BBL 2010/11 Season Preview

BBL is a Baltic Basketball League which is founded in 2004. This league has 24 teams which are divided into two divisions: The Elite Division and the Challenge Cup.

Here’s a review of 2010/2011 season BBL Elite Division – teams, players, coaches, previous results and etc.

Lietuvos Rytas

Lietuvos Rytas

Head coach: Dražen Anzulovič
Coaches: Roberts Štelmahers, Arvydas Gronskis, Marius Linartas, Virginijus Mikalauskas
Home arena: Siemens arena (capacity: 11000) / Lietuvos Rytas arena (capacity: 1700)
Last year: Silver medal winners (2nd)
Domestic league: 1st place
Departures: Aron Baynes, Vidas Ginevičius, Donatas Zavackas, Justas Sinica
Arrivals: Cemal Nalga, Arvydas Šikšnius, Brad Newley, Jerry Johnson, Petras Baločka (on loan to Perlas)

Lietuvos Rytas succeeded in the last decade – they managed to win some LKL titles, won EuroCup twice (only Lietuvos Rytas managed to do that and by the way they played there three times) and showed pretty good results in Euroleague except last season when they remained fifth in their group. In this season Lietuvos Rytas has as big goals as never – Jonas Vainauskas (GM) wants to see team playing at Euroleague quarter finals (Top 8), win LKL and win some other medals (like VTB or BBL). It may be a tough, but it’s possible.

The players
Aron Baynes and Justas Sinica in the last season were disappointments, so Jonas Vainauskas had found substitutions for them – instead of them, in Lietuvos Rytas will play Turkish big man Cemal Nalga and Lithuanian NT’s reserve player Arvydas Šikšnius. Team added Jerry Johnson who is very well known for the head coach of Lietuvos Rytas. Also Žydrūnas Kelys should have played for Lietuvos Rytas but because of injury he must spend a half season without basketball. The biggest deal this summer was Brad Newley – Australian basketball NT’s player should play for Lietuvos Rytas for a two years.

Strengths and weaknesses
The main weakness of Lietuvos Rytas is big men – C and PF positions. While power forwards Milko Bjelica and Kenan Bajramovič is good enough, we don’t know how Jonas Valančiūnas and Cemal Nagla can handle their job. Besides, four big players aren’t enough for Euroleague level team. The strength of this team is coaches and very equal players – who comes off the bench is quite good substitution for starters.

Comparison with other BBL teams
So far Lietuvos Rytas has played only one game against BBL team. It was an easy walk for Lietuvos Rytas against Perlas (86:56). However, Perlas has played with only six players because half of the team players were injured.

Perlas: Eimantas Bendžius 18, Paulius Dambrauskas 10, Giedrius Staniulis 8.
Lietuvos Rytas: Jonas Valančiūnas 14, Steponas Babrauskas 14, Arvydas Šikšnius 13, Žydrūnas Kelys 11.

Depth Chart:

PGJerry JohnsonIgor Mlosevic
SGMartynas GeceviciusArvydas SiskniusSteponas Babrauskas
SFBrad NewleyArturas JomantasSimas Buterlevicius
PFKenan BajramovicMilko Bjelica
CJonas ValanciunasCemal Nalga

The BBL preview was written by GreenHoops, Latvia basketball and KML & Other Estonian Basketball. You can visit their sites to read the rest 13 teams’ previews.