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Euroleague Final Four Preview

Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:21am

This year’s event in Berlin, Germany has seen 4 high quality teams qualify for the final tournament. With world class talent on hand, the competition is expected to be as good as it’s ever been. Battling through not only the tough schedule of their domestic leagues, but also the long Euroleague season, these 4 teams have made it to the end and will now battle for the ultimate crown. Another significant fact is that the tournament has sold out, which will be a good measuring stick to see if the O2 Arena has true potential to one day be the home of an NBA franchise. The eyes of the powers are always watching and having things run smoothly will be another positive step in the globalization process of the NBA.


Schedule:

May 1

Regal FC Barcelona vs CSKA Moscow 6PM (CET)
Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos 9PM (CET)

May 3

 
 


Juan Carlos Navarro
 
Loser Semifinal vs Loser Semifinal 5PM (CET)
Winner Semifinal vs Winner Semifinal 8 PM (CET)


Team Rundown

REGAL FC BARCELONA


After a fairly easy run through the group stage and the final 16 (14-2 through 2 stages), Barcelona found themselves in a heated battle in the Final 8 with country rival Tau Ceramica. Going back and forth from the start, Barcelona had to win two in a row to close out the best of 5 series.

Bringing a good mix of size and versatility, Barca is not only a very dangerous team, but one that has many intriguing players who could easily be sporting NBA jerseys in the near future. The most famous is Juan Carlos Navarro, who after a short stint in Memphis decided to go back to his native country. While he struggled adjusting to the style, he had shown enough potential to continue progressing at the top level. In the EL, Navarro has proven to be one of the most dangerous scorers and has at times singlehandedly carried his team.

In terms of drafted players, Ersan Ilyasova and Fran Vazquez have both had very solid seasons and are definitely players to keep an eye on. The young Bosnian Nihad Dedovic is on the roster, but it is very unlikely that he will get an opportunity to play. He has spent much of the season playing for Cornella (3rd division team) as a result he has only played in 3 EL games, so getting time in the Final 4 is unrealistic. With all that said, he has been on the radar for some time, and he has a chance to get drafted in the 2nd round once he decides to enter. Barca also has other draft prospects in Mamadou Samb and Xavier Rabaseda, but neither of them has played this year in the EL.


 
 


Ramunas Siskauskas
 
CSKA MOSCOW

Speculations have been swirling all season around CSKA coach Ettora Messina and the possibility that he will take the reins of an NBA team, but amidst all the distractions, he has led his team back to the Final 4, for an opportunity to win the tournament 2 years in a row. Even while fighting through injuries to some of their key contributors, CSKA was able to easily dismantle all of its opposition and are now at full strength and ready to defend their title.

Their talent pool is extremely deep, however, their players are more geared towards a Euro style of play and they would not fare well in the physically and athletically superior NBA. Household names such as JR Holden, Trajan Langdon, Ramunas Siskauskas, Zoran Planinic, Erazem Lorbek, Viktor Khryapa and Terence Morris form one very tough and experienced roster.

The player on their roster who has a good chance to get drafted in the next few years is Alexey Shved. The young Russian has made a name for himself through international play in the junior ranks. Unfortunately, he has not been able to show much on the senior level because of the fact that the experience and talent ahead of him is so great. He may have been better off playing for a lesser team and displaying his skills on a regular basis, but the daily battles that he goes through in practice may be even more beneficial in the long run. Unfortunately, he has only played in 3 EL games all season, so the possibility of him playing this weekend is very slim.


OLYMPIACOS

 
 


Josh Childress
 
The idea of prying rotation NBA players through big contracts has been a hit and miss situation for Olympiacos. On one hand they have found themselves in the prestigious Final 4 and on the other hand their two studs, Josh Childress and Jannero Pargo (who joined later in the season) have struggled throughout the year (putting up much lower numbers than they did last season in the NBA). This goes to show that European basketball is a different type of beast and just because a player was effective in the NBA, it does not necessarily translate to the style found overseas.

