Difficult week, better future
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 Turkish Airlines Euroleague already has an elite group of early qualifiers to the Top 16, six teams that include a newcomer like Unics, last year's Eurocup champion. Great games are happening every week, and the best part is that the 2011-12 regular season's peak is yet to come. Top teams still need to keep fighting to win their groups, true powerhouses still need to lock up a Top 16 spot, while other teams – some with strong off-season investments – must to battle hard to reach the next round. In terms of the bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge, that is only good news. Keep in mind that some teams may soon clinch first place, fall completely out of the Top 16 race or face scenarios in which the team cannot fight for bigger goals. Those circumstances could lead to different player rotations, of course.
It has been a difficult week for us. We insisted that three trades would be allowed every week until the end of the regular season – and are keeping that rule no matter what. We have warned everyone for weeks that some players were cheaper for a reason – that they may leave the competition sooner than others – and most bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge players have taken calculated risks. We have had technical problems this weekend which were quickly solved, too. Having a second-to-none programmer like Jose Maria Benito helps a lot. I may manage the game, but he is the creator and who makes our great game possible.
As for my team, Meet the Boss, I keep getting ready for a better future. I scored 101.4 points, lost some credits again and stayed more or less in the same spot, ranking 12,118th overall. Still, I think I finally have my team more or less where I want it – at around 100 credits cheaper than my best teams, too – but there's nothing I can do about it but try to get better. In that sense, my three trades this week are quite clear. First, I am selling Sergio Llull of Real Madrid because his teammate Sergio Rodriguez comes off a very good game. That is making Llull see less playing time than in the first part of the season. I am saying goodbye to Giorgi Shermadini of Bennet Cantu despite his good performances this season. D'or Fischer is a great defensive player and I need two big men spots this week. Sean May of KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje has to go, too, as his team plays against CSKA in Moscow and that is always tough for any player, especially frontcourt ones.
I am surprised to see a former All-Euroleague and Best Defender like Viktor Khryapa of CSKA at just 35.6 credits. It is the kind of bargain you cannot let go. Since Andrei Kirilenko got injured, Khryapa has moved back to power forward, where he feels much more comfortable. His teammate Milos Teodosic is also back on my team. (I tried to buy him last week but had to make some adjustments due to Juan Carlos Navarro's last-minute injury.) I am tempted to buy Demond Mallet but CSKA plays back-to-back home games and that makes me go for Teodosic. Again, I don't know if I should choose Sofoklis Schortsanitis of Maccabi Electra or Dusko Savanovic of Anadolu Efes - both were All-Euroleague selections last season. Savanovic is now Efes' only power forward but Sofo is playing better and better. I am going for Savanovic due to his extended playing time and the fact that Real Madrid's number one priority will be getting Schortsanitis into foul trouble when they play the Game of the Week on Thursday.
So Meet the Boss will look like this in Game 8. Much better. Much, much better.
Milos Teodosic - CSKA plays twice at home with the chance to win Group B. Teodosic will live up to the expectations.
Nick Calathes - Had a good game last week and should do well against Zalgiris, too. He is seeing less playing time lately.
SHOOTING GUARDS AND SMALL FORWARDS
Fernando San Emeterio - Laboral is using a shorter rotation. He and Mirza Teletovic will be even more important from now on.
Chuck Eidson - Unics is not an easy opponent and Eidson should see extended playing time against Kelly McCarty.
Sonny Weems - Has had 15 index or better in all Euroleague games but one. Weems has been leading Zalgiris lately, too.
Krunoslav Simon - It is a complete luxury to have an undervalued player in Week 8, but Simon keeps doing well.
POWER FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Dusko Savanovic - He has become the only pure power forward in Anadolu Efes. Savanovic has to be on the floor more often.
Joel Freeland - I have unlimited faith in him. He is my early candidate for bwin Week 8 MVP. Has to bounce back.
Donatas Motiejunas - In since Day 1, Motiejunas hopes to lead Prokom to its first win against Union Olimpija.
Viktor Khryapa - Comes off a very good game, is cheap and can help CSKA in many ways. What's not to like about him?
That's all from me this week. Remember, the next deadline is on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7 at 17:00 CET. Trade safely, keep enjoying the Euroleague season and have fun with the bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge!
JAVI GANCEDO - EUROLEAGUE.NET
Monday, December 05, 2011