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!
Well, the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague regular season has reached its halfway mark and few surprises will happen from now on. The excitement has been big and I think it is very remarkable that only 4 of the 24 Euroleague teams are either 5-0 - CSKA, FCB Regal - or 4-1 - Montepaschi Siena, Maccabi Electra. There have been some pleasant surprises and strong debuts. Those teams that disappointed early have the chance to learn from their mistakes and bounce back now. A new scenario opens for the best bwin Fantasy Challenge teams out there. As you know, Andrei Kirilenko is sidelined and may miss the next game. His status is a bit uncertain, as Kirilenko will go further medical tests in Moscow these days. He went up from his initial price of 75 to a current 129.36 - probably an all-time fantasy record. What will the top teams do without Kirilenko? He was a must-have for everyone.
Unfortunately, my team Meet the Boss missed the chance to have Kirilenko long ago. I keep underperforming but collecting cash to hope for better days in the near future. I just had 90.3 points, dropped to 14,141st place, but gained some credits to look to a better future. My idea is to be ready to deliver by the end of the regular season and have a strong second phase in which I can compete a bit better. It turns out that getting Dimitrios Katsivelis last week was wrong - Kalin Lucas is the new starter in Olympiacos - and my general plan of trading him and Nicolas Batum at the same time has crumbled. Above all, I don't want to trade Batum just yet - he earned MVP honors twice and without Kirilenko around, he will be the best player in the game. I had to find the way to trade Katsivelis - at just 5 credits - and keep Batum, but be more competitive. A tough mission.
So, it comes as no surprise that Katsivelis is my first trade. The second is also crystal clear, too: Danny Green of Union Olimpija underperformed in the two weeks I had him. It is a general rule of mine to avoid players who are about to play FC Barcelona Regal at Palau Blaugrana. My third trade needs to be someone expensive and I have decided to get rid of Jordan Farmar. I think he will play well against Milano - a high-scoring team - but it needs to be done. That leaves me with 125 credits for 3 players. Not a lot of money, but it could be much worse, too.
The first player I bought is an obvious one: Juan Carlos Navarro of FCB Regal. First, Navarro at 51.9 credits is a complete bargain - five-time All-Euroleague first team selection, former Euroleague MVP and one of the best shooters in the world. If it wasn't enough, Navarro needs 14 points to become the Euroleague's all-time top scorer - and I am sure he will go for it in front of his many fans at Palau Blaugrana. In my humble opinion, Navarro is a must this week. I am also buying Real Madrid guard Sergio Llull at just 35 credits. He was an All-Euroleague second team selection last season. Madrid plays at home against Spirou, had 104 points against Anadolu Efes last week and 100 at the Spiroudome in Game 1. That leaves me with 38.18 credits for my final trade. I am getting Krunoslav Simon of KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje, again, for many reasons. He is seeing a lot of playing time, in his team's best shooters, Zagreb is playing better - 82.5-point average in the last two games - and is a bit undervalued.
So still-struggling Meet The Boss looks like this in regular season Game 6:
Sergio Llull - An All-Euroleague guard at 35 credits? Playing at home in a high-scoring team? Llull is a no brainer.
Nick Calathes - In since day one. Panathinaikos plays in Malaga but the tougher the game is, the better Nick plays.
SHOOTING GUARDS AND SMALL FORWARDS
Nicolas Batum - The new king of fantasy. Batum has been simply unstoppable at home - and should stay that way.
Chuck Eidson - Barcelona is making the most out of his versatility and leadership - Eidson is able to do everything well.
Juan Carlos Navarro - Well, it is a once-in-a-lifetime game for him. And Navarro never, ever disappoints in such games.
Krunoslav Simon - Cheap, effective, playing at home in a team that keeps improving. Simon is an interesting buy.
POWER FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Giorgi Shermadini - Still undervalued, not for too long. Shermadini will probably leave my team next week.
Furkan Aldemir - Galatasaray Medical Park plays at home, Aldemir is undervalued and getting better in every game.
Donatas Motiejunas - There is no way I will let Motiejunas go after his incredible game against Montepaschi last week.
Sean May - Well, he hasn't played incredibly well lately, but I still have some faith in him to do a bit better.
Remember, the next deadline is on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 at 16:15 CET, as CSKA faces Zalgiris an hour later. Be smart, gain extra credits while available and enjoy this week of Turkish Airlines Euroleague action as much as you possibly can. Good luck, bwin Fantasy Challenge players!
JAVIER GANCEDO - EUROLEAGUE.NET
Monday, November 21, 2011