Freaknick’s Euroleague Preview in SLAM

Morris Finley is mentioned in the article...along with his dreads.

It’s not really that I’m playing it safe, but I just don’t see too many upsets this week. By now, every club knows exactly what it needs to do to keep their Top 16 dreams alive, and I think we’ll see the cream rise to the top this Wednesday and Thursday…with one or two exceptions. Check out the picks here, along with a few paragraphs about this week’s whippersnapper, Jan Vesely.

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Posted 1 week, 1 day ago at 1:48 am.

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Dreadlocks and Dutch Cookies: Things I missed in my week at sea

By: Freaknick

As part of my desperate attempt to piece together something that resembles a social life, I spent the past week singeing the skin off of my nose at Virginia Beach.  But while I was busy blinding my fellow beach-goers with Emir Preldzic-like paleness, the Euroleague world managed to keep spinning without me (crazy, I know).  So with sunburns healed and internet access restored, I’ve had a few hours to sift through the wreckage of this week’s action.  All I could muster were these bite-sized musings:

August 10-Morris Finley signs with AJ Milano…What a colossal waste!  Montepaschi Siena could have had it all: the glory, the fame, the headbands.  The Italians first showed their commitment to having the Euroleague’s most impressive collection of hairstyles when they extended All-Hair All-Star Shaun Stonerook until 2012.  Then they went a step further by adding David Moss and his crown of locks (think Lil’ Wayne in his first installment of The Carter).  If that weren’t enough, David Hawkins packed up his tightest do-rags and brought his carefully manicured head to Italy for some good old-fashioned, salon style basketball.  Hawkins’ departure clearly left AJ Milano’s hairdressers reeling from boredom, so they decided to play dirty; they plucked Finley from their Italian neighbors, thus shooting down Siena’s dream of becoming the hair to the throne.  I mourn alongside most of Europe at the thought of what could have been.  No word yet on whether a Lavrinovic/Childress swap is in the works.

Right to left (also in order of fabulousness): Hawkins, Moss, Stonerook, Finley.

August 10-Nuggets forward Linas Kleiza signs with Olympiacos…After Denver’s improbable run to the Western Conference Finals, they seem to have had their fill of winning, thank you very much. If it weren’t enough to lose defensive dynamo Dahntay Jones to the Pacers, Kleiza will now watch from afar (Greece) as the Nuggets employ an interesting strategy for conquering the NBA this season; that is, to play 82 games without a bench.  But don’t worry Denver: at least you re-signed Anthony Carter so that he can poach minutes from rookie Ty Lawson.  You really can’t blame the Nuggets for penny pinching I suppose, as J.R. Smith requires two NBA-level contracts: one for him and another for his lawyer.

August 11-Guillem Rubio signs with Unicaja…So maybe I exaggerated the Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 months ago at 3:03 am.

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Once upon a time in Group A…

By: Freaknick

Over the next four days, Slam will be laying down the previews for each group and I’ll be nipping at his heels with the top 3 stories that might emerge from each group.

Here we go.  Page one, chapter one…

Barca needs Mickael to continue his beastly ways
1. Can Pete Mickael fill the void left by Ersan Ilyasova’s departure? To say Ilyasova was inconsistent is to say World War II was a mere skirmish.  His weekly rankings during the top 16 went a little something like this: 4, 7, 39, 3, 8, 22.  So it’s not the Red and Blue will be missing a rock.  Whereas Ilyasova can bust open every third week or so, Pete Mickael’s game is a persistent display of strength and force with a side of outside shooting if he feels like it.  Barcelona has enough guys who can fill it up (Navarro, Vazquez, Lakovic), so Mickael’s toughness and consistency should both be welcome assets.  Barcelona shouldn’t have any problems getting out of this round and the next, but only a Euroleague championship will satiate their hunger this time around.

Can Zisis handle the load for Siena's shallow stable of guards?2. Will Montepaschi have the guards to compete? In the blink of an eye, Siena’s strength morphed into an area of glaring need.  With respects to JC Navarro, Terrell McIntyre was the Euroleague’s best guard in 2009.  He averaged  13 in the regular season, then 20 in the Top 16 and an eye-popping 25 in the Playoffs.  If that weren’t enough, they’ll also be without feared shooter Rimantas Kaukenas.  But all hope is not lost; they re-signed stellar big man Ksistof Lavrinovic and the wildly energetic Shaun Stonerook who can guard all 3 frontcourt positions.  Add that to the long, strong Benjamin Eze and you’ll have a chance to win every time out.  But who’s going to score from the perimeter?  Morris Finley? Not likely.  Henry Domercant?  Perhaps, but he faded down the stretch.  The brunt of the load may fall into the lap of recently acquired Nikos Zisis, who has never had to be the offensive catalyst.  Look for that to change this season.

Preldzic and Savas will try to lead Fenerbahce boldly into the future.3. Is this the year Fenerbahce Ulker grows up? If you have epilepsy, we kindly request that you close your eyes. Fenerbahce’s season was a season punctuated by flashes of brilliance that yielded sporadic results.  Oguz Savas (pictured dunking on the sliding panel on top of this very site) was the week 10 MVP and then disappointed for many of the games to follow with spotty playing time and even spottier production.  But this year will be different! Right? With veteran Mirsad Turkcan and Gordan Giricek back to stabilize things, Savas and recent Suns draft pick Emir Preldzic should feel comfortable enough to play their games without trying to do too much.  But that’s what we said last year…

And Group A lived happily ever after.

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Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 2:16 pm.

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