Hoopsquad Hierarchy: Live Freeland or Die Hard

David Stern wrapped up his half of the 2006 NBA Draft by handing Joel Freeland to the Portland Trailblazers.  Besides a Summer League stint here and there, the big Brit has made his hay in Europe, landing in Malaga for the 2009-10 season after a particularly successful season with Gran Canaria that saw him average 15 points and 7 boards in their four Eurocup contests.

Now Freeland is manning the post as well as any Euroleaguer and with Terrell McIntyre out, he’s single handedly keeping Unicaja alive. This week, they find themselves in the top ten.

RankTeam (EL record)What they did to get here and who's up next...Last Week
1Maccabi Electra (6-1)Doron Perkins is back to his 2009-10 self, leading his team in rebounding from the point guard position: 6.8 RPG after only 6 total in his first two games under David Blatt. Thursday vs. Partizan1 (68-71 W at Zalgiris)
2Fenerbahçe Ülker (6-1)17 points, 4 assists, zero turnovers and 7/9 from the field for a 25 RKG in just 16 minutes. Roko Ukic is challenging Dimitris Diamantidis for the title of "Most Efficient PG." Thursday vs. Regal Barcelona2 (100-70 W vs. Cibona)
3Montepaschi Siena (6-1)It's nice to know Ksistof Lavrinovic can play more than 16 minutes if he has to. Even nicer win by 18 when he doesn't. Wednesday at Cibona3 (90-72 W vs. Lietuvos Rytas)
4Regal FC Barcelona (5-2)With Mickael out an additional two months after surgery on his knee, Joe Ingles needs to the train rollin'.Thursday at Fenerbahçe Ülker4 (76-62 W vs. Cholet)
5Union Olimpija (5-2)Saso Ozbolt and his posse will be out for blood this week against Mike Batiste, his giant foot and the rest of the Greens. Thursday at Panathinaikos8 (82-75 W vs. AJ Milano)
6Olympiacos (5-2)At home, they're smoother than the Globetrotters; on the road, your local YMCA All-Stars could make them break a sweat. I'm not sure if they care less or just can't sleep on the plane ride, but with consecutive road games ahead they better shape up. Thursday at Unicaja9 (86-69 W vs. Brose Baskets)
7Panathinaikos (5-2)Panathinaikos has been out rebounded in both games without Aleks Maric, and I'm putting that partially on Antonis Fotsis. If he's not going to make the shots (2-8 last two weeks), he might as well take advantage of his size and crash the boards. I'm not pleased with his level of effort. Thursday vs. Union Olimpija11 (68-72 W at CSKA Moscow)
8Unicaja (4-3)After registering his worst game of the season against Real Madrid in week two (9 points, 2 rebounds for a RKG of 6), Joel Freeland gets in there for 15 and 10. No one player means more to his team than Joel Freeland does for Unicaja. Thursday vs. Olympiacos12 (75-71 W vs. Real Madrid)
9Zalgiris (4-3)They missed a golden opportunity to take down the leaders last week at home. This team is as balanced as any, but somebody needs to establish himself as the closer. Thursday at Asseco Prokom5 (68-71 L vs. Maccabi)
10Efes Pilsen (4-3)They'll be kicking themselves all the way back to Istanbul if they can't take advantage of their size this week in Italy. Wednesday at AJ Milano6 (62-56 L at Valencia)
11Partizan (4-3)After turning it over on his first iso opportunity, Curtis Jerrells tightened it up and made the most of his debut, scoring 13 in a losing effort. We'll see what he can do against Jeremy Pargo and mighty Maccabi. Thursday at Maccabi7 (92-65 L at BC Khimki)
12Valencia (3-4)They've clawed their way back into the Group D picture with back-to-back wins under head coach Svetislav Pesic, who has played his young stars big minutes and entrusted them with his strict defensive schemes. Now it's up to veterans like Dusko Savanovic and Robertas Javtokas to keep them focused going forward. Wednesday at CSKA Moscow14 (62-56 W vs. Efes Pilsen)
13Virtus Roma (4-3)Overshadowed by Darius Washington's 27-point MVP performance was Nihad Djedovic's breakout game of 16 points, 5 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals in an incredible 37 minutes per game. He backed it up this week in the Italian League with a 27-point performance of his own. Thursday at Real Madrid13 (95-83 W vs. Spirou)
14Real Madrid (4-3)If Sergio Rodriguez thought he had issues as the prime ball handler, I wonder how tough a time he'll have getting into his rhythm with Pablo Prigioni sharing his minutes. He turned it over three times and went 0/4 in 14 minutes against Unicaja. Messina has work to do. Thursday vs. Roma10 (75-71 L at Unicaja)
16Armani Jeans Milano (3-4)Milano has the tiebreaker over Valencia so far, but they'd be better off beating Efes at home to avoid any funny business. Wednesday vs. Efes Pilsen15 (82-75 L at Union Olimpija)
15BC Khimki (3-4)After looking strong in the early going, Khimki had fallen flat. Langford seemed to get lost in the shuffle and the offense seemed disorganized. They were aiming, not firing. Last week, however, things clicked. Langford found the holes and hit the shots, Benjamin Eze beat four shots around the rim, and Zoran Planinic took hold of that number two scorer's spot that's been waiting for him all year. Thursday at Caja Laboral18 (92-65 W vs. Partizan)
17Asseco Prokom (2-5)Daniel Ewing with Bobby Brown: 1.8 AST/4 TO, 10.2 RKG. Daniel Ewing without Bobby Brown: 4 AST: 1 TO, 15 RKG. Asseco Prokom has won two straight since Brown's departure, and it looks like Ewing's doing just fine. Thursday vs. Zalgiris23 (75-81 W at Caja Laboral)
18Spirou Charleroi (2-5)A streaky player throughout his career, Joseph Gomis has been refreshingly reliable this season offensively and his usual beastly self on the other end. As for Chris Hill, I'm tired of asking for more. I guess it just ain't happenin'.Wednesday vs. Brose Baskets16 (95-83 L at Virtus Roma)
19Cholet (3-4)Losses to Siena and Barcelona are understandable. Next up: Lietuvos Rytas and Cibona. The table's set for their advancement. They can't screw this up. Thursday at Lietuvos Rytas19 (76-62 L at Barcelona)
20Caja Laboral (2-5)I've lauded Group A because of its depth, but it's not exactly murderer's row either. Zalgiris takes a lot of risks, Partizan has holes on the perimeter, Prokom plays no defense and Khimki lacks punch when Langford goes cold. Caja has no excuse for the mess they're in.Wednesday vs. Asseco Prokom17 (75-81 L vs. Asseco Prokom)
21Brose Baskets Bamberg (2-5)Their last win came in week three against the very opponent they face this week. A fourth straight loss and they're toast. Thursday vs. Lottomatica Roma21 (86-69 L at Olympiacos)
22Lietuvos Rytas (1-6)They're not officially eliminated, but the mathematics sure aren't on their bench. First order of business: a win vs. Cholet this week by 5+ to set up a possible tiebreaker. If they lose, it's bye-bye Bjelica and friends. Thursday vs. Cholet20 (90-72 L at Montepaschi Siena)
23CSKA Moscow (1-6)Jamont Gordon played 12 minutes last week. Am I missing something? Wednesday vs. Valencia22 (68-72 L vs. Panathinaikos)
24Cibona (0-7)Apparently, the players aren't getting paid and are on strike until Wednesday's game. Does it even matter if they show? Wednesday vs. Montepaschi Siena24 (100-70 L at Fenerbahçe Ülker)
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