Credit: BNS, D.Lukšta, D. Repečka, ANE Edition, SIPA, Imago Images | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas
Credit BNS, D.Lukšta, D. Repečka, ANE Edition, SIPA, Imago Images | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas

Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams had a proper marathon of pre-season games (except for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv), showing some of their strengths and weaknesses. Also, quite a few teams added new players (some even acquired real star power). With all these events accounted for, our BasketNews expert panel produced another edition of Power Rankings.

The first edition of our Power Rankings, see here.

For starters, we have eight teams going down, six climbing up, and four remaining at their previous spot. The biggest jump was made by AS Monaco. League newcomers significantly upgraded their roster, thus climbing 6 spots. While Zalgiris Kaunas dropped the most in the rankings, 4 positions, mostly due to their winless performance in all friendly games. All in all, the latest edition of the EuroLeague Power Rankings has both, the new top-ranked team and a new bottom dweller. 

18. ALBA Berlin (16)

Finished pre-season with a 3-3 record.

With a new coach in place and some of the new players who arrived late in the market, ALBA is still a work in progress. It'll require some time to see a finished product on the court. ALBA did sign last season's German league MVP Jaleen Smith, who's ready to take the next step. But the pre-season performance, where the German champions didn't face the top-notch competition, and the injuries to their big men left our experts skeptical of ALBA's chances in the EuroLeague.

17. LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (15)

Finished pre-season with a 2-4 record.

The French club lost their big three of Norris Cole, Moustapha Fall, and Guerschon Yabusele. The replacements look intriguing, especially Kostas Antetokounmpo and Dylan Osetkowski, but it most likely won't be enough against the elite competition. ASVEL are probably more focused on talent development, as they have Europe's best young duo in Matthew Strazel and Victor Wembanyama. The pre-season record was sub .500 and we expect more of the same once the official EuroLeague competition starts.

16. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade (17)

Finished pre-season with a 6-1 record.

The Serbian team added Aaron White, Nate Wolters, Nikola Kalinic, and Austin Hollins to bolster their starting lineup. However, the bench is not as strong and coach Dejan Radonjic will have to pull off a few tricks in order for the Red Star fans to leave the Stark Arena with smiles on their faces. Also, White's gruesome injury suffered in the pre-season tournament throws a wrench into Belgrade's plans.

15. Zalgiris Kaunas  (11)

Finished pre-season with a 0-5 record.

Lithuanian team started its pre-season with two narrow losses. And later, as the team faced even tougher competition, things did not improve. Martin Schiller cares about winning, but green-and-white faithfuls are yet to see victory. It will be interesting to see how Kaunas' new players will gel, most notably Emmanuel Mudiay, but so far we haven't seen many signs for potential hope.

14. Panathinaikos OPAP Athens  (14)

Finished pre-season with a 6-2 record.

Panathinaikos had a mixed pre-season, edging out EuroCup frontrunners Partizan and Virtus, as wells as EuroLeague champs Anadolu Efes, but losing to Crvena Zvezda. Granted, integrating seven new players will take time, but losing Mario Hezonja hurts, and the team does not seem like it has enough talent to compete for a spot in the playoffs.

13. UNICS Kazan  (13)

Finished pre-season with a 6-2 record.

The Russian club was on full display in Instanball Cup and we have to admit, the EuroCup runners-up did not disappoint. Despite playing without their star acquisition Mario Hezonja, UNICS fought Fenerbahce for 40 minutes and defeated Monaco the next day. Velimir Perasovic's squad has since added O.J. Mayo and Jarrell Brantley, thus, proving their intent on being more than just statistical participants of the EuroLeague.

12. AS Monaco (18)

Finished pre-season with a 5-4 record.

Since our last power ranking, things have changed in French Riviera. Their roster is now more complete and the addition of a superb scorer like Mike James gives the team more offensive firepower. During the pre-season, they weren't particularly impressive but once the new players are fully integrated into the system, Monaco could be a fun team to watch.

11-10. FC Bayern Munich (9)

Finished pre-season with a 3-3 record.

Another team that underwent significant changes this summer, Bayern, have their work cut out for them in attempting to repeat last season’s success. After losing two of their best last season’s players in Wade Baldwin and Jalen Reynolds, coach Andrea Trinchieri will have to find new wildcards if his team wants to impress again. Also, streaky performance by the German team during the friendly games did not provide enough to convince us otherwise.

11-10. Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv  (8)

Finished pre-season with a 1-0 record.

Perhaps the biggest unknown in the EuroLeague at this point. Maccabi were forced to cancel the majority of their pre-season tournaments due to COVID. They were also one of the most pandemic-impacted teams last season, leading to dismal performance outside of playoffs. This year, the situation is frighteningly similar. At least what they have going for them, is the return of fans to the Menora Mivtachim Arena.

