An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The Eurocup Final Four
April 15th, 2011

The NBA playoffs are basically upon us, and with the brackets now determined, it’s high time to get some betting done. If you don’t pick a Bulls/Spurs finals, you’re a brave man. However, the onset of these playoffs is far from the only thing happening in basketball right now. After all, this is the crescendo of may league’s seasons, not just the NBA’s. This is particularly true in the cases of the intercontinental European leagues; the Euroleague, which has already been covered, and the Eurocup, which is about to be. Continuing a series of posts that take fleeting glances at every worthwhile current player in the world today – the loose theme of which is ‘Why spend all that time watching it all just to never write about any of it?’ – there follows a look at the compelling protagonists of the final four teams in this Eurocup season. Teams list in no order other than alphabetical. Look at the camera, Brian. Benetton Treviso After a thoroughly disappointing season last year, including being knocked out of the Euroleague in only the qualifying round and being unable to make it out of the Eurocup top 16, Treviso jettisoned most of their roster. The biggest addition came in the form of Devin Smith, who joined from Greek side Panellinios. Smith is both the team’s leading scorer and its best defender, averaging 16.1 points in 28 minutes per game in Eurocup play, alongside 5.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 0.6 blocks. Smith started out life at a post player, has slowly worked his way outwards, and is now a pretty reliable ball handler and three point shooter as well. He probably takes too many threes now, and he’s certainly not explosive, but his offensive and defensive versatility make him the best player on the […]

Posted by at 12:01 AM

Europe for Americans
June 15th, 2010

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 insignificantly 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 defense, 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 built […]

Posted by at 1:11 PM