By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
You guys will never guess who made the All-Euroleague team: Juan Carlos Navarro. Mike Batiste, too. About time those guys got some recognition.
No doubt that those two have had stellar careers and won ‘ships for two of the most historic clubs in European basketball. But that’s just it: these feel like little more than lifetime achievement awards.
Need proof? Read the write-up on Euroleague.net for Batiste. It mentions his all-time record for two-pointers made, the fact that Panathinaikos has won Greek titles in all of his nine seasons and that he’s on the verge of a fourth Euroleague title, using words like steady, over the years and career top ten. The only mentions of this season’s production cite his two offensive rebounds per game and his 10.6 average PIR, which while second on his Greens, is only 38th best in the EL.
Similar story for Navarro, whose write-up opened like this:
By becoming the Turkish Airlines Euroleague’s all-time top scorer this season, FC Barcelona Regal superstar Juan Carlos Navarro added another milestone to his already legendary career.
I guess we should have seen that one coming.
It does mention that his 17.3 ppg in the playoffs were second best in that phase (Mr. Kirilenko was tops at 17.5), but a three game sweep over an outclassed UNICS Kazan team is not enough to erase my memories of sitting in Palau Blaugrana for Barcelona home games and thinking to myself that La Bomba, normally the star, was merely a spurt scorer and a complementary cog in Xavi Pascual’s defensive machine.
Navarro’s ability to put the ball in the bucket has never been and will never be questioned on this site, nor will the fact that he’s an all-time great. But injuries cost him three weeks for Barca, and his contributions to his team’s success were hardly more impactful than, say, Kostas Vasiliadis of Bilbao, whose quick trigger and 14 threes in the Top 16 kept defenses off balance as much as anyone.
And then there are the guys whose contributions were clearly more valuable, more consistent and more well-rounded: Galatasaray’s Jamon Lucas, whose quick hands and iron will were reminiscent of a pre-injury Doron Perkins; Keith Langford, who did a better Navarro impression than Navarro himself on a Maccabi team that sorely lacked outside punch once Jordan Farmar returned to Prokhorov’s arms; and Cantu’s Vladimir Micov who, despite Giorgi Shermadini’s brilliance (more brilliant than Batiste, just so we’re clear), was Cantu’s heartbeat and a more versatile offensive weapon than anyone outside of AK15.
Clearly, voters are wary of giving these awards to folks who won’t be playing in Istanbul. In fact, Bo McCalebb and Henry Domercant are the only non-Final Fourers to make the cut. Therefore, the flaws might be systematic more than anything.
Your 2011-12 All-Euroleaguers:
Mike Batiste, Panathinaikos
Dimitris Diamantidis, Paanthinaikos
Henry Domercant, UNICS Kazan
Andrei Kirilenko, CSKA Moscow
Nenad Krstic, CSKA Moscow
Erazem Lorbek, Barcelona Regal
Bo McCalebb, Montepaschi Siena
Juan Carlos Navarro, Barcelona Regal
Vassilis Spanoulis, Olympiacos
Milos Teodosic, CSKA Moscow
All that remains is sorting them between first and second teams. For the record, I’ve got no quarrel with seven of the names above; Teodosic’s inclusion at least warrants a little debate, while Batiste and Navarro—well, I think you know where I stand on those fellas by now.
Would it be the worst thing in the world if both Panathinaikos and Barcelona were singly represented? Should making a Final Four instantly entitle you to 20 percent of the All-Euroleague spots?
No it shouldn’t, just as a solid track record should not supersede one spectacular season.
Or maybe you think Navarro and Batiste earned their accolades. Vote for your biggest snub below, then tell us why in the comments section. For bonus points, leave your All-Euroleague teams down there, too.