By: Sam Meyerkopf / @euro_adventures
Face it. Olympiacos has been spoiled the last two years with point guard play. Maybe the best point guard combo going in Europe, Olympiacos frustrated other defenses with a mix of Milos Teodosic and Theo Papaloukas the past couple seasons. Shooting and size, young and old, a flair for the dramatic and loads of experience.
But Teodosic left for CSKA Moscow and Papaloukas for Maccabi Electra this offseason, leaving the Reds in a bit of a mess.
Olympiacos has used a variety of different options at the point from Vassilis Spanoulis, Martynas Gecevicius, Kalin Lucas and Dimitrios Katsivelis.
Spanoulis’s assist numbers aren’t bad (4.5 a game), but he’s got the biggest scoring itch out there and shouldn’t be the primary offensive facilitator.
Martynas Gecevicius is still developing his point skills and is best used as a perimeter shooter at the moment.
Former Michigan State grad and Big Ten POY Kalin Lucas was nicked up at the start of the season and hasn’t had much of a chance to fit into the rotation with only 27 minutes over three games. Katsivelis has been a nice spark of youthful energy so far but he’s too out of control and not seasoned enough to run the offense full time.
Now Olympiacos is 1-3, with walls closing in fast and a deep hole at the most important position on the floor. They’re the 21st ranked team in the Euroleague in assists, one spot above winless KK Zagreb.
Lazaros Papadopoulos has helped ease some of the passing burden by dishing out 2.8 assists of his own. A passing big is a nice weapon to have, but only slightly takes away the need for an upgrade at floor general.
So here are some possible additions Olympiacos might consider, some dreamier than others.
(Please bring Rubio. Pretty please. Thanks.)
Nemanja Nedovic, Crvena Zvezda
A Euroleague team scout told us earlier this year that Crvena Zvezda stud prospect Nemanja Nedovic was very disappointed in his playing time and usage this season and wanted a transfer. Nedovic has since seen his playing time go up, but ruffled feathers don’t always flatten back out and Nemanja might want his shot on Europe’s brightest stage. But would the 20-year-old Serb be ready?
Khalid El-Amin, Recovering from Injury
Does anyone else remember the heroics Khalid El-Amin displayed last year for Lietuvous Rytas? He came in mid season and had Rytas on the brink of making the playoffs. He tore up his quadriceps at the end of last year, but if his recovery is going well, El-Amin could be an option. And it’s not like he crossed up Marcelnho Huertas for a game winner last year or anything.
Ricky Rubio, Locked Out
Maybe this lockout things has legs, maybe it lasts the whole year, maybe that maybe is much closer to a probably and that probably might land Ricky Rubio in another European uniform. Right now Rubio is playing “high level pickup ball and training” in California, developing hopefully. But how much longer until his development realizes it needs to play in some real games?
Barcelona doesn’t really need him, and would Rubio come back just to be Huertas’s backup anyway? I’m not so sure. There’s a chance he wouldn’t want to leave Spain—he’s said so himself—but he also wouldn’t want to pass up a chance on a Euroleague squad. Rubio didn’t exactly set the world on fire last year, but he’s better than the other options on Olympiacos’ roster.
Kyrie Irving, Locked Out
BallinEurope’s Os Davis let us into the mind of #1 overall pick Kyrie Irving, who has the basketball bug and wants to play. Irving has international experience playing with Team USA and would be an upgrade over Lucas. The question is, with limited action last year with Duke University thanks to a foot injury, how much dust would Irving need to shake off?
Theo Papaloukas, Maccabi Electra
And lastly, I couldn’t really imagine Theo Papaloukas coming back to Olympiacos this season, but it’s not like Maccabi hasn’t tried to trade him out already.