Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D. Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D.Repečka
Credit: BasketNews/D. Repečka

BasketNews continues brand new 3x3 EuroLeague edition, where three of our colleagues will give three answers to three questions.

Points this season

40%
66,3
Points made: 66,3
Accuracy: 39,8%
Place in standings: 18
Record max: 76
Record min: 60
Best scorer: Josh Nebo

You can find the very first edition here.

Orazio Cauchi, Uygar Karaca, and Begum Unal trio will look at the changes in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and Zalgiris Kaunas. At the same time, they’ll also share their thoughts about the upcoming battle between AX Armani Exchange Milan and FC Barcelona.

Jordi Bertomeu will step down as EuroLeague’s CEO. Is it for the better for EuroLeague and European basketball?

Orazio: The writing was on the wall for Jordi Bertomeu. Several teams were unsatisfied with his management, and after so many years with him at the helm of the competition, it was probably time for a change.

Replacing Bertomeu, though, doesn’t solve all the issues that EuroLeague is facing. The teams need to find a better way to redistribute the money and make the competition more profitable from a financial standpoint.

The biggest thing now will be to find the right man to replace Bertomeu. EuroLeague needs someone who can bring the competition to the future and have a better dialogue with all the stakeholders.

I believe that the teams need to bring in a person with a fresh understanding of the competition’s marketing possibilities and international experience. I’m not a fan of the idea of just putting in that position someone who’s currently the GM of one of the EuroLeague teams.

Uygar: EuroLeague’s leadership needed a change, and that was long overdue. However, that change should not be a change for the sake of a change, but a real change. Not just a new name but a sort of a new mentality is needed.

EuroLeague needs to devise a revenue sharing mechanism that helps smaller and mid-sized budget projects have a chance to compete with the larger-budget sized clubs. A higher level of competitiveness level is not only possible but also much needed. A more inclusive approach is the only path for an increasing trajectory of revenue generation.

The end of Bertomeu’s tenure is still coming with a big contention, which is not a good sign. The new name should be unanimously accepted and someone willing to open up a new dialogue with FIBA to end the schism which hurts European basketball.

Currently, long-term club projects do not seem very sustainable, and that brings competitiveness down. Usually, budgets and rosters are made on a yearly basis which leaves no room for younger player (and coach) development or mid-career resurfacing that could bring a marketing value to the EuroLeague.

Clubs’ transparency regarding the salaries and budgets needs to be enhanced, more reliable, accessible, and statistical data resources should be implemented.

Live broadcast hours and timetables could be revised, a better timing is possible. If the new name does not look improvement in any of these areas, not much will change.

Begum: Yes, it is better for EuroLeague and European basketball. Actually, it should have happened before but let’s say it’s better late than never.

His leadership has been questioned for many years, but no solid step was taken until recently. Bertomeu surely did good things for the European club competitions; the current EuroLeague format is very competitive and almost every game is interesting to watch.

However, after more than 20 years, Euroleague Basketball needs new ideas to grow the competition globally, and the sport continentally.

Credit BNS

What I find weird is that both Turkish clubs have been openly criticizing Bertomeu, and they eventually voted in favor of him. While the perspective of clubs who voted against him is rather clear, I’m curious about the motivation of those who voted in favor of Bertomeu.

But EuroLeague's ongoing issues will not be solved as Bertomeu leaves. The challenge is to find a leader that will work for the benefit of all clubs involved with Euroleague and more. The European basketball ecosystem needs a leader(s) for the benefit of our basketball.

Zalgiris acquired Zoran Dragic and Tai Webster after releasing Emmanuel Mudiay. What do you think of these moves?

Orazio: Zalgiris are clearly reshuffling the majority of their roster, but I’m not sure that this choice is going to pay huge dividends for them. It’s true that Mudiay wasn’t playing particularly well, but it’s also true that he was put in a tough spot.

He joined the team because of coach Schiller, and Zalgiris decided to fire the coach after just two Euroleague games. He didn’t have enough time to adapt properly to the situation.

Webster is a nice scorer, but I’m not entirely sure he’ll be effective at the EuroLeague level.

Clearly, Jure Zdovc wants more experience and players who are ready from the get go, and that explains the addition of Zoran Dragic, but even in his case, I’m not sure what type of contribution he will be able to bring in this kind of situation.

Uygar: Firstly, I truly did not understand what Zalgiris tried to do with the moves and un-moves.

Bringing Emmanuel Mudiay was a risk, but probably they counted on players’ previous acquaintance with Martin Schiller. Other than that, the Zalgiris roster was made with players whose styles resemble each other.

So regarding the depth of variety, this roster was structurally susceptible to stalls and droughts, especially in the offense. Then, before anybody knew what was going on, Schiller was fired. Enter the chaos. Enter the panic signings just to save the day.

This was not the Zalgiris that we were accustomed to watching and admiring lately, in post-Romanov years, a club that was doing smart things on the market regarding coaches and players. However, in my opinion, new players could be useful.

Zoran Dragic has been an underestimated player, and I’m afraid that he will always be. Although not being the primary scoring option due to his limitations in creating his own shots, he is undoubtedly a high-energy player.

His contributions will be on both ends of the court. His willingness to attack the rim and ability to play as a catch-n-shoot option will give breathing space to Zalgiris’ offense, which was really in dire straits lately.

On the other hand, Tai Webster’s offensive setup is more densely concentrated on being a pick and roll ball handler, and in that way, it could be taken as a complementary addition with Dragic. To be honest, I don’t believe that Webster’s contribution will be worse than Mudiay’s because the latter could not find a way to adapt to European basketball.

Webster’s years in Frankfurt and Galatasaray will help him in that respect, despite the latter not being entirely satisfactory. Zalgiris required players urgently, that part was clear. 

Begum: At this point, I believe that Zalgiris should start making moves for the upcoming season and try to grow the younger talents for the rest of this season.

From the outside, it looks like this season was not planned well enough; as the coach Martin Schiller was fired at the very beginning of the season. Now they are trying to save as much as possible with their new coach Jure Zdovc who couldn’t adapt to his new team yet.

Apart from coach Schiller, the club gave up on Emmanuel Mudiay too soon; the player doesn’t have experience in European basketball. While Tai Webster and Zoran Dragic will bring more experience, it is highly questionable if they will be able to adapt to this not-looking-good Zalgiris environment.

Battle of the leaders in Milan: who do you got and why?

Orazio: The game between Milan and Barcelona will definitely be a must-watch. A rematch of last season’s Final Four for Milan will be a very important test to understand if they’ll have a shot at the title this season.

Barcelona’s physicality was an issue for coach Messina’s guys last season, so understanding if they’ll be able to overcome that this time will be a key for the continuation of the season.

Personally, I see Milan with a little bit of advantage in this game. They’ll play at home, and they’re just living in a fantastic moment, so for Barcelona, it’ll be difficult to get a win on the road.

I believe that, compared to last season, the gap between the two teams is not as big as it was.

Credit Zuma Press – Scanpix

Uygar: I believe Milan has the upper hand in this one. Barcelona seemed to have a better start to the season, but currently, Milan looks better in fulfilling the intentions of their coaches’ playing style.

What is that? Being tough, concentrating on the fundamentals like rebounding and defending aggressively, controlling the pace, and playing with an almost over-engineered offensive scheme.

Armani Exchange’s style looks less attractive than Barcelona’s, but I guess Messina does not care about playing beautiful basketball right now; somehow, he made his players believe in his cause: winning against at all cost.

On the other hand, Barcelona are having some serious problems in scoring as their offensive ratings are falling down. Losing heavily against Maccabi created a negative recency bias, but the strange case of Mirotic also haunts them from time to time.

With the injury of Alex Abrines, the teams’ ceiling, both in offense and defense, is sometimes too dependent on him, which is interesting when we consider the coaching approach of Jasikevicius. Barcelona are EuroLeague’s most frequent post-up playing team, and half of them are being played on Brandon Davies and Mirotic.

Mirotic is also the second most preferred catch-n-shoot option, and Milan has excelled in help defense to contain that sort of explosive matchups.

Begum: To me, this is the most exciting game of the season so far. Milan lost the semi-final against Barcelona with small details, and this is going to be the first Jasikevicius x Messina battle after Cologne.

In such games, I believe home teams have the advantage of being home teams. Moreover, Armani Exchange's basketball so far is more consistent than Barcelona’s.

Barcelona is the top trophy candidate on paper. However, the way they perform is highly inconsistent. Looking forward to tip-off!

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AX Armani Exchange Milan
FC Barcelona
46%
6 Position
Field goals
49%
2 Position
34,00
9 Position
Rebounds
34,86
6 Position
18,14
3 Position
Assists
17,86
4 Position
5,71
13 Position
Steals
7,71
6 Position

Teams leaders

Shavon  Shields
12,7 PTS
51% 2P%
32% 3P%
Nikola  Mirotic
16,3 PTS
63% 2P%
46% 3P%
Kyle  Hines
5,7 REB
3,6 DREB
2,1 OREB
Nick  Calathes
5,6 REB
4,9 DREB
0,7 OREB
Sergio  Rodriguez
4,4 As
1,6 TO
18 MIN
Nick  Calathes
5,4 As
2,3 TO
26 MIN