Currently playing the second games of the Euroleague I must admit that basketball is for me the most amusing sport and even more the European competition. Without the marketing and NBA’s show-business, understanding basketball as it is, Euroleague is the best basketball competition.
To say basketball is to say emotion and magic. The deceased Spanish journalist Andrés Montes summed up in one of his most known phrase: “Here we are, living basketballs magic”.
This year, as usual, the contest will be amazing. Without Kirilenko and taking into account the Greek team’s cut, the victory is able for more candidates. CSKA is still the team to beat, with the best playmakers pair (Teodosic and Aaron Jackson) and probably the best center, Nenad Krstic. Panathinaikos and Olympicacos, leaded by Diamantidis and Spanoulis, will be strong candidates for London’s Final Four. Panathinaikos will miss Obradivic, but signing up Schorchianitis the team makes a step onwards. Olympiacos, having one of the most talented players, Papanikoloau (age 22) is always competitive and a hard team to beat, specially playing at home.
Real Madrid, the most amusing team playing a offensive basketball, that under Pablo Laso’s direction has created a new style inspired in attacking and scoring as many points as possible, is one of the favourites for the win. Rudy Fernández has given then that necessary competitive step forward that make then able to beat the great European teams and their defensive strength.
Other Spanish team, Barcelona, that has played many Final Fours makes me have a doubt about his performance this year. Fran Vazquez and N’Dong have left a hole in the center position of the team and the Navarro-dependence could be fatal for them, taking into account that Navarro is not a lad and if he gets injured there is no other player that can replace him.
Don’t ever forget Fenerbache (with Batiste, Andersen and McCalebb) and Caja Laboral Baskonia (with Nocioni leading young talented players as Namanja Bjelica, Tibor Pleiss, Heurtel or Fabien Causeur). And of course Maccabi Electra, always competitive and taugh.
Take for sure that Euroleague is synonym of show, amazement and magic. Watching The Greek and Turkish supporters filling their courts, absolutely crowded by enthusiastic fans cheering and shouting excites me. I feel devotion!