By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
And the NBA exodus continues…
Ersan Ilyasova, Anadolu Efes via Milwaukee Bucks
A Euroleague Final Four here, a couple unspectacular Milwaukee years there, and suddenly Ersan is 27 years old. No longer the skillful lanky Turk who might turn into something nasty, he’s just the skillful lanky Turk who is what he is: a skillful lanky Turk. And that’s enough to make Efes take out their checkbook. Again.
Jordan Farmar, Maccabi Electra via New Jersey Nets
I honestly didn’t expect to see this. An established franchise coming off of a Final Four appearance, with a solid backcourt intact, stretching out to grab a rental. Maybe the lockout lasts the entire year, meaning Jordan’s services would as well, but maybe it doesn’t. Maybe Jon Scheyer glues his butt to the bench and lets Farmar poach his minutes and sap Maccabi of its chemistry right before boarding a plane for New Jersey when Billy Hunter tells him it’s all right to do so. Stick with your guys, Coach Blatt.
Nicolas Batum, SLUC Nancy via Portland Trailblazers
Now this one. This one makes sense. In a league which has notoriously made short work of weaker French clubs over the years, the newest sheep adds a lion to its arsenal. Walkover, no more.
Martynas Gecevicius, Olympiacos via Lietuvos Rytas
Olympiacos is quietly putting together a team that might surprise some people. The Reds wouldn’t have been able to sneak up on anyone in the past, but all the attention on financial woes and budget cuts has softened the once imposing shadow Olympiacos has cast over the league since 2008 or so. Gecevicius is a first class shooter who’s figured out how to play with Lietuvos Rytas. Injuries and lack of positional depth may be the best thing that ever happened to Martynas, as necessity dictated his move over to the point for quarters or even games at a time. Spanoulis will gladly accept his dump offs, though, and his job will be much the same as it is on the national team: stroke jumpers.
D’Or Fischer, Bilbao Basket via Real Madrid
Thank goodness D’Or’s out of the world’s deepest frontcourt. It’s time for vintage, Maccabi-Electra-in-2009 D’Or Fischer. I desire these things for selfish reasons, of course, as he was the Euroleague’s second-leading shot blocker at 1.43 per game en route to a Final Four with Madrid last season. Not a bad season by any stretch, but a move to Basque country would inflate his numbers to frightening levels. Plus, after re-upping their vets (Aaron Jackson, Alex Mumbru, Josh Fisher) and signing another (Raul Lopez), it was about time for an impact acquisition.
PJ Tucker, Brose Baskets via Quebradillas Pirates (Puerto Rico)
Although he’s coming over from Puerto Rico, Tucker’s European teeth are sufficiently cut, sharpened, and ready to chomp down. He’s found success in Israel, Ukraine, Montenegro and Greece since 2003 and has put the ball in the bucket every stop of the way. He’ll give Bamberg the muscle they lost in Kyle Hines with an extra gear from the perimeter.
Acie Law, Partizan via Golden State Warriors
Law has a distinct edge over the last two Americans, Curtis Jerrells and Bo McCalebb, to wear his shoes, and that’s a preseason. Instead of being thrust into the fire several games into the season, Law gets to figure out where Dusan Kecman likes the ball; how Vladimir Lucic likes to oop his alleys; how to call plays in a new language. If he can find a level of success somewhere between Jerrells’ and McCalebb’s, he’ll make some friends in Belgrade.
Federico Bolzonella, NGC Cantu via Copra Morpha Piacenza
Don’t let the 13.6 ppg get you too excited; it was in the third division. But don’t hate the player; hate the division.
Let’s get these boys all lined up:
|He's here because... #colspan#
|Last DLU #colspan#
|The EL's most clean cut franchise adds the Shooting Stoner to a backcourt that just lost a pair of legends in Trajan Langdon and JR Holden. Good thing Milos' brain doesn't process pressure.
|Can't wait to see him play extended, consistent minutes. The most efficient big in Europe is about to get a big test.
|Batum alone can't make them a contender, but he can make them watchable. Now it's time to go get some help.
|With Marcelinho in the fold, arca's starting line up looks more like an All-Euroleague team.
|The two-time ACB scoring champ is ready for his EL debut. He won't be able to sneak up on the Spanish teams anymore, but everyone else: hide your kids, hide your wife.
|Ever since he vanished from Maccabi's roster two seasons ago, I've been itching to see him in the EL again. He's primed to explode.
|You won't find many 26-year-olds as mature as Bojan (still just 22); now it's time to be assertive and create a role for yourself, big guy. As the star.
|Welcome back to Turkey, my friend. It's not quite the Barcelona team you left a couple seasons ago, but it might be even more stacked.
