European Prospects

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Euroleague 2010/2011 Preview: Group B

October 18th, 2010 · No Comments

Today started the Euroleague season 2010/2011 with the opening game in the Group B between Olympiacos and Real Madrid. So it is about time to check who are the players to follow in the different groups of this season. We will go through the different groups and point out who are the players that we think are worth to take a closer look at.

Olympiacos Piraeus

Kostas Papanikolaou started the season opener for Olympiacos on the SF position which shows that head coach Dusan Ivkovic is counting on the talented Greek wing this season. The 1990 born Papanikolaou played 8 minutes and scored 2 points. This does not mean that he will get playing time every game but he is certainly among the most interesting players to follow this season in the Group B as he has a rare combination of excellent size and basketball skills for the SF position. He can run the court well, has a good shot from outside despite not having the quickest release and has an all-around game that makes him a player that can be used for multiple tasks.

Real Madrid

The 1991 born Montengrin with Spanish passport, Nikola Mirotic is the player to follow on the Real Madrid roster. Despite a DNP in the Euroleague opener tonight, he is definitely one of the most talented and gifted wings on the continent. With his great size (2m09), speed and ball handling skills, Mirotic can be used as a wing to create interesting match-up situations as he can either take the SF to the paint or beat the PF on the dribble. So far, Mirotic saw some minutes with Real on the ACB level but his impact this season may remain limited and he can learn from following and practicing on this high level. 

Unicaja Malaga

After having seen minutes on Euroleague level already last season, the Brazilian-Spanish guard Rafa Freire seemed to have a difficult season in front of him as he did not play any minute in  the first two ACB games of this season. However, he got his opportunity against Fuenlabrada on Sunday and used his twenty-five minutes on the court well. He finished with 9pts, 2rebs and 2asts but could not help his team to win the game. The 1m87 tall combo-guard is a nicely athletic player who is able to create his own shot. His jump-shot looks really well but he forces the situation sometimes a bit too much. With the experience he is earning through all these minutes at a young age (he is born in 1992), he should be able to learn and improve his decision making in the future.

Augusto Cesar Lima also had to sit on the bench during the two first games of the ACB season and saw the court for the first time against Fuenlabrada. The very long 2m06 tall Brazilian is doing an excellent job on the offensive glass but struggles when he has to defend in the low post because he is not physical enough against the older players. But the energy level of the 1991 born is a good asset for Unicaja and makes Lima an interesting option coming from the bench occasionally.

Virtus Roma

The player to watch in the Group B in terms of scoring is most likely the Bosnian Nihad Dedovic who arrived to Roma coming from Obradoiro in Spain. In his first full ACB year, the 1m96 tall forward averaged 6.3ppg and has impressed the followers with his scoring talent. He is one of the purest shooters in the different youth categories and has also very active hands on the perimeter. The 1990 born wing has a good acceleration when attacking the basket with his right hand and he could be one of the leading scorers of the Italian team this season. At least, this is what he showed in Roma’s opening game to the 2010/2011 Lega where he finished top scorer with 18pts (3/4 2FGs – 4/6 3FGs) combined with 4rebs and 3stls.

Brose Baskets Bamberg

Tibor Pleiss is of course the young player to watch with the German Team. He has already been drafted last spring and will play his first full Euroleague season. The progress of the young German has been tremendous last season where he grew from being a back-up to become a full-time starter. Now the 2m15 tall Center needs to confirm and show his level against the more physical opposition in the toughest European league.

With the injury of John Goldsberry, Maurice Stuckey got some interesting playing time over the first Bundesliga games. The quick guard used it nicely with his aggressive play mainly scoring on the break or with the long distance-shoot. The 1990 born combo averaged so far 4.75ppg for Bamberg and saw his playing time increase up to 23 minutes in a game against Hagen. As Goldsberry will be out for a several more weeks and Brose is currently not looking for a replacement, Stuckey will most likely see the court as well in the opening of the Euroleague season against Rome. With his aggressive defense, we could even see the match-up between him and the above mentioned Dedovic.

Philipp Neumann was supposed to get some minutes already with Bamberg this season but it has not happened so far in the Bundesliga. The 2m10 tall PF has not yet cracked the rotation of coach Fleming and mainly gets his playing time with the farm team in Breitengüssbach. However, the 1992 born player is considered as one of the most talented inside players of the continent but he has to show that he is able to make the next step from being a dominator in youth categories to a good rotation on the professional level. Maybe this season is still a year too early for him to do so.

Spirou Charleroi

In a team dominated by US-imports, the 2m09 tall and 1989 born Ioannis Iarochevitch is a bit of an outsider. With his thin frame, the Belgian looks a bit like a kid among men when being on the court. However, Iarochetvich uses nicely his speed to beat his opponents of the dribble when taking them out to the three-point line. He can be an interesting match-up for Charleroi offensively, but he struggles on the defensive end where he gets out-powered in the low post regularly. In the Euroleague qualification rounds, he averaged only 4.6 minutes per game as a replacement for the injured Christophe Beghin and he managed to score 1.4ppg. This shows though the limits of the impact that he can have on the team at the moment.

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