Three Thoughts about Fenerbahce from the Final Four

So, it’s official: Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul are the champions of Europe after their physical 80-64 victory over Greek power Olympiacos Piraeus. They are the first club from Turkey to win the Euroleague title in championship history, and this championship may have officially solidified Turkey as one of the top powers in European basketball circles (honestly, this has been the case for about a decade now, but Turkish basketball always seems to get overlooked by most general basketball fans and media). For Fenerbahce fans, this title a big deal, and I can’t help but feel happy for them, as they not only witness a Turkish club win the title on their home turf in Istanbul (always a good thing to win a championship in front of the home fans), but also exorcised some demons from last year’s debilitating championship game loss to CSKA Moscow in Berlin.

Anyways, as typical after any big moment in any sport, I have a few thoughts about the 2017 Euroleague champions as well as their run in the Final Four (not to mention postseason).

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Fenerbahce’s run to the title was historic in so many ways…

Yes, Fenerbahce is the first Turkish club to win the Euroleague title in Euroleague history.

Yes, they won the title as a No. 5 seed in the playoffs.

But, when you look at their whole postseason run, from tip-off of Game 1 of the playoffs in Athens to them hoisting the trophy in front of their hometown fans in Istanbul, their journey to the Euroleague crown is not only more impressive, but downright historic.

Even though they got the 5 seed in the last week of the season (thanks to Zalgiris upsetting Baskonia in Fernando Buesa to drop the Basque club to the 7 seed), their matchup with Panathinaikos was not exactly an easy one. PAO was one of the hottest clubs to finish the Euroleague regular season, as they won their last five games of the year. While much was made about Fenerbahce being fully healthy for the playoffs, people forget that PAO had also dealt with their own health issues in the beginning of the year. Much like Fenerbahce, PAO heading into the playoffs looked like a force to be reckoned with that not only was fully healthy (James Gist returning to the lineup was a big reason they went 5-0 to finish the regular season), but had finally seemed to gel under new coach Xavi Pascual. And that was not even considering that the first two games would be in OAKA in front of the rabid PAO fans, who had made OAKA one of the toughest venues in the Euroleague this season (with Belgrade and Piraeus being also in the mix).

And yet, Fenerbahce didn’t let PAO’s momentum or home court advantage get to them. They shut down the PAO offense in the second half of game 1 in a 71-58 victory, and then outgunned a desperate PAO team in game 2 80-75.  And, in front of their home fans in Istanbul, Fenerbahce took care of business and then some, not only beating PAO 79-61 to complete the sweep, but also clinching in such a defining (almost humiliating) way that it drove PAO’s ownership to make the players and coaches travel back to Athens by bus (roughly an 11 hour drive) as punishment.

In the semifinal, the Turkish club seemed to get the rotten draw, as they were schedule to take on the No. 1 seed Real Madrid, a club that definitely was the deepest and most talented in the Euroleague this season (not to mention featured the Euroleague MVP, Sergio Llull). Despite Madrid coming in as the Final Four favorites on paper (you could argue that the homecourt made Fenerbahce a favorite too), Fenerbahce owned the talented Spanish power, never relinquishing the lead at any point in their 84-75 win over Los Blancos.

And in the championship game? Despite going up against one of Europe’s premiere basketball powers and one of the Top-10 players in Euroleague history (Vassilis Spanoulis), the blue and yellow didn’t disappoint, capitalizing on a hot start (thanks to some solid outside shooting from beyond the arc, especially from Nikola Kalinic) and the rabid fans en route to their 16 point championship victory.

This was not an easy postseason by any means. One could argue that Fenerbahce faced three of the four best teams (beyond them of course) in the postseason, and yet they not only dispatched them all, but with little challenge.