Even with the limited contributions from Childress and Pargo, Olympiacos is so deep that it had very little trouble overcoming. Losing only once in the round of 16 and then dismantling Real Madrid in 4 games in the Final 8. They have played fairly well all year, and if Childress can put it together at the end, they might have as good of a chance as anyone to take the crown.

Among the main contributors are Ioannis Bourousis, Lynn Greer, Nikola Vujcic, Yotam Halperin and Theodoros Papaloukas. An intriguing prospect is Georgios Printezis, who has averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds while shooting an extremely efficient 65% from 2FG and 50% from 3 PT. His rights are owned by the Toronto Raptors and this year’s play might have earned him a chance to take his game to the big leagues. Milos Teodosic is draft eligible this year, but even though he has gotten substantial amount of playing time, he has struggled shooting the ball and has not show much else other than being a spot up shooter (not a very good one at that).


PANATHINAIKOS

 
 


Nikola Pekovic
 
Only hitting few minor bumps along the road, Panathinaikos was able to get through the EL fairly unscathed. The combination of size, athleticism, experience and outside shooting gives them as good of a chance to win it all as anyone else.

Sarunas Jasikevicius, Mike Batiste, Dimitrios Diamantidis, Vassilis Spanoulis and Drew Nicholas are all extremely important pieces to Coach Zeljko Obradovic’s puzzle. While they may not have the necessary tools to make an impact at the NBA level, these guys are all proven talents who are moulded to fit the Euro style that Obradovic preaches.

Nikola Pekovic is a 2nd round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves and has had an extremely efficient and effective season in the EL. In just over 18 minutes per game, he averaged 13 points and 4 rebounds, while shooting 64% from the field. He may lack the explosiveness of a prototypical NBA 4 man, but with his strength and touch around the basket, he might have a chance to crack a roster in the near future.

An intriguing draft prospect is Giorgi Shermadini of Georgia. Born in 1989 and standing a legit 7 feet, he made a midseason move to the Greek power but has not been able to find much success in terms of playing time. He is very raw in terms of low post skills and his mobility is somewhat limited, but under the tutelage of Obradovic, Shermadini still has a chance to come around before his draft window is up.
European Basket...
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Spanoulis does not have

Spanoulis does not have tools for NBA? Hmm........he is probably best European point guard that ever lived.

ajssj
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agreed

Spanoulis doesn't have the patience to deal with a stickler like Jeff Van Gundy. He FOR SURE would be a good player on a typical nba team. Same thing goes for Sharas, they just weren't put in ideal situations. Sharas signs with Cleveland in '05 instead of the pacers, and the Cavs may have already won the championship.

Jasikevicus>Mo Williams

eprizzle14
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This is Mo's first year

This is Mo's first year with the Cavs lets see if they get it done. Mo > Jasikevicus

krapinsky
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Pekovic

What makes you call Pekovic a PF when others say he clearly projects as a C?

European Basket...
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Pekovic is no PF, pure C.

Pekovic is no PF, pure C.

icqfullpatch
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to the subject

Spanoulis doesn't have the patience to deal with a stickler like Jeff Van Gundy. He FOR SURE would be a good player on a typical nba team. Same thing goes for Sharas, they just weren't put in ideal situations. &$#%#&@!o izle Sharas signs with Cleveland in '05 instead of the pacers, and the Cavs may have already won the championship.

canan
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CSK Moscow Love you

He may have been better off playing for a lesser team and displaying his skills on a regular basis, but the daily battles that he goes through in practice may be even more beneficial in the long run. travesti

patric548
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I'm one who always

I'm one who always underplays the numbers and claims we should look at how players perform during the game. However, I just checked out jumping numbers from another website where they used slightly different measurements and noticed something very interesting about B. Griffin. There are two vertical jumping scores, one standing still and one where you can take steps.
online doctoral degree | online bachelors degree | online degree program

patric548
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I agree. I was wondering the

I agree. I was wondering the same thing a couple weeks ago. I dont know if devndorf will ever pan out as a player in the NBA but he is a solid college player and could use another year or two to pan out and prove how good he is. He will get his chance. I think he can go after next year. Its just that this years draft is loaded with guards.
nursing degree | criminal justice degree

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reply

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