Proof that God reads our blog: Euroleague Basketball American Tour 2009

How titillating.

By: Freaknick

If ever there were an image that defines bliss, this is it.  When I saw that Euroleague emblem plastered against an American flag backdrop, my heart jumped for joy and I promptly sent Slam a text message with so many exclamation points you would think I’m a Jonas Brother.  Even though I was told months ago that this was in the works, seeing graphic proof is a completely different kind of satisfaction.  It’s like snooping around for your Christmas presents only to discover a brand new bicycle, but the pleasure doesn’t set in until you put your feet to the pedals and fly down your driveway.

So now, whether by bike, plane, railroad or gondola, Slam and I will embark on our pilgrimage to the various basketball Meccas that will be springing up in our nation this October. For the complete details on the event, check out the Euroleague press release, but here’s what to look for this October, game by game:

  • Don your shortest shorts and admire in the fundamentals.October 3 in Denver, Colorado: Partizan Belgrade vs. Denver Nuggets. After losing so much of last year’s core, will Partizan put on a good show as the Euroleague’s first ambassador?  And with depleted depth, will they be affected by the thin Rocky Mountain air?  Breathe easy, boys.
  • October 6 in Phoenix, Arizona: Partizan Belgrade vs. Phoenix Suns. This could be where Partizan strikes as Phoenix is a team in flux that is still capable of giving up easy buckets, especially if Amare Stoudemire isn’t in the mood to defend.  Also, will Goran Dragic get homesick and sneak onto Partizan’s return flight?
  • October 9 in  San Antonio, Texas: Olympiacos Piraeus vs. San Antonio Spurs. This game should be viewed through black and white glasses as this battle of the bigs will be about as old school as it gets.  Bank shots, hook shots, reverse pivots, post, pass and re-post; George Mikan would be proud.
  • October 12 in Cleveland, Ohio: Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. I feel badly for Josh Childress.  I really do.  Of all the places for him to come showcase his Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago at 2:19 pm.

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A long time ago, in a Group B far, far away…


…Olympiacos got the easiest draw.  I’ll listen to arguments for this group’s depth, but Olympiacos is basically an exclamation point among question marks.  I’m getting ahead of myself.  So tuck yourself in and turn on the overhead lamp.  Freaknick’s about to read you a story or three…

Papaloukas needs to keep his troops focused.

1.  Will this group prepare Olympiacos for elite competition? The four teams with the best regular season record last season: Barcelona, Unicaja, Montepaschi Siena, Tau Ceramica.  Only one of those—Barca—ended up making it to Berlin.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But where there’s smoke there’s fire, and Olympiacos may smoke the competition on a weekly basis.  But BE WARNED: history shows that this may NOT  be the best way to stoke a fire that will burn long into the season.  The saving grace may be the tough competition in the Greek league, and vets like Papaloukas and Vujcic have never been the types to settle for cruise control.  What we have here is an irony unbefitting the times: Olympiacos must keep their foot on the gas if they want to have enough fuel for the postseason.

Will Rakocevic lead Efes Pilsen to the promised land?  Well then how about the Top 16?2.  Which team will be better than anyone expected? Now I know there are those of you out there who will pick Lietuvos Rytas or Efes Pilsen for the shock value and the off chance that you can look back in a year and say “I so called that.”  Meanwhile, we realists are busy trying to figure out which three teams will join Olympiacos in the field of 16.  At this point, the “other 5″ seem to be running about even, and past returns really can’t be of any use when staring into the crystal ball. Unicaja lost starters Marcus Haislip and Carlos Cabezas while Partizan lost Rising Star Novica Velickovic and team leader Milenko Tepic. Efes Pilsen had the worst Euroleague showing of the bunch but made the biggest splash by signing the league’s leading scorer, Igor Rakocevic.  The wild card here may be Eurocup champ Lietuvos Rytas, who play as if they have nothing to lose, and last year they rarely did, winning not only the Eurocup, but also the Lithuanian League, the Lithuanian Cup, the Baltic League, and the BBL Presidents Cup.  I’ll call it the Royal Flush.  And I’ll say they have as good a shot as any to lay claim to that second spot.

Robert Archibald can't do it by himself in Malaga.

3.  Who will cough up the cash to sign a difference maker? If I’ve done nothing else well over these previous 397 words, I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear that this group is wide open.  And if I were a betting man, I would wager that these five teams have had a look at the draw, and all five teams have had similar reactions, something along the lines of “Hmmm…not bad.”  Hmmm…not bad, indeed.  What would be bad would be for these teams to sit on their hands and staple their wallets instead of paying the extra coin to snag a potential starter.  Do the right thing, Group B.  B brave.

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Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 2:59 am.

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PODCAST: Eliyahu or Velickovic? Tepic or Bluthenthal? The guys break down the insanity of free agency

Who’s the better re-signing: Bourousis or Siskauskas?  Will BC Khimki get more out of Cabezas or Lopez?  And did a coach steal the show this offseason? Slam and Freaknick break down the best deals, the worst deals, and the ones that really don’t even matter in their latest podcast.

Click “PLAY” to be enlightened, one hard-to-pronounce name at a time.

Check out ALL the podcasts.

The best, the worst, the busts.  We parse the transfer market until it makes some kinda sense.

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Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 12:55 pm.

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A rough day for Serbian basketball

By: Freaknick

Oh wasn’t it all so grand.

With the eyes of the European basketball world upon them, Partizan defeated eventual champ Panathinaikos in front of a European record 22,567 fans.  That’s more than ANY NBA team averaged in 2008-09.

A happy moment for Serbian host city Belgrade, indeed.  A happiness that was to be cut short by a tough economy and the residual effects of politics.

Here were Partizan’s top scorers from that game, followed by where they will be playing in the 2009-10 Euroleague season:

Stephane Lasme- The big from Gabon is heading to Maccabi Tel Aviv

Novicka Velickovic- Euroleague’s 2009 Rising Star will be lacing them up for Madrid

Uros Tripkovic- The young shooting guard will be…well…somewhere else.  Perhaps Rome?

Not to mention their team’s leader in minutes and most consistent force, Milenko Tepic, who made on of the big splashes of the offseason by signing with Panathinaikos.

So it will be a different squad trotting out there for the 2009-10 Partizan squad, but no worries, right?  Serbia has been known to bring along their youngsters at an alarmingly successful rate.  Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Marko Jaric, and Darko Millicic (OK…ignore that last one) are on the list of players who have cashed in on NBA teams, while 2009 scoring leader Igor Rakocevic and all-time rebounding king Mirsad Turkcan have been some of the best Euroleague players in the past decade, and maybe ever.

Hold that thought.

Today the Serbian basketball federation announced that players from Montenegro and Bosnia will now be considered “foreign”.  So this renders Partizan’s Slavko Vranes and Zarko Rakocevic strangers in their own land, limiting the free agent flexibility of the Serbian squad, as Serbian basketball law limits the number of “foreign” players on each team.

Obviously, this hasn’t been the most well-received announcement.  All we can say for now is that we’ll see what happens.

I suppose the guy who thought of this idea watched the video above and said to himself, “Hmm…how can I destroy all of this positive energy and replace it with resentful malaise?”

Dumb.  Monumentally dumb.

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Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 2:37 am.

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Milenko Tepic is too solid to matter

His shot is above average.  Much like his handles.  And his vision.  And his…(read complete profile and watch the video from a record-setting Euroleague game).


PODCAST: Listen to Slam and Freaknick break down the Euro guards in this year’s NBA Draft.

The terms "solid" and "fundamentally sound" never shot anybody up a draft board.

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Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago at 5:18 pm.

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