- Nikola Mirotic, I suspected, is in for a MVP-type season in both ACB and Euroleague. Yesterday’s statline did little to change that: 26 points (6/7 2FG, 4/4 3FG), 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks) against Valladolid (highlights). A performance of historical proportions, though not quite like this one. Paving the way for Mirotic’s MVP candidacy is Real Madrid’s lack of depth on power forward: only Felipe Reyes is backing Mirotic up, and even he can move to center, depending on matchups. 26 to 28 minutes per game allow you to score, rebound and assist in decent enough volumes – 20 minutes per game, not so much.
- CSKA won their season opener far, far east, in Vladivostok. Milos Teodosic watch: 7 shot attempts, 5 assists, zero turnovers. Unics meanwhile lost their PBL season opener to Novgorod 73-86, including a 24-42 second half. Khimki defeated Triumph 76-72 despite a 23 points, 7 rebounds performance by 1993-born playmaker Sergey Karasev.
- The German BBL season is on its way, and here’s who to watch. Maik Zirbes (22 points, 3 blocks), Daniel Theis (18/10 rebounds) and Dennis Schröder (9/5/3 assists) were all exceptional in their respective season debuts. Both Euroleague participants, Brose Baskets and ALBA Berlin (highlights), tipped their season off with victories. ALBA GM Marco Baldi had been rather clear on his team’s priorities before the game: “On Wednesday we play one of the most improved teams in the country, and three days later circus is in town.”
- There are plenty of young players out there already getting significant playing time: In Italy, Matteo Imbrò (’94), one of the under-18 EC’s top backcourt players, is playing double-digit minutes for Bologna. Riccardo Cervi (’91) is swatting shots for Reggio Emilia. Multitalented Greek forward Linos Chrysikopoulos (’92) can hopefully find into rhythm in Biella. In Spain, promising post center Guillermo Hernangómez (’94), among others, made his ACB debut for Real Madrid. For Partizan, Dejan Musli (’91) appears to finally be getting the opportunity to shine in a center-dependent system where he will get plenty of touches.
- Bayern München lost their much anticipated season opener 61-80 to Oldenburg (highlights) in a game where they trailed by 30 points two minutes before the third quarter buzzer. Afterwards, club president Uli Hoeneß claimed that Dirk Bauermann had left behind a poorly conditioned, indisciplined roster, that he had lost his sense for reality (“[Bauermann] thought his position in German basketball was so dominant that he didn’t think we would even consider firing him – he was wrong”) and that Bauermann’s relationship with Marko Pesic was a “catastrophe” in months prior to the sacking.
Conclusion: Bauermann may still be the country’s most influential basketball persona – but there are far more influential football people. The dismantling of a nine-times BBL championship coach on live television is both unrivaled and unprecedented.
The sheer ridiculousness of some of Hoeneß’ (“we’re not good in set pieces – like three point shots and free throws – but that we can improve in practice”) and Bernd Rauch’s (“there are two systems in basketball – one offensive, one defensive”) statements, meanwhile, make for excellent entertainment. Thanks.
- Same procedure as every year in Greece: bargaining for television contracts and league start postponements. The Russian PBL, it appears, may also be facing trouble to the extent that it may not be played at all. The Russian championship would then be played for in the VTB League.
- In case you missed it: the annual player similarity map.
- The Adriatic League has a fine page with game highlights and even full game tapes. (Hat tip: Luka Bassin)