EuroBasket to blame for Olympiacos’ poor Euroleague start?

The Prime Minister has resigned and the country is struggling with a debt of around 329billion Euros hanging over them, Greece is going through a tough phase as the nation is trying to rebuild.

The same in a way could be said of Olympiacos, who despite being 3-0 in the Greek League haven’t been as convincing as their strong team-sheet would suggest, but it’s the club’s Euroleague record that asks the questions.

At 1-3, and joint bottom of Group A, the Piraeus side need to start getting results before they are left in the unfamiliar situation of concentrating solely on domestic basketball in the new year.

Shock defeats at Bizkaia Bilbao and Bennet Cantu along with a narrow loss to Caja Laboral has started to ask questions of the team’s fitness, are they not performing as expected due to the new gruelling schedule of Eurobasket upping its number of teams from 16 to 24.

There was four weeks separating the final day of Eurobasket from the start of the Euroleague season this year, which is more than the last Eurobasket, which in 2009 had just under two weeks, but with less games during the international season.

For Pero Antic of FYR of Macedonia, Marko Keselj of Serbia, Vassilis Spanoulis and Kostas Papanikolaou of Greece, they are all major contributors to this Olympiacos side and with the exception of Spanoulis, none of them have stepped up and led, with the three combining for just 66 points in four games.

Spanoulis is currently averaging 18 points in four Euroleague games played, but needs help.

In their last game, an away defeat to Bennet Cantu, Olympiacos committed 13 turnovers and only dished out eight assists compared to Bennet’s 19 assists and 11 turnovers.

The most important stat of that game was no doubt the assists column.

The Reds looked worn out in their first game of the regular season as well, a drab 65-52 victory away at PAOK. Again, Spanoulis led the way with 18 points while Anti, Keselj and Papanikolaou combined for just seven points.

They managed to blow out Aris, and defeated Rethymno Aegean 97-84, But, again the trio combined for 45 points in those two games.

Maybe a Christmas break is needed to kick-start the red side of Athens’ season both in domestic and European play, but if they want to go one better than the 2010 Final Four plus end the green-half of Athens’ grip on Greece’s silverware, they need to step-up.

John Hobbs is an international basketball writer and TalkBasket’s Euroleague and London 2012 reporter. You can follow him on Twitter @johnswisshobbs