Here comes the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs! It has been a long wait, longer than ever, but the playoffs are back and we are ready to watch some of the best basketball that the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has to offer. And in keeping with that good news, EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge continues until the end of the season! There are three additional prizes for the teams with the most fantasy points in the playoffs and the Final Four. The biggest one is a player jersey of the winner's choice, an official Spalding EuroLeague basketball and a €100 KICKZ merchandise voucher. We will have four great playoff series, really hard to predict, and I am sure we will see some surprises, too. So get ready!
As for Gancedato, my Fantasy Challenge team, I didn't have a great Regular Season Round 34, as one of my players – Jordan Mickey of Khimki Moscow Region – did not play. I was rescued by my excellent choice of team captain. Indeed, Sasha Vezenkov of Olympiacos Piraeus scored 68.2 points, more than half of my total score of 131.7! He allowed me to rank 5,468th in Round 34 and climb to 1,722nd overall, which is my final regular season ranking.
Unlimited trades are allowed from now on, so let's not complicate things. There is a "clear all" button; I suggest you click it and start from scratch. I usually go for a majority of players who have the home-court advantage in their playoff series, but this time, I will add a couple of players whose teams will be on the road in Games 1 and 2. Luckily, money is not an issue, as I accumulated enough fantasy credit to afford pretty much everybody I want. There are three road warriors in my team. I am adding Edy Tavares of Real Madrid because he has been his team's main pillar all season. I am getting Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul because he had a huge game against CSKA Moscow, his former team, in the Russian capital earlier this season. And I am buying Vladimir Lucic of FC Bayern Munich because he is an ambitious player ready to make some noise in the playoffs.
I am relying on both Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin of Efes. Every time I have one of them, it is the other who has a huge performance. So I figured that since it's playoffs time, maybe the wisest thing to do is to add them both. Speaking of players who do better in big games, Shavon Shields of AX Armani Exchange Milan is one of them. I expect big numbers from him. Rounding up my lineup, I have Johannes Voigtmann of CSKA Moscow, who is in great shape and has arguably been his team's best player lately, and of course, Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona. Because if you follow this column, you know my Fantasy Challenge team is never complete without him.
So Gancedato looks like this for Playoffs Game 1:
Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (PG) – Micic had a double-digit PIR in each of his team's last nine regular season games, getting 44 against Fenerbahce.
Shane Larkin, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (SG) – It's playoffs time, which means that Larkin will be ready to bring out his best version. And when he does, he can be unstoppable.
Shavon Shields, AX Armani Exchange Milan (SF) – Shields is the kind of player who always steps up in big games. And remember, it is Milan's first playoff series since 2014.
Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (PF) – Mirotic has been rock-solid all season and with fewer players to choose from, I am sure a big majority of Fantasy Challenge managers will buy him.
Edy Tavares, Real Madrid (C) – He has been seeing limited playing time in the Spanish League to make sure he is ready to dominate in the EuroLeague Playoffs. A solid choice.
Nando De Colo, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (G) – His first game in Moscow after leaving CSKA was huge: 22 points, 9 assists, 38 PIR? De Colo will look for more.
Vladimir Lucic, FC Bayern Munich (F) – Bayern makes its playoffs debut and will rely on its main players. Lucic should be a difference-maker at the small forward spot.
Johannes Voigtmann, CSKA Moscow (U) – Voigtmann has been playing great, with averages of 16.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and a 16.2 PIR in the last six games. He should keep doing well.
So there it is. Try to beat me and thousands of others EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge managers to compete for more prizes. Remember, we will still have a winner at the end of each round. Don't miss the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs and have even more fun with the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!