People will remember Fenerbahce for being the first Turkish champions of the Euroleague. However, what Fenerbahce did was straight out of the 1995 Houston Rockets championship playbook, as their underrated legacy may be them displaying one of the most dominant Euroleague postseason runs ever for a seed without home court advantage (well…I guess the Final Four venue counters that title…but technically speaking they were always the under-seeded team for every round).

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Bogdanovic solidifies his stock as a NBA player…and maybe a Udoh comeback?

I have written about Bogdanovic before, and I felt he is as ready as ever to make the jump to the NBA, with this postseason solidifying his case. He earned All-Euroleague honors despite missing roughly a 1/3 of the Euroleague season, and was one of Fenerbahce’s most reliable players throughout the postseason. He went for 25-5-4 with a PIR of 35 in game 1 against PAO, and put up another sterling performance in game 2, putting up a line of 25-8-6 for another PIR of 35. While he regressed a little in the clinching game (10-8; 7 turnovers; PIR of 8), his overall series numbers (19.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4 apg, 62.5 percent shooting from 2-FG, 60 percent from beyond the arc, 26 PIR average) proved that he was Fenerbahce’s MVP during their playoff sweep over the Athenian power.

While Bogdanovic obviously took a back seat in the Final Four to eventual MVP Ekpe Udoh (more on that in a bit), the 24-year-old Serbian guard once again proved to be reliable and stellar on the Euroleague’s biggest stage: he averaged 15.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg and a PIR of 13.5. When Bogdanovic was on the floor, the Fenerbahce offense seemed to hum seamlessly, and his effort and tenacity for a guard on the glass and defensive end seemed to neutralize what is normally a physically Olympiacos team. Going into this year, there were many questions about Bogdanovic fitting in the NBA. Could he handle the physicality? Did he have solid enough skills to adjust to the competition? Could he be a starting-caliber guard?

This postseason and especially Final Four may have answered a lot of those questions. Yes, we will just have to wait and see for sure how Bogdan plays in the NBA, but right now, the future looks bright for him, especially if he makes the leap to Sacramento, where playing time should be ample.

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However, the underrated story this Final Four may be the resurgence of Udoh, who had been considered a couple years ago as a NBA bench warmer, not mention bust (he was the no. 6 draft pick in the 2010 NBA draft, famously picked ahead of players such as Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward and Paul George; this was a big deal to Warriors fans until their resurgence under Mark Jackson/Steve Kerr). Udoh made some strides a season ago in his first season in the Euroleague, averaging 12.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg and a PIR average of 16. However, Udoh didn’t really come into his own until the postseason, and even his breakout was questioned by some, as many debated whether he was more valuable than Jan Vesely (who missed considerable time down the stretch last year).

This season though, Udoh blew away any debate there was between him and Vesely. Udoh averaged 12.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg, and a PIR average of 20.1, all dramatic improvements from a year ago, while playing more minutes to boot (31.2 to 27.8 in 2015-2016). He earned first team All-Euroleague honors, and was considered a snub for Euroleague defensive player of the year (which went to Baskonia’s Adam Hanga).

However, what may have solidified Udoh as one of the best centers in Europe was his MVP performance in the two games against Real Madrid and Olympiacos. For the two-games in the Final Four, Udoh averaged 14 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 6 apg, 3.5 bpg, a PIR average of 32.5, while shooting 64.3 percent from the field and averaging over 37 minutes per game (40 minute quarters mind you for those who aren’t familiar with Euroleague rules).

Seriously. Those numbers are fucking insane. And to put up those numbers against Real Madrid (who have insane post depth thanks to Gustavo Ayon, Anthony Randolph, Felipe Reyes, Othello Hunter, and Trey Thompkins), and against the physical Olympiacos trio of Khem Birch, Patric Young and Nikola Milutinov (who all were primary reasons why Olympiacos sported the best defense in the league this year, according to defensive rating) is a major testament to Udoh’s growth and development as a player in his two years in Europe.

Which begs us to ask the question: can Udoh return to the NBA?

Can he? Yes, I think