The 2019/20 EuroLeague tipped off this week (03-04/10), with Real Madrid and Barcelona showing they start from the pole position for the title.
The “Whites” and the “Blaugrana” defeated Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes, respectively, in the opening round, with both Turkish teams being equal title contenders.
Despite seeing Fenerbahce come back from a 12-point deficit (67-55), Real Madrid stood tall and earned the 81-77 victory at home.
At the same time, the Catalans dropped an 11-point lead in the third quarter (26-37, 46-49), yet they scored 25 points in the fourth quarter and sealed the deal against Anadolu Efes (64-74).
Both teams actually showed they have the deepest and most talented rosters in the EuroLeague.
Real kept its core from last season, as only Gustavo Ayon (whose contract expired) left the team. Meanwhile, they signed guard Nicolas Laprovittola (from Badalona) and big man Jordan Micky (from Khimki).
The addition of the aforementioned two players further bolstered the roster, offering head coach Pablo Laso two more “weapons” in his tactics.
As a result, the “Whites” can adapt to every playing style on both ends (up tempo, 5-on-5, switch defence etc), while their chemistry and role distribution currently are on a much higher level compared to the other teams.
On the other hand, Barcelona was the most active team of the league during the offseason. The Catalans decided to spend a lot of money and sign top class players.
Consequently, Brandon Davies, Nikola Mirotic, Cory Higgins and Alex Abrines joined the squad, while the injuries of Kevin Pangos and Thomas Heurtel brought Malcolm Delaney to the team.
Concurrently, just like Real Madrid did, the “Blaugrana” kept the core of the team. Victor Claver, Pau Ribas, Adam Hanga, Ante Tomic, Kyle Kuric and Pierre Oriola remained with the club, creating an excellent roster, which has impressed the fans of basketball.
Against last year’s runners up, Anadolu Efes, Barcelona showed they have what it takes to make it to the Final Four after many years.
The “Blaugrana” played great defence, conceding just 64 points, and proved they can win games not only because of their offensive talent, but also their defensive stability.
Furthermore, the newcomers made the difference immediately and were game changers on both ends.
Mirotic was tremendous and had a game-high 24 points (9/16 shooting, index rating of 22), while Delaney (11 points, seven assists) and Davies (10 points) also scored in double figures.
Just like the “Whites”, the “Blaugrana” have the ability to be equally effective in different playing styles on both ends, which makes it more difficult for the opponents to stop them.
Last but not least, the return to action of Pangos (in November) and Heurtel (in February) will further strengthen the team, which is expected to become better game after game.
Certainly, it is still very early in the season and no team is at its very best yet, with players and coaches needing an adjustment period to reach their full potential.
However, for most betting and casino websites, like ComeOn, both Real Madrid and Barcelona are considered the top favourites for the title, being one step ahead from their rivals Fenerbahce, Anadolu Efes and the defending champions, CSKA Moscow.
Collectively, the “Whites” and the “Blaugrana” start the season from the pole position and are expected to go all the way. At the same time, their clash on November 8th at the Wizink Center is highly anticipated.
With that in mind, the question is whether there is any team that can stop the two Spanish giants from reaching the Final.