More than one person has asked me in the past for a definition of how basketball works in Europe. Those persons are always American. They see words like “domestic competition,” “EuroLeague” and “Cup,” and they panic. All of those are concepts alien to the NBA, an incestuous league that only plays with itself, and they are not understood by the majority of American NBA fans. (Or, if not the majority, at least some.) So I’ll try to explain. All countries in Europe have their own domestic leagues. There’s the strong ones (Turkey, Spain, and a much weakened Italy), the top-heavy ones (Greece, Russia, etc), the ones slightly below that (Germany, France, etc), all the way down to the insignificant and/or terrible leagues (such as those in Moldova, Azerbaijan and Britain). Those leagues are by and large just like the NBA; over the course of several months, everybody plays everybody, with regular seasons and playoff structures. And at the end of it all, the best team wins. All these leagues are different in their own way; the French league is notorious for bad defence, and the Greek league is more physical than many of the others. (It’s also infamous for the salary payments being hideously inconsistent, something not helped by the current general Greek economic turmoil. For example, Maroussi – Greece’s third best team – have recently agreed to a two year repayment structure for their players who did not get paid last year, and may have to merge with a team from Crete just to stay solvent. It happens all across Europe at various times, but it happens a lot more in Greece.) However, they play fundamentally the same format. I have never seen a basketball league that does not have playoffs. For the most part, European teams are not […]
Slovenian international swingman Domen Lorbek has signed back in his native country with Helios on a one-month contract. Until last week, Lorbek was with Cajasol Sevilla in Spain’s ACB, averaging only 2.9 points in eight games. He signed there only on a two-month contract and it was not renewed when it expired, which doesn’t seem surprising with that scoring average. Last year for Benetton Treviso, Lorbek averaged 8.8 points per game in the EuroCup and 6.0 ppg in SerieA, but he was replaced for this season by Cartier Martin. More on that in a moment, though. Lorbek now signs with Helios to stay in shape and earn some money while he looks for a more lucrative gig. It’s a win-win situation, because he becomes Helios’ best player by some way, and they need some help. Helios are currently second last in the Adriatic League with a 3-7 record, and are only fifth in the Slovenian league with a 4-3 record. So any reinforcement would be welcome right now. Domen Lorbek is the young brother of former Pacers draft pick, Erazem Lorbek. The two are nothing alike in their style of play, though. Erazem is a scoring big man, with a post game, a mid-range jump shot and the ability to drive the ball, and one of the better big men scorers on the continent. Domen is a decently-sized wing player who is best as a catch-and-shoot specialist. Erazem is better.