vital component like Romain Sato, a loyal lifer like Mike Batiste and a host of others with multiple Final Fours on their résumés—Nick Calathes, Aleks Maric, Stratos Perperoglou, Sarunas Jasikevicius—in an offseason, and then come to find the owner accusing his own blood of betraying him and stringing together lie after lie to keep the club’s financial shortcomings a secret? Six and four. It’s just Panny being Panny.
6. Anadolu Efes Istanbul (3C): In their last four, they won a game: 81-73 in Cedevita, week eight. The other three were losses of 22 at Olympiacos (given the Reds’ hotness, almost forgiven), 15 vs. Caja Laboral (less so; absolutely no heart in this one), and another by 18 in week ten at Kaunas (no offensive rhythm or effort, whatsoever). After a 3-1 start, it seems you can trust Anadolu Efes as about as far as you can throw Esteban Batista.
7. Alba Berlin (4B): After hard fought wins against Asseco Prokom (by three) and Elan-Chalon twice (by three and five), Berlin is looking around and wondering what happened to all the teams they slithered past to get here. Oh, hey look, it’s Siena! We really took it to those guys in week one! Yes, you did. And then Siena got better, while you stayed the same. Now, without point guard Vule Avdalovic (knee ligaments) for the rest of the season, you’re worse. Can former EWE Baskets Oldenburg legend Je’Kel Foster come in from Spirou and turn things around? I think not.
8. Brose Baskets Bamberg (4D): I can’t remember such benevolent vibrations blanketing a three win team whose second biggest moment of the year was a desperation mid-ranger off glass to secure a five-point loss to Lietuvos Rytas, easily a bottom four collection of Euroleague talent. But after Moment No. 1—an OT win against Partizan in the game of the year—got them here in week ten, Bostjan Nachbar and the deserving city of Bamberg probably don’t much care what I can or cannot remember.