March 24, 2011
The problem with building a team around Greek players, as Panathinaikos have done for many years, is there aren't too many Greek players with enough calibre to play at the very highest levels of Euroleague play. That said, they've done pretty well at trying. Dimitris Diamantidis remains, as ever, and with Panathinaikos no longer running a five point guard lineup, Diamantidis is now firmly back playing on the ball. In doing so, he is leading the Euroleague in assists at 5.9 per game, as well as playing his usual brand of defense and shooting 37% from three. Antonis Fotsis is also still there, as inconsistent as ever, capable of shooting, driving, rebounding, posting, passing and playing defense, and also equally capable of playing soft and disappearing for long stretches. The rest of the domestic help also comes in frontcourt players alongside Fotsis; little things specialist Stratos Perperoglu gets big minutes on the wing, defending both forward spots, moving the ball, and shooting 41% from three point range. Fellow national team member Kostas Tsartsaris protects the paint, rebounds, and finishes around the basket, along with sticking the occasional jumpshot. Kostas Kaimakoglou lies somewhere between the two, and boasts a big ginger beard, despite not being a ginger. [What's the science behind that? How do non-gingers grow ginger beards? As one such genetic freak, I really would like to know.] And Ian Vougioukas, brought in from Panellinios over the summer, will provide post moves, footwork, touch, finishing ability and free throws attempts, whilst also being a complete defensive liability.