Introduction: Olimpia Milano hasn’t been hit as hard as the other Italian teams from the global crisis. Sergio Scariolo’s team is loaded with talent and experience, mainly in the backcourt with Keith Langford, Rok Stipcevic and Gianluca Basile that join Omar Cook and the others.
On paper this is one of the best backcourts of the entire Euroleague, but Langford and Malik Hairston had to find a way to be effective in the same lineup, being both scorers and ball dominant players.
In the frontcourt Richard Hendrix and David Chiotti are the new faces, with Hendrix expected to bring his all-in- attitude from the bench, while Chiotti will be Bouroussis’ backup. Maybe Stefano Mancinelli could have been re-signed, given his ability as assist man and all around game.
Coach: Sergio Scariolo has the depth needed to make long runs both in Italian league and in the Euroleague, it’s up to him to develop the right chemistry to use all these weapons. With the Spanish national team he has showed that can manage a big roster, but in Euroleague with BC Khimki he didn’t. Last season Bouroussis was a disappointment, maybe a player as Hendrix could thrive in his system.
Key player: Omar Cook is a good leader, but if Hairston play up to his upside he could be the best weapon from the small forward position. If Scariolo surrounds Hairston with a pair of shooters (Fotsis and Basile for example), in crunch time he could be really unstoppable for every defence.
Breakout player: Stefano Gentile, at 19-years-old, has a big upside, but this season his development should take a step behind, with all that depth assembled in the backcourt. In the frontcourt both Melli and Hendrix will play big minutes from the bench and both have that all-hustle attitude that is lacking in Fotsis and Bouroussis.
Biggest Euroleague moment: Dan Peterson was the coach when Mike D’Antoni and Bob McAdoo were the Olimpia’s faces, winning several competitions in a glorious period of the 70’s and 80’s for all Italian basketball.