Euroleague.net's 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 fan's 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 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season is looking like quite a success already. I have to say I am having a great time, watching great basketball and writing about it. Week 3 gave us some outstanding games, but two of them stood out for me. That game between Fenerbahce Ulker and SLUC Nancy is already one to remember. John Linehan of Nancy beat the Euroleague assists record (hours after I sold him in Fantasy Challenge, by the way) while Emir Preldzic dished 12 assists and Nicolas Batum had an incredible 29 performance index rating - despite committing nine turnovers! I also loved Maccabi Electra vs. Real Madrid; a great basketball atmosphere, two outstanding teams, and loads of small details to watch carefully over and over again. In my humble opinion, Maccabi head coach David Blatt was the decisive factor in the game: the way he ran his offense through Jordan Farmar to make the most out of his driving skills was a master move.
As good as the games I watch may be, I am still struggling at bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge, which worries me a lot because, after all, the time to make money is almost over and I am left with very few credits by my standards. I missed out on some big players so far, some of whom have almost doubled their prices. Last week, I went from Sean May to Damir Markota and, finally, to Aleks Maric, who had severe foul trouble against Zalgiris and saw very limited playing time. My team got just 112.1 points and is limited to just 506 credits.
Earning credits is my priority so I have to keep improving my team to look a bit better in the long run. I am really caring less about the overall standings or competing at a good level, more about getting a bit better every week. As such, I am going to sell some of my best players just because they reached their correct price. Each week from now until the team looks better, I will trade two good players who are not undervalued and one cheaper one in order to improve my roster with either undervalued ones or superstars whose stock has dropped. By the way, if you all want to buy Joel Freeland, this is the right time to do it. I don't have the money to do it but at 67.5 credits, he is a very good player to buy.
So, it is time to say goodbye to two of my best contributors in my team - Malik Hairston and Tarence Kinsey. Hairston comes off a difficult game against Anadolu Efes, in which he fought foul troubles since the very beginning. Kinsey has played incredibly well so far, way better than I expected. At the same time, Efes is full of superstars, so I think it's hard to expect him to deliver big numbers always. Both players are at the right price and give me margin to sell one of my three cheapest players - Thomas Heurtel, Dragan Milosavljevic or Furkan Aldemir. I am selling Aldemir simply because there is some good news from the injury reports.
Yes, Sean May of KK Zagreb is back. He played in the Adriatic League and is heavily undervalued in Fantasy Challenge. In other words, I needed him last week and I need him now. It won't be easy for him to play against Freeland, Nedzad Sinanovic and a very motivated Luka Zoric but, like I said, I am all for the credits this week. That leaves me with 122.89 credits for two players at the shooting guard/small forward position. I am picking Jordan Farmar of Maccabi Electra - again, he's heavily undervalued - the most-bought player so far this week. It won't be easy for Maccabi to beat Efes in Istanbul in what promises to be a fun game to watch, but Farmar is playing better and better these days. That leaves me with 62.6 credits for my final player. My choice is Danny Green of Union Olimpija, who comes off a very good game at home and plays again at Stozice Arena.
Yes, I am keeping Maric, whose stock keeps dropping, even though he plays against CSKA. Maric was my original top choice in the game, so I will keep him for at least one more week. Meet the Boss looks like this before Game 4, as always, provisionally.
Thomas Heurtel - He goes back to France to play there as a visitor for the first time. Huertel will be really motivated in Nancy.
Nick Calathes - Still a bit undervalued and playing some of the best basketball in his career. Faces a tough test against CSKA.
SHOOTING GUARDS AND SMALL FORWARDS
Nicolas Batum - Everyone's favourite, able to help his team in many ways. Nancy plays at home and Batum has been simply unstoppable.
Dragan Milosavljevic - Partizan mt:s plays at home against Real Madrid and it is a good chance for him to prove a lot of things.
Danny Green - Let's face it, he made 0 of 9 shots against Montepaschi and still had a 5 index. This guy is made for Fantasy Challenge.
Jordan Farmar - Very undervalued, seeing a lot of playing time, ready to keep his momentum going at Sinan Erdem Arena.
POWER FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Giorgi Shermadini - He is in almost every Fantasy Challenge team. One of the most effective per-minute players in the competition.
Aleks Maric - Still have a lot of faith in him. He was All-Euroleague two years ago and is made for big games like the one against CSKA.
Donatas Motiejunas - Asseco Prokom goes back home to face Kazan. It is a good chance for Motiejunas to lead his team to its first win.
Sean May - He is back! Heavily undervalued and Zagreb's main offensive threat. I expect a very good game from him, he is my top choice.
It was hard to say goodbye to Hairston and Kinsey, but it was meant to be. As always, make good choices, enjoy what it is a very exciting Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season and best of luck to everyone playing the bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge! See you next week!
JAVIER GANCEDO - EUROLEAGUE.NET
Monday, November 07, 2011