2008 Top 16 profile: Olympiacos

Jan 29, 2008 by Euroleague.net Print

Regular Season:
5th, Group A, 7-7

Team Rankings
1st points
1st free throw %
1st ranking
4th rebounds

Pini Gershon Olympiacos
Pini Gershon
One team that all the top teams are hoping to avoid in the Top 16 Draw is Olympiacos Piraeus. Injuries hounded the Reds all season long as head coach Pini Gershon’s squad dropped its last three games of the regular season to finish 7-7 and in fifth place in Group A. However, with Arvydas Macijauskas, the Euroleague’s November MVP, and Jake Tsakalidis hopeful to return for the Top 16, joining a star-studded squad that has been led by Marc Jackson and Lynn Greer, Olympiacos has all the tools to re-emerge as a contender for the crown. Gershon built this team to score, and despite the never-ending injury reports, no team put the ball in the basket more this season than Olympiacos with a whopping 84.6 points per game. The Reds are the only team in the Euroleague with three players averaging at least 15 points per game and the further options of forwards Qyntel Woods and Giorgios Printezis and guards Milos Teodosic and Rod Blakney make for an unlimited offensive arsenal. On top of it all is thre
Arvydas Macijauskas - Olympiacos
Arvydas Macijauskas
who ranked eighth in overall index ranking at the end of the regular season. Among the many things that Gershon has working in his favor is a group of talented and hungry veterans, many of whom are looking to reach their first Final Four. Playmakers Scoonie Penn and Christos Harissis, guards Henry Domercant and Manolis Papamakarios, and big man Ioannis Bourousis each have at least 50 Euroleague appearances, but e-time European champion coach Gershon, who becomes more dangerous as a tactician and a motivator as the stakes get bigger. Dominant at home, the club’s Achilles heel has been playing outside the Peace and Friendship Stadium as the Reds have only one win in seven road tries. Olympiacos has been to the Quarterfinal Playoffs in each of the past two seasons and from the opening tip this season has had its eyes set higher. Talent and determination should not be a problem under Gershon’s watch as the Top 16 gets underway, however the question of his players’ health remains unanswered. If the Reds are able to field a full squad for the Top 16, the fans in Piraeus should have plenty to cheer about as Olympiacos tries to march back to the Final Four for the first time since 1999.