Devotion gets better

Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.netEuroleague.nets editor, Javier Gancedo, has worked for Euroleague Basketball since 2003, writing, interviewing players and doing all kinds of features about his favorite sport. Among several initiatives, he created every Euroleague fans favorite on-line game, bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge. As the Euroleague season unfolds, Javier blog about Fantasy Challenge, giving you tips and valuable advice about the game, but most of all, sharing his basketball devotion with all of you, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague fans!

The Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 keeps offering surprises and outstanding games left and right. For the second consecutive season, Montepaschi Siena downed Real Madrid in the Spanish capital with yet another defining performance by Bo McCalebb, who has been simply unstoppable since the EuroBasket. McCalebb missed the Top 16 last season, and as he leads Montepaschi to bigger heights, he has become arguably the most important player in bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge. Thats because McCalebb leads the Top 16 in perfomance index ranking (29.5), way ahead any other point guard. (Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos ranks second among playmakers at 17.5 per game.) In other highlights this week, Unics downed Panathinaikos to confirm that the Russian teams are on fire in both the Euroleague and Eurocup while Gescrap BB and Galatasaray were first-time Top 16 winners, using great home crowds to win their respective games. Devotion gets better and better in the Top 16: its a fact.

As for the bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge, my team Meet the Boss is definitely doing better. I scored 176.6 points and climbed to the 3,896th spot - getting better and better. I rank 716th in the Top 16 standings, which is around the ranking I expected to have for the entire season. Still, there is room for improvement and I will try to keep playing well. I am not surprised to see Koke Martinez of Spain leading the Top 16 standings - our two-time winner is a true fantasy specialist. I am shocked, however, to see our overall leader Inna P. of Israel win Top 16 Week 2. She is our regular season winner, has won two weekly prizes and is the top candidate to come to Istanbul with us. It will be interesting to find out!

Time for trades, as usual, three per week. This week, I am doing them based on previous performances against this weeks opponents. Remember, all teams will play back-to-back against the same opponents in Top 16 Games 3 and 4, so keep that in mind when you trade! I am selling Curtis Jerrells of Fenerbahce Ulker because Roko Ukic came back and his playing time will be reduced. Similarly, I am getting rid of one of my favourite players, Chuck Eidson of FCB Regal, as Barcelona has a full rotation now and he wont play as much now. My final trade will be Gerald Fitch of Unicaja, as Montepaschi Siena is a very good defensive team, especially at both wings. Last week, Kyle Singler, Marty Pocius, Carlos Suarez and Jaycee Carroll combined for a performance index rating of 14. Fitch is definitely out.

Like I said, I opted to buy players based on their previous performances against certain opponents. Since Juan Carlos Navarro had career-highs in points (32) and index rating (36) against Zalgiris, added to the fact that Marko Popovic may not travel, he will be my first player in. Navarro is a bargain at just 45.8 credits, plays at home and even when he has returned to the team barely two weeks ago, I am sure he will be ready to compete hard against a good opponent like Zalgiris. Even when he is not playing his best basketball lately, I am going for Igor Rakocevic of Montepaschi Siena. Rakocevic's great performances against Unicaja - when he played for the then-called Tau Ceramica - made him public enemy #1 in Malaga. It is just a hunch - Rakocevic is not playing well - but I trust him this week. My final trade is for a point guard and I am getting Milos Teodosic because he plays at home and has not had an outstanding performance - in terms of index ranking - in a little while already.

So Meet the Boss looks like this in Top 16 Game 3:


Milos Teodosic - a former Euroleague MVP, playing at home in a decisive Top 16 game? Teodosic has to deliver.
Bo McCalebb - a must-have player by all means. Moreover, he plays at home this week. We all need Bo in our teams.


Keith Langford - Still a bargain at just 37 credits, but Langford won't have it easy against a good defensive team like Cantu.
Juan Carlos Navarro - He usually plays well against Zalgiris - and now is facing it twice after being sidelined for a while.
Igor Rakocevic - Goes back to Malaga, where he had some of his best performances. A good scorer at 27.9 credits.
Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos plays at home and Spanoulis is its leader. A must-have player, in my opinion.


Viktor Khryapa - Feeling very confident at power forward. CSKA plays at home and Khryapa comes off a good performance.
Mike Batiste - Panathinaikos faces a critical game against Fenerbahce Ulker and Batiste always delivers in big games.
Nenad Krstic - The most solid big man in the competition. Krstic is a good scorer and rebounder - perfect for fantasy!
David Andersen - Well, Ksistof Lavrinovic is back, so Andersen's playing time and performance will be watched closely.

That's all from me today. Good luck to Inna, Koke and the rest of fantasy players out there. Remember to make your trades before the deadline at 16:45 CET on Wednesday! Above all, enjoy a promising, decisive Euroleague week!