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!
And so the Turkish Airlines Euroleague is back after a one-week break. Most teams, however, had a busy domestic schedule, with some of them playing up to three games in the cups weekend. Luckily for the bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge, no team has yet mathematically qualified for the playoffs – and all 16 teams still have the chance to advance, so everyone will be using their regular rotations and playing at full power to either qualify for the next stage or to try to avoid elimination. It is a matter of not only analyzing opponents and injuries, but also check out who played a lot of games and how much time some players were on the floor before deciding who to trade or keep.
My team, Meet the Boss, has been playing consistently and just as I expected, is doing much better in the Top 16. Better late than never, I guess, but with at least five games to go in the 2011-12 bwin Fantasy Challenge, I still have room for improvement. Despite losing Ioannis Bourousis to a last-minute injury, I got a respectable score of 124.6 points in a very difficult week – the Top 16, Game 4 weekly winner had 192.2 points, which was a season-low for a prize-winner. My team moved up to 2,614th place overall and ranks 292nd in the Top 16 + Playoffs standings. Not bad, considering I started the game ranked 23,818th after Regular Season Game 1.
So, taking the cups schedule and the upcoming games into account, here are my trades. First of all, Bourousis has to go because he was injured last week and I don't want to take risks again. EA7 Emporio Armani Milano plays against Panathinaikos in Athens, so I think it is safe to take Bourousis out. I am also selling Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos. I know, he is one of my favorite players, rock-solid as bwin Fantasy Challenge material, but his team plays against CSKA in Moscow right after its only loss of the season and that will probably mean trouble. My third trade is David Andersen of Montepaschi Siena. D'or Fischer of Gescrap BB - his potential opponent in this week's game - is a very good defensive big man and Montepaschi plays on the road, so Andersen goes.
And finally, after so many weeks longing for him, I can at last afford Andrei Kirilenko of CSKA. Should I have taken him before the game started, all my problems would have disappeared and I would be fighting for bigger goals. He has always been too expensive for my standards, but since his value went down to just 110 credits and I earned more credits by playing well – 587 entering the week – I can finally have Kirilenko in my team. Again, CSKA will be fully focused and ready to finish first overall, and Viktor Khryapa is still out, so the timing is right. Ah, the irony - if CSKA clinches first place, I will sell Kirilenko next week. My second pick up is Jamon Lucas of Galatasaray Medical Park. He has been playing really well and Galatasaray plays at home against Anadolu Efes in what promises to be a big game to watch. I am left with less than 22 credits for my final trade, so even though he will probably get into foul trouble against Nenad Krstic, I am rolling the dice on Joey Dorsey of Olympiacos. I am tempted to buy Novica Velickovic of Real Madrid, but won't do it.
So Meet the Boss will look like this in Top 16 Game 5, unless I change my mind at the very last minute, which I usually don't.
Bo McCalebb - The one and only! The most consistent player in the game right now. A must-have by all means.
Aaron Jackson - Earned Top 16 Week 4 bwin MVP honors. No reason for anyone to sell him now.
SHOOTING GUARDS AND SMALL FORWARDS
Keith Langford - Maccabi plays at home and Langford has gone from 28 to 44.5 credits since I bought him.
Juan Carlos Navarro - FCB Regal has a good chance to win its group and Navarro is getting more playing time.
Sasha Vujacic - Well, Efes is in a make-or-break situation, so players like Vujacic must step up.
Jamon Lucas - In this week, as I think he can use his physical skills against Vujacic and Kerem Tunceri.
POWER FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Joey Dorsey - A solid choice at just 18.5 credits. Dorsey has been providing rebounds and blocked shots along the way.
Mike Batiste - Big Mike is playing better and better. Panathinaikos plays at home. What's not to like?
Nenad Krstic - He comes off an underwhelming game and will be ready to deliver against Olympiacos.
Andrei Kirilenko - The most expensive player in the game, finally here - probably for just one week.
So that's all I have to offer this week. Remember that the trading period ends on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2012 at 17:00 CET. Trade safely, check out domestic competitions more than ever and enjoy a very, very nice Turkish Airlines Euroleague week!
JAVIER GANCEDO - EUROLEAGUE.NET
Monday, February 20, 2012