Club profile: Panathinaikos Athens

Jul 01, 2014 by Print
Panathinaikos Athens bench - EB13
Panathinaikos AthensThe results of the 2013-14 campaign for Panathinaikos Athens are nothing to sneeze at; the Greens won the Greek double and came within one win of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. However the ambitions in Athens are always high and Panathinaikos enters the new season with a new-look squad headed by veteran coach Dusko Ivanovic. Last season Panathinaikos witnessed plenty of twists and turns – plus a mid-season coaching change – before finishing strong. After a run of five defeats in six Top 16 games, Panathinaikos replaced head coach Argiris Pedoulakis with a club legend and five-time Euroleague champion as a player, Fragiskos Alvertis. He proceeded to lead the team into the Euroleague playoffs where the Greens were ousted in the maximum five games for the second season in a row, this time by CSKA Moscow. However, Panathinaikos went all the way at home, winning the Greek League-and-Cup double, both against archrival Olympiacos Piraeus. A long time superpower in Greek sports, Panathinaikos first took charge of the local basketball leagues with 12 domestic titles over a 17-year stretch between 1967 and 1984. Despite a dry period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Panathinaikos bounced back to become a top team in European basketball. In 1996, Panagiotis Giannakis, Dominique Wilkins and Alvertis came together and secured the first Euroleague title by a Greek team, and couple years later the club started a new streak of collecting league crowns at home. In 2000, Panathinaikos lifted its second Euroleague trophy in Thessaloniki with a win over Maccabi Tel Aviv, and the Greens won it all again in 2002 by upsetting Virtus in Bologna. After four seasons with one Euroleague Final Four appearance, in Moscow 2005 when eventual champ Maccabi stood in the way, it all clicked for Panathinaikos in the 2006-07 campaign. It would prove to be one for the history books as Panathinaikos stormed into Final Four, held at the club's home court in the Greek capital, and knocked off defending champion CSKA 93-91 in an instant classic. Two years later the Greens put their name on the title again in Berlin with Vassilis Spanoulis earning Final Four MVP honors in one of the most exciting finals in basketball history. In a 2010-11 season to remember, Euroleague MVP and Final Four MVP Dimitris Diamantidis shined as the Greens turned away defending champ Regal FC Barcelona in the playoffs, then downed Maccabi Electra in Barcelona in the Euroleague Championship Game. During 2011-12 season, Panathinaikos lost a tough Euroleague semifinal and saw its streak of nine Greek League championships come to an end, also marking an end to an era with Coach Zeljko Obradovic. Despite big changes, there was no lowering of expectations. However, the Greens have twice fallen just short of the dreamland. In 2013 season Panathinaikos lost in a classic five-game playoff series against Barcelona, and last year it was CSKA that ended its season in playoff Game 5. This year expect another run at greatness as the Greek champion, under Ivanovic’s guidance, aims for domestic and Euroleague glory, hoping to add to their six continental crowns and 11 Final Four appearances.
Turkish Airlines Euroleague: Playoffs
Greek League: Champion
Greek Cup: Champion