The European brand of basketball prides itself on emphasizing team performance rather than individual worth. That’s cool, but it would also be cool to have a crib sheet at the ready when you hear a name that piques your interest. By replacing statistics and science with subjectivity, I’ve tried to provide that here. There is no formula or criteria for any given player’s ranking, just asking myself “Is he better than him” a few hundred times until I was left with this list. It is designed for your disagreement, so don’t disappoint.
1. Linas Kleiza, Olympiacos — Kleiza is like the ‘R1’ button in Grand Theft Auto. Mix it up and kill them creatively.
2. Juan Carlos Navarro, Barcelona — His facial hair knows the deal. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
3. Aleks Maric, Partizan – When I saw his 20-20 exhibition in Denver earlier this year I knew he’d be good. But MVP good?
4. Viktor Khryapa, CSKA Moscow – I’m borrowing Chloe from ‘24’ to hack into the KGB’s surveillance system and see whether Andrei Kirilenko has been injecting him with viles of his blood from 2007.
5. Josh Childress, Olympiacos – High socks. Mouthpiece. Dirty ‘fro. Quintessential cool.
6. Milos Teodosic, Olympiacos – Daydreaming, Milos Teodosic appeared out of the mist. In a puff of smoke, Bo McCalebb dribbled into my head and a jab step later he was past Milos and into the lane. I awoke from that dream and slid Milos out of my top five.
7. Ramunas Siskauskas, CSKA Moscow – I’m guessing this is the first guy people will say I’m ‘disrespecting.’
8. Ricky Rubio, Barcelona – How this kid has flown under the radar for so long is beyond me.
9. Trajan Langdon, CSKA Moscow – Go ahead and chalk him up for at least two clutch threes in Game 1.
10. Bo McCalebb, Partizan – Nobody in the Euroleague was quicker with the ball in his hands. Some may have come close—Omar Cook, Bobby Dixon—but even they are a half-step behind.
11. Pete Mickael, Barcelona – You definitely can’t guard him and he can definitely guard you. Sucks.
12. Fran Vazquez, Barcelona – Changes more shots than a heroin addict.
13. Jan Vesely, Partizan – He’s about 8 rebounds and one big dunk away from pissing off all the NBA scouts who booked their trip to Paris before his ‘I’ll wait a year’ announcement.
14. Boniface N’Dong, Barcelona – He’ll make you say: Continue Reading…