With reinforcements of Jalen Reynolds, Derrick Williams, James Nunnally, and others, Maccabi will be packed with individual talent. Everything will depend on how Giannis Sfairopoulos manages strong characters and builds the team’s core. However, lacking a full-fledged pre-season could be a massive game-changer in a fight for a place in the top eight.

9. Olympiacos Piraeus  (12)

Finished pre-season with a 5-1 record.

Olympiacos looked strong in the pre-season, demolishing their opponents from the Greek league, beating Monaco and Zenit. Thomas Walkup, Tyler Dorsey, and Moustapha Fall are proving to be exceptional additions for the team that finished 12th in the EuroLeague last year. It’s not clear if they will be enough to help carry the team into the playoffs, but Olympiacos undoubtedly should be in the mix.

8. Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz  (10)

Finished pre-season with a 4-2 record.

The team coached by Dusko Ivanovic acquired one of the "hottest" names on the EuroLeague market in Wade Baldwin, landed the Italian sensation Simone Fontecchio, boosted their backcourt with Vanja Marinkovic, Jayson Granger, and also their frontcourt with Matt Costello, Landry Nnoko, and Steven Enoch. However, given Granger's proneness to injuries and Marinkovic's instability, the guard position could turn into a serious issue if Baldwin doesn't produce a series of Bayern-like performances. A playoff spot looks like a feasible goal for the Spanish team.

7. Zenit St Petersburg  (7-6)

Finished pre-season with a 6-3 record.

The Russian club suffered a big blow when Kevin Pangos left the team for the NBA. However, Zenit pulled out a trump card, bringing in Shabazz Napier. And not only him. They acquired Jordan Loyd, Jordan Mickey, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Conner Frankamp, giving the team different attacking opportunities. Xavi Pascual, arguably among the best EuroLeague tacticians, should be able to combine strategy with players’ individual talent, and to produce the result surpassing last season’s finish.

6-5. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul  (7-6)

Finished pre-season with a 4-2 record.

Fenerbahce’s identity changed significantly after the departure of Igor Kokoskov and the signing of Sasha Djordjevic, not to mention all the new players on the roster. However, these changes seem to be for the best, and once the new group gels together, Fenerbahce will be a force to be reckoned with. The Turkish powerhouse won the Istanball Cup defeating strong competition and showing the ability to prevail in close games. They certainly are loaded with talent.

6-5. AX Armani Exchange Milan ⬇ (5)

Finished pre-season with a 4-2 record.

Milan's preseason has been filled with ups and downs. A good win in a scrimmage against Efes but also losses against ASVEL and Virtus in the Italian Supercup. Defensively and intensity-wise, Messina's squad still needs to improve to find the right balance.

4. Real Madrid  (4)

Finished pre-season with a 3-2 record.

Veteran-loaded Real underwent the first changes when Felipe Reyes announced his retirement and Jaycee Carroll is likely to follow. The arrivals of Adam Hanga and Guerschon Yabusele provide the Royal club with a rock-solid defensive foundation. Meanwhile, Thomas Heurtel and Nigel Williams-Goss boost the offensive potential. Balanced summer work and strengthened Real’s roster show that they are ready to fight for the highest positions again. A victorious performance in the Endesa Super Cup only proves that.

3. FC Barcelona  (2)

Finished pre-season with a 4-2 record.

Four players (Bolmaro, Claver, Westermann, Hanga) are not walking through the Palau Blaugrana door anymore, but Sarunas Jasikevicius isn't bothered one bit. Sanli and Hayes were the additions at the forward position during the off-season, while Laprovittola and Jokubaitis can do more than just lend a helping hand to Nick Calathes. Expect FC Barcelona to be among a few candidates to go all the way, even if their main rivals will do everything to prevent that from happening.

2. Anadolu Efes Istanbul  (1)

Finished pre-season with an 8-3 record.

The busiest team of the pre-season, the reigning champions are still waiting for their star Shane Larkin to round into his best form. Regardless, Efes is still unquestionably among the best teams in the league. The young Serbian big man Filip Petrusev has shown flashes in friendly games and might become one of the surprises in the upcoming season. Coach Ataman is, once again, very confident that his team is special and can repeat last season's success.

1. CSKA Moscow (3)

Finished pre-season with an 8-1 record.

The Russian powerhouse made the jump to the top of our Power Rankings by going through pre-season with an almost flawless play. CSKA squashed (at least for now) all questions concerning Shved's fit with the team, averaged 95 points per game, and defeated their opponents by an average margin of 24 points. The only blemish, loss to Zenit in Kondrashin and Belov Cup final. However, CSKA avenged it two weeks later by capturing VTB United League SuperCup. It appears that Dimitris Itoudis is in complete control of his team and ready for a winning season.

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Berlin
alba should be in 39 place
2021-09-26
+9
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Ranking
cska No 1! barca way too high
2021-09-26
-2
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