SLAM Euroleague Preview: Missing Bo, Loving Batista

SLAM Euroleague Preview: Missing Bo, Loving Batista


by Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures

Read full article on SLAM Online.

The Euroleague’s ridiculously long hiatus came to a close last week, and these previews took an additional six days off. Why wait any longer?

“Last” week’s record: 10-2. Overall: 62-33.

Group E

Caja Laboral (1-0) vs. Lietuvos Rytas (0-1)

Mirza Teletovic’s Nikes had forgotten what the paint felt like. Marcus Haislip was dealing with injuries and an inability to rebound. And Stanko Barac? Arguably outperforming current Spur and former Caja Laboralian Tiago Splitter; but what’s that worth if it’s a solo show down low? Next to nothing. So it was time to put Stanko next to something. The something they scooped up looks a lot like Uruguayan big man Esteban Batista, former Atlanta Hawk and second-leading rebounder in the ACB. Initial returns are encouraging: 10 points and 14 boards in last week’s road win over Spanish rival Unicaja. Lietuvos Rytas has a slew of big men Caja could appreciate, yet Aleksander Trifunovic refuses to play the lottery-bound Jonas Valanciunas in important stretches despite his incredible efficiency (second in the EL in per-minute rebounds, 74 percent from the field) and willingness to play within the system. Last week Lietuvos Rytas was outworked at home. This time they’ll be outclassed on the road. Caja Laboral.

Panathinaikos (1-0) vs. Unicaja (0-1)

For a 6-9 Greek All-Star, Kostas Kaimakoglou did a hell of a job blending in for the season’s first eight weeks. Stuck in Zeljko Obradovic’s strategically whimsical rotation after a brilliant season with Maroussi, Kostas danced just north of DNP territory on a handful of nights. Then after a couple warm-ups in weeks 9 and 10, the 27-year-old jumped into a 31-minute stint and came to the surface with 16 points and Continue Reading…