Robert Archibald reached the Euroleague Top 16 this year for the second season in a row with Unicaja and the fourth time in four career Euroleague appearances. In addition to his great experience, the center was also one of a handful of players to face all four Final Four teams during this season. Archibald and Unicaja faced Partizan and Olympiacos in the Euroleague Regular Season, CSKA in the Euroleague Top 16 and Regal FC Barcelona in the Spanish League. He also has former teammates on two of the teams – Ricky Rubio, Lubos Barton and Boni NDong on Barcelona and Scoonie Penn on Olympiacos. See which of his ex-teammates Archibald thinks will celebrate with the Euroleague crown.
Robert, congratulations on another strong Euroleague season with Unicaja. Are you pleased with what you accomplished this year?
"We are playing well now. Once we overcame some difficulties, we qualified for the Spanish League playoffs and see it as a first step. The team is playing a lot better now and it is exciting to be close to the playoffs when we are playing some of our best basketball."
What are your thoughts on Friday's first semifinal, Barcelona vs. CSKA, and which of them do you think will win?
"For me, Barcelona is the best team I have seen this year, the most complete team. They have a lot of talent, but also a lot of guys that sacrifice some minutes or points for the good of the game. They are dangerous inside and outside. CSKA is a veteran team. They have been there before and won a couple of times. I don't think they are going to be intimidated and they have very good perimeter players in Siskauskas and Langdon. I don't know if they have enough size to play defense against Barcelona's big guys. It will be an interesting matchup, but I will have to go with Barcelona."
What are your thoughts on Friday's second semifinal, Partizan vs. Olympiacos, and which of them do you think will win?
"You cannot be surprised at anything that Partizan does. They have a great coach and a lot of very good young players. They are a mentally tough team and always find the best way to win, but I think Olympiacos may well be too much for them. It is a very balanced team, very dangerous inside with a lot of big guys. They play really well together and with Olympiacos you can see that they have improved a lot as the season has gone on. Part of the equation is arriving at the Final Four in good form with everybody ready to go."
That gives you a Barcelona vs. Olympiacos final on Sunday. Who do you pick as your Euroleague champion and why?
"With Olympiacos and Barcelona winning, it should make for a great final. Between these two teams, I think Barcelona has a very, very quiet edge. I think that their perimeter players can make the difference, especially Rubio and Navarro. That might be the difference in the final."
Who do you think will be a likely MVP for that winning team?
"Navarro. He is the guy that makes everything happen. Whenever he is not scoring, he attracts a lot of attention from the defense. He shoots when he has an advantage and when the defense is really focused on him, he trusts his teammates and passes the ball and makes good plays. He is the leader of that team."