EuroLeague season is back with some incredible action in the opening round that starts in a few hours.
Let’s take a look at some interesting points from the first few match-ups of the competition.
1. The newcomers
Alba Berlin returns to the EuroLeague “show”, after 5 years of absence. The Germans will play against the “cinderella” of this EuroLeague season, Zenit St. Petersburg.
The Russians will have to withstand an incredibly capable offensive team in order to be competitive in Berlin.
According to RealGM.com, Aito Reneses’ team averaged 117.6 points (121.7 in the German Budesliga) per 100 possessions last year in the EuroCup.
A major problem that Reneses faces is the absence of his best scorer, Peyton Siva, who is out with a calf injury.
On the other hand, Zenit started the VTB League with an easy win against Zielona Gora (67-92) and will play for the first time in a EuroLeague match-up.
Joan Plaza will try to guide the team to success with Gustavo Ayon, Andrew Albicy, Anton Ponkrasov and Mateusz Ponitka being some of the names that “jump” out of a very experienced roster.
Furthermore, Valencia, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and Crvena Zvezda will also return to the EuroLeague against CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, respectively.
2.The battles of the “giants”
The opening week of the EuroLeague will showcase interesting match-ups between some of the most talented teams of the competition.
Namely, Real Madrid will face Fenerbahce in a recurrence of the last season’s third place game of the Final Four.
Zelijko Obradovic will introduce his new line-up with some really good additions in it, but without two key-players, since Jan Vesely and Joffrey Lauverge are out of the “clash”.
First and foremost, two-time EuroLeague champion, Nando De Colo, followed by the super-athletic ex-Bayern forward, Derrick Williams, who will bring more versatility in “3” and “4”.
On the other hand, Pablo Laso will possibly take advantage of the “continuity” of his roster that helped him introduce a fully-developed chemistry through the first games of the season in the ACB and Spanish Supercopa.
Real Madrid didn’t lose any key players this summer making only two additions with Nicolas Laprovittola and Jordan Mickey.
The other “big-names” in a match-up of the opening round is between Anadolu Efes and Barcelona, in which we can observe some similarities.
Efes is, to a great extent, the same team that reached the Final Four last season, having a great scoring guard like Shane Larkin at their disposal.
On the other hand, Barcelona is the new entry for a place in the top-4 after the addition of Nicola Mirotic, Brandon Davies, Malcom Delaney, Corrie Higgins and others.
3.The rookies to watch
We may see some new entries this season, since many players will make their debut in the EuroLeague this week.
A handful of the rookies are experienced players that can make the difference.
For example, Panathinaikos added ex-NBAers Jimmer Fredete and Wesley Johnson. Also, Greg Monroe will make his debut in the competition, averaging 18 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his first 5 games with Bayern Munich.
Furthermore, Nik Stauskas came in Baskonia from overseas this summer with a chance of experiencing the great atmosphere of the “Zalgirio Arena” for the first time in his career.
Finally, Ron Baker and Tyler Dorsey, among others, will make their first appearance in the competition with CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel-Aviv, respectively.