|Boston's trash is CSKA's treasure, as Krstic will add to Moscow's already stellar defensive front of Khryapa, Kaun and now Darjus Lavrinovic.
|A 24-year-old center who rarely makes mistakes and still has room to grow. Yeah, OK. We'll take him.
|Indifferent to pace or pairings, Stevey Bats gets boards as well or better than the rest. If he and Barac can figure each other out, it's lights out for the rest of Turkey.
|With a frontcourt of Bourousis, Radosevic and Fotsis and Omar Cook at the point, all Milano needs to fall in with the elite is a dynamic small forward. Well, damn.
|Bizkaia. Bilbao. Basket. Blocks. All start with B's. Weird. But not really.
|"Stop telling me and show me, Sasha."
|His enthusiasm is neither a front nor compensation for a lack of skill. Ülker's no Partizan, fan-wise, but they're getting there. A couple oops from Gist should accelerate that process.
|After two seasons, he's back in the Euroleague where he belongs. Excellent.
|Don't expect another All-EL season from Dusko, but be ready for some big shots in some big moments. And sweat. There will be plenty of sweat.
|Put Davis Bertans on the floor with Woodside and watch the shots fly up. Neither one's what I would call bashful.
|For the first time in three seasons, Partizan can build a core around a PG rather than throwing one into the mix once the train's left the station.
|This Nesterovic clone was built for the index rating. Spain should be kind to him.
|Excuse me, I've lost Real Madrid's weakness and was hoping you could help me find it.
|This Olympiacos team is going to look very un-Olymoiacos-y, but they'll have a lot less ego and only a slight shortage of talent and experience.
|Former EL scoring champ came to personify Panathinaikos' consistently unspectacular dominance. Italy's a different story, and we'll see if he still has some 20-point games left in the tank.
|This bull sees Red.
|A bright star in a dimly lit organization last year, now he'll be a key piece in the Italian Renaissance.
|The hefty hoister seems to be right at home in Russia. Now, after five Final Four-less EL seasons and in a starring role, he'll be hungrier than ever.
|Props to Sonny for making the leap, and props to Romanov for welcoming the Raptor with open arms. Think Weems has any idea what he's gotten himself into? Not a chance in Hell.
|I hope restaurants stay open late in Kazan. Nathan strikes me as a fourth meal fiend.
|Don't be surprised to see the Calathes Bros account for 40% of the starting line up next year. Pat's a perfect complement to Batiste's bruiser mentality.
|Casey Jacobsen has somebody to do the dirty work for him while he wets things up from outside.
|With his vision fully restored, the cultural adjustment is all that stands between him and an instant impact.
|The new kids on the block get proactive and pluck one of college's most well-rounded, pro ready swingmen. Me like.
|I'm not so easily enamored by the NBA names if they don't seem to fit.
|The reigning EL minutes leader will fall into an important back up role behind fellow vet Kerem Tunceri, who's had a history of nagging injuries. Stay ready, Vlado.
|An extremely reliable an oft forgotten scoring threat. He just hangs around, ends up with 12 or 13.
|Who needs Serge Ibaka when you've got Shawn James? If you think that's a stretch, check the stats. (OK, so maybe it's still a stretch.)
|Printezis, Kyle Hines, Matt Nielsen and he make up one of the tougher forward threesomes in the EL. Interesting change for team not usually renowned for its physicality.
|The milk man delivers. Plain and simple.
|Huertas is out, Huertel is in. Let's hope Thomas can process all of this newly acquired pressure.
|Tatted up, shaved down and ready to beat your ass.
|He'll be ranked higher if Unicaja asks him to assume the role he had in France last year.
|Gather 'round, children. Listen to the old man's stories.
|Olympiacos fans won't have any patience with Kalin if he can't remember how to be an elite, efficient PG.
|He should sell his house and just move into an ice tub to be safe.
|If you watch this man play, his last name starts to makes sense.
|I guess Mr. Lighty needs somebody to get him the ball. Let's see how it pans out.
|After extending super vets Bozic and Kecman (again), Partizan better hope Cakarevic can provide some bounce on the wing.
|He needs to calm down and play smart. Neither is his specialty.
|The ACB finalists finally have a new face on the bench, and it's one of experience. It's also one, however, of considerable age and injury.
|A toned down playmaker who can do a little bit of everything. Always nice to have those guys around.
|He's playing behind a fat stack of PG's.
|You might not notice him when he's out there, but his opponents will feel him the next day. (Does that sound weird? Yeah, I think it sounds weird.)
|I wish my last name were Blazic. It would make introductions more fun.