By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
ELA invites you to join us in celebrating the #JBAM Game of the Week, which takes us to Vitoria, Spain, where Caja Laboral (1-2) hosts Anadolu Efes (2-1) on Thursday at 20:45 CET (3:45 PM EST).
What does it mean to be the #JBAM Game of the Week? He’s glad you asked.
Once a week, we’ll pick a match-up that deserves 40 minutes of our undivided attention. It could be a clash between EL giants, but it’s more likely to be a game overflowing with sex appeal and pizazz; we value watchability over a winning record. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #JBAM to discuss the game—Is Sasha shooting too much? Does Efes rely too heavily on Farmar to create offense? Can Caja Laboral advance without a healthy Taylor Rochestie?—and afterwards, we’ll hop on the microphone for a short podcast (8-13 minutes) dedicated to these two teams, and these two teams only.
Now, to the game we’ve all been waiting for: Caja Laboral v. Anadolu Efes at 20:45 CET.
Why JBAM’s Watching
Anadolu Efes has transformed one of the league’s shallower backcourts into one of its most stout, defensively. Jordan Farmar and Jamon Lucas make life Hell for opposing backcourts—lockdown on one end, blow by on the other—an area in which Caja Laboral finds themselves depleted. No Taylor Rochestie (ankle) this week for the TAU Ceramicans, so the onus falls to Andres Nocioni, Milko Bjelica and a growing boy named Nemanja.
Who JBAM’s Watching
Here’s that overheated portion of Nemanja Bjelica’s career where we analyze each shot as if it were a game and every game as if it were ten. It’s when tools manifest as numbers and minutes finally seem warranted that Nemanja leaps from youngster behind the projected curve to a right-on-time star-to-be. And we can’t take oureyes off of it. Can he issue a repeat performance of last week’s 20 points (8-of-13) and 9 boards? ELA likes his chances.
Anadolu Efes leads the Euroleague in average team PIR through the first three weeks at 99. The teams that have led the EL in that category the past three seasons all made the Final Four; however, none of those three won the championship (Maccabi in 2010’11; Olympiacos in 2009-10). Last year’s leader was runner-up CSKA Moscow. Their average? Ninety-nine.
JBAM’s Autocorrect All-Stars
Dogus Balbay = Doug’s Baby
Semih Erden = Semigloss Resentment
Kerem Gonlum = Jeremy Goblin
Stanko Barac = Drankin Barack (understandably a stressful time of year)
Maciej Lampe = Navies Lamps
Nemanja Bjelica = Me Mania Bjelica
I think Efes Pilsen beats TAU Ceramica 85-81.
Sam Meyerkopf thinks TAU Ceramica beats Efes Pilsen 88-82.
Rob Scott says Efes wins 85-78.