The biggest fear Dimitris Itoudis has had this season was whenever he saw a team's doctor's name on his phone. More often than not, it meant bad news.

2-pointers this season

53%
19,7
Points made: 19,7
Accuracy: 52,5%
Place in standings: 11
Record max: 25
Record min: 12
Most made 2FGs: Tornike Shengelia

CSKA Moscow, one of the main contenders in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, did not have a full roster for the first 13 of 34 regular-season games.

Nikola Milutinov, Tornike Shengelia, and Marius Grigonis were out for an extended period of time, while Daniel Hackett missed most of the preseason recovering from an offseason surgery.

So Itoudis, the head coach of CSKA, had to rely more on others players, as every game in the EuroLeague matters.

And that is where changes are needed, Itoudis says.

Talking to BasketNews, the CSKA head coach reiterated his idea of altering the current EuroLeague format so that teams would not lose too much if an injury happened.

His idea:

  1. Expand the number of teams in the EuroLeague;
  2. Divide them into two groups;
  3. Play more games in the EuroLeague, less in domestic leagues.

Here are Itoudis' quotes on this.

"Each and every game almost looks like a final for each and every team. It doesn't matter who do you play with. With the team that is at the bottom of the standings, the team that is in the middle of the standings, or the top team.

And that's not healthy. It's good for competition to be out there and to compete in each and every game. That's for sure. 

With all due respect, first of all, I believe that EuroLeague is the best championship (with the most quality) out there, but teams like us, or Spanish teams, or also other teams that have a lot of obligations in their domestic leagues.

They compete with the teams that could play on the highest level. And you also have a lot of traveling. It's not the same amount of load for the players.

We had 16 teams before, and 50% of the teams were qualifying for the next phase, the playoffs. Now we added two more teams, and there are still eight qualified, which is below 50%.

If we compare it with the NBA, (they have) 30 teams over there and 16 are going further to the next phase, which is more than 50%. With the Play-In Tournament, it's even more. I'm not trying to criticize, I'm trying to help over here.

What I'm saying is that maybe we need to think about a different format. We need to add some more teams. I believe that there are teams out there that can compete at the EuroLeague level, that have stability, vision, court, and all the required components to be a team that competes at the highest level. 

So if it's divided into two groups for the regular season, there is a little bit more time to make adjustments to play different players. So even if you have some defeats, that doesn't cost you down the stretch.

This is pretty much what happened in the NBA. When you have 80 something games, you know you can "afford" some of the injuries. If some players are absent, you know, you're going to play different rotations because you load certain players. Over here, you cannot do that, your hands are tied.

While playing in the local leagues, players have a different motivation and a different standard with the stamina. So I think we need to seriously think about changing the format and doing something which still is going to be very attractive to the fans.

The competition in EuroLeague and organization is great, but you know the enemy of good is the greatest or the best, so you need to take steps in order to become better."

How would teams be divided into groups?

"It could be divided by region, it could be divided by distance and then playing altogether. In NBA, you have six divisions. And then you're playing fewer games when you go to the East Coast or West Coast, it depends. So you can find the format that requires a little bit more of the games.

I'm asking for more games. Yes, I'm asking for more games. But then, to compensate for that, the teams should play a little bit less of the games in the domestic leagues.

I'm not going against the domestic leagues, they are very important and very respectful, but we need to find the golden key because I'm telling you - players are loaded, loaded, loaded. And the biggest thing in this sport is the players. The spotlight should be on the players."

Video conversation:

You can listen to the full conversation here:

Comments:
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2022-01-10
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Sigis
I think expanding a league to 24-30 teams and making two groups of 15 makes sense. And then you can get creative to add more teams to playoffs or make the two groups play a random round with other group or something similar. I like Euroleague and its regular season but there is no reason something else shouldn't be tried
2021-12-22
-1
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Anon
In NBA teams can afford losing some games, but for the same reason regular season became realy boring and some all star players are not even playing defence in regular season...
2021-12-22
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