All of the best Euroleague Final Four coverage from ELA and our friends around the globe. Rolling updates all the way until the trophy is handed out. If you see a story worth linking, let me know on Twitter @euro_adventures or share it on our Facebook page.
Barcelona: Big Bad Barca |
Real Madrid: Season-Ending Sergio |
Olympiacos: The Champs Are Here |
CSKA Moscow: Get Mad, Moscow |
Wednesday, May 8
We start the day with an open letter from Simon Jatsch of In-The-Game.org to Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu. ITG was denied credentials for the Final Four, along with the incomparable Eurohopes and European Prospects, the two-headed scouting monster that’s kept Europe and the world up to date on our game’s most exciting young players. I have never spoken to an agent, fellow European basketball journalist or international NBA scout who isn’t familiar with all three. As for ITG, Simon’s contributions in the advanced statistical field aren’t only unmatched, they’re unapproachable. These three sites have collectively filled two of the most vital and trendy niches in the European basketball blogosphere—advanced metrics and prospects—and I can’t wait to read what they’ll produce this weekend from both the Final Four and the NIJT. -In-The-Game.org
Another day, another fascinating nugget from Euro-Step.net’s Countdown to London series. This one about Marcelinho Huertas’ significance within the Barca offense comes from our own Rob Scott:
Barcelona finished out the playoffs with the 5th best offensive rating in the league, at 110.6 points per 100 possessions, but that jumped up to 113.2 with the Brazilian point guard maestro on the floor, which is better than top-ranked CSKA Moscow.
Read the entire, pace-adjusted piece here. (That’s right; I double-linked it.) -Euro-Step.net
London is Rob Scott’s stomping ground, so get used to hearing from and seeing him this week. Now that Sam has touched down in the United Kingdom, Rob thought he’d show the Amurrrican around. First up, a trip to London’s Tower Bridge to discuss: would you rather have Khryapa-Kaun or Reyes-Slaughter down low?
Then they headed to the House of Parliament (also known as the Palace of Westminster, which undoubtedly sounds fancier) to talk about Theo Papaloukas and Vassilis Spanoulis.
Guess they weren’t kidding about that London wind. Special thanks to @georgerowland for braving the elements to capture this footage. -ELA
“I need more Rob Scott,” you’re probably saying aloud as you pound a single, balled fist on your desk. I know you do. Breathe easily. Here’s his Real Madrid preview over on Euro-Step, where he tells us which play and which player will be key to Los Blancos London hopes. -Euro-Step.net
You thought Rod Higgins wasn’t going to write an Olympiacos preview? Come on, son. -Euro-Step.net
Os Davis and Dave Hein never flop; they get their feet set and take the contact. On the newest Taking the Charge podcast, TalkBasket personality and ELA drinking buddy John Swiss Hobbs (@johnswisshobbs) drops by to answer this question: do Londoners even know there’s a basketball tourney in their city this weekend? Then we’ve got some British Basketball talk (I see you, Leicester Riders) and, of course, plenty of Final Four banter and analysis. It’s three smart dudes talking about European basketball. We only get that sort of IQ here when @sJacas joins the show. -heinnews.com
And in a non-London link, Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net was in the building to see Aris rename their arena Nikos Galis Hall in honor of one of Europe’s greatest scorers. It’s about time. Here’s Nikos dropping a Greek NT record 53 points on Panama at the World Championships in Spain.
Galis led the tourney in scoring at 33.5 PPG, but the MVP that year went to another pretty decent guard named Drazen Petrovic. -Eurohoops.net
Over at the Mothership, Frank Lawlor urges us to ‘beware the wounded animal’ that is Barcelona while Frankie Sachs—Mr. Euroleague himself—pays tribute to the beautiful basketball played in the Spanish capital. -Euroleague.net
And lastly, if you were looking for an exhaustively comprehensive preview of this weekend’s games in one click, check Rafael Uehara’s Final Four Preview over at The Basketball Post. He’s got you covered. -The Basketball Post
Tuesday, May 7
Os Davis over at BallinEurope breaks down the championship rematch between Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow with five flaming inquiries (hat tip: Thesaurus.com). Think last year’s match-up will stick in Nenad Krstic’s head? In Khryapa’s? In Teodosic’s? Personally I’d go no, no, and who the hell knows? But that’s because I heard Andrei Kirilenko tell us Moscow’s not a team full of robots and I rolled my eyes. I’ll give Andrei this: Milos is no robot. Alien, maybe. But not a robot. But Khryapa? Robot. Messina? Robot programming specialist. Will emotions seep into this one? Without a doubt. But I think that’ll be London pushing them to their emotional edges, not Istanbul. Plus: you wouldn’t want to miss the Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™, would you? -BallinEurope.com
Monday, May 6
The new Taking the Charge Podcast is up, and it’s a beauty. Dave Hein and Os Davis bring Jeff Taylor (aka the Voice of FIBA) on to talk about Panathinaikos fans, the Euroleague Final Four and John Elway. -heinnews.com
Uh-oh. Nathan Jawai’s hurt and he might miss Friday’s game with a partially torn tendon in his right foot. He suffered the injury over the weekend in ACB action (damn you, domestic league distractions). The barrel-chested Boomer hasn’t been anything short of exceptional in his role as a lane-clogging, putback-finishing, brick-wall-pick-setting behemoth for Barcelona inside this season. He led the Euroleague in per-minute rebounding and without his presence, Barcelona’s potential advantage on the interior against Madrid would take a serious hit. -Euroleague.net
Savas Birdal of Euro-Step pays homage to the bearded Sergio Rodriguez, who we all agree needs to keep things churning in order for Madrid’s whip to really crack. This comes as part four of Birdal’s Countdown to London series. All four have been concise and rather fucking excellent, and this one about Ante Tomic’s defensive impact takes on a much greater importance with Nathan Jawai possibly out this week for Barcelona. -Euro-step.net
A year after winning the Euroleague title with Olympiacos, Nikos Varlas catches up with Joey Dorsey to discuss his decision to leave Piraeus, his dominance in Turkey (16.3 ppg, 12.3 rpg for Gaziantepspor), and his friendship with draft prospect Giannis Adetokumbo. -Eurohoops.net