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!
Just as expected, as the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season gets closer to an end, teams have defined their goals, whether it's winning their groups, fighting for position, trying to reach the Top 16 or just finishing this phase in the best way possible. Two teams have already made it to the Top 16 – CSKA Moscow and FC Barcelona Regal – and some more will mathematically clinch a spot for the next, decisive phase this week. It is something to keep in mind while playing bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge. The more challenging and important the game is, the more standard a coach's rotations will be – and vice-versa. In other words, those players taking part in very meaningful games are meant to do better than those who don't. So far, no team is mathematically out of the Top 16 and nobody has clinched first place in any group, but this may change soon.
My team, Meet The Boss, did a little bit better but is still far from bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge royalty. I scored 120.1 points and rank 13,004th overall, accumulating around 550 credits. I had a lot of troubles last week, as Furkan Aldemir of Galatasaray Medical Park got injured the morning before his game against Asseco Prokom Gdynia, while I decided to keep Nicolas Batum instead of Jordan Farmar, which happened to be a mistake. On the other hand, Krunoslav Simon proved to be a great pickup (24.2) and Donatas Motiejunas of Prokom had yet another great game (30) to make my score look half-decent.
It is time to make some major trades in my team. First, Aldemir has to go because he is injured. A lot of fantasy players are keeping Zaza Pachulia to replace him, and I second that idea. Not that I will do that, because I have something else in mind, but trading an injured player to get his replacement – or his backup – is always a great move. I am selling Batum because he won't be in Bilbao and I needed to sell an expensive player to make room for some superstars, anyway. My last trade would have been Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos, who has had two underwhelming games. Juan Carlos Navarro, however, got injured hours before the trading deadline and I am forced to sell him. Three red crosses - that makes trades easier, huh?
Again, I am going for players who are more than convenient for any team, not only in the bwin Fantasy Challenge, but also in real life. First, I am picking up Sonny Weems of Zalgiris at shooting guards and small forwards. This is a do-or-die game for Zalgiris and he is a mismatch at small forward. Originally, I had Milos Teodosic of CSKA getting into the team instead of Calathes, but I am forced to sell Navarro. Undeniably, my second choice is Fernando San Emeterio of Caja Laboral at shooting guard/small forward. San Emeterio was chosen as the bwin MVP for Week 6, his team plays on the road and needs one of its leaders to keep doing well. San Emeterio is undervalued, too, at 64.77 credits. I am gambling a bit with my final trade, but the big man I choose is Joel Freeland. Yes, he is undervalued at 53.52 credits, but Unicaja just played against CSKA and Panathinaikos. Freeland has a -8 against the Greens and something like that cannot possibly happen again. Robertas Javtokas is a tough defender but I am sure Freeland is ready to do well against anyone.
Remember, my goal is to look ready and fully reloaded by Week 10. I think I am moving in the right direction. I have two former Euroleague MVPs, a former Eurocup MVP, an Eurocup Rising Star award winner, a NCAA Tournament winner and two All-Euroleague selections. This has to work.
Sergio Llull – is playing time will rise while Rudy Fernandez is sidelined. Expect him to play at both guards from now on.
Nick Calathes – Back in the team at the very last minute. Hoping he has a good game against Mulaomerovic.
SHOOTING GUARDS AND SMALL FORWARDS
Fernando San Emeterio – He is a keeper. Able to do many things well, All-Euroleague first team last season. A must right now.
Chuck Eidson – Barcelona may use a different rotation against Prokom, giving Eidson more playing time. He played 13 minutes vs. Olimpija.
Sonny Weems – Plays at home and has scored 20+ in 4 games so far - including the one against Unicaja. Should be a good pick.
Krunoslav Simon – Undervalued and averaging 37 minutes in Zagreb's back-to-back wins. He has been on fire!
POWER FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Giorgi Shermadini – One more week for the big Georgian, always effective in the paint, drawing a lot of shooting fouls.
Joel Freeland – Overvalued, but not for too long. Freeland has all it takes to become a dominant force in the competition.
Donatas Motiejunas – Was worth the wait, as Motiejunas has delivered lately. Prokom faces Barcelona, however.
Sean May – Well, he had 31 index against Panathinaikos in Zagreb. Here's hoping he has a similar game at OAKA.
That's all from me today. Due to some suggestions on Twitter, I have decided to give people more time to trade players closer to the deadline. From now on, the trading period will be closed 15 minutes before the first game's tipoff time each week. As such, the next trading deadline will be NOVEMBER 30 at 18:30 CET, as Zalgiris hosts Unicaja 15 minutes later. As always, trade safely and remember that three trades per week will be allowed, no more. You have been warned! Good luck everyone!
JAVIER GANCEDO - EUROLEAGUE.NET
Monday, November 28, 2011