Βy Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
We have finally reached the top of our Euroleagueranks Top100 for the upcoming season. It was a very difficult project which took into account many different data, trying to put them in order under the guidelines of our five criteria and the hierarchy of their importance.
It’s was our first such effort and, as Eurohoops, we can promise that we will continue producing our annual Top100. To be exact, we may even add a Top50 between the end of Euroleague’s regular season and the start of Top16.
We want to thank our readers for their phenomenal respond to this project, their arguments, their disagreements and above everything else the interest they are demonstrating for this ranking and, of course, for Euroleague.
Our job is to evolve this ranking, improve it and make fewer mistakes in the future, reminding you all that those kind of Top100 are always part subjective, part intuitive and always a product of many different opinions.
We want to apologize to all the players who feel we were not just to them, to every club which didn’t have a member in this list and we want to make them clear that there’s no hardest thing in such a project than picking or keeping aside players whose quality is proven by the level of the competition they are part of.
There are at least 30 players who could have been part of the Top100 but didn’t make the cut, because we picked others with a very similar value according to our criteria. The are veterans who ended up in a lower position than expected, because we wanted to put in the list young faces with high potentials. There are also some cases of players ending up higher than expected. What’s certain is that our criteria were strictly basketball related and during the course of the season it will be proven in which cases we were right and where we were wrong.
It’s a big risk to pick him at number five, but we believe in him. We think that in his second season in the Turkish team he will evolve his presence drastically and he will be consistent in high level. He ended last season with 10.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 asp and really good shooting efficiency. He is an all around player who is still not entering his prime.
In the recent FIBA World Cup he was impressive and with the notable exceptions of Preldzic and Khryapa, there are few other players in the league who can help in so many aspects of the game. He can score in any way possible, he is a great shooter, a very good passer and he is impressive when running the floor. He expect Fenerbahce/ Ulker’s game to get into an other level after January, to prove that it’s a final four team and with no clear leader at “1” and “5” position, Bjelica is a top candidate to step up.
He ended up last season averaging 13.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 3.3 asp. Nobody can deny his great quality. He is superstar in this league, one of the most charismatic offensive players. During the season, there were times that he could have been considered the best individual player in Europe.
Still there are two questions that need answers. First of all, his playing style and his one vs one ability, don’t necessarily make his teammates better and his team more efficient. The second question, which is the biggest one, remains his leadership ability. So far in two consecutive Final Fours he couldn’t make the difference in crunch time.
In his 27 years of age, he is already named twice the best point guard in two consecutive FIBA World Cups – a huge achievement by any account – and his basketball instinct and natural talent is incomparable. He is the best fundamentals player in the league, but two things have cost him dearly until now. He is lacking athleticism and in many cases his emotions and his will to win lead him to bad decisions on the court and failures.
He has already played in five Final Fours, having lost two finals, in 2010 (being the season MVP) and in 2012. As it’s proven throughout sport history, some times even the most successful athletes had to fail many times before emerging as icons. That’s why we still believe in Milos. There are many indications for his maturity and this year’s version of CSKA Moscow, combined with better decisions by him, make him one of the favorites to finally go all the way.
He is one of the most successful players in Euroleague’s modern history, having won 3 titles, being the Final Four MVP in all of them and that means that he never lost a Final Four game! That’s says a lot for his value, his success and his leadership ability. He ended last season averaging 15.1 points and 4.5 assists, but lost many games because of injuries and couldn’t lead his team to a third consecutive Final Four.
Under conditions, Olympiacos is still considered one of the teams which will fight for the Final Four and if something like this happens, Spanoulis will have a lot to do with that. He is a great scorer with many aspects of his game not reminding a European player and one of the most important combo guards in European basketball history.
We guess that nobody would complain if Spanoulis, or Rodriguez – like we chose to – was our number one. We picked “El Chacho” over Spanoulis for only one reason. We think that Real Madrid starts the season having bigger chances to go further than Olympiacos, despite the “jinx” of hosting the Final Four. Sergio was the MVP of last season, averaging 14 ppg, 5 asp, 1.2 spg, 2 rpg and a mind-boggling 50% efficiency in threes. He is a joy to watch, an attractive combination of a calculator like mind with a lot of flair in his game, when he is in a good condition.
He is an amazing ball handler and passer and an offensive threat all over the floor. He can drive and he can shoot from everywhere. In the two lost finals of Real last season he was not bad, but couldn’t lead his team to the win. And there’s also one more detail which seals the deal for us. In a set five vs five game, in which Real is not so effective as on the open court, he is the only player who can make a big difference for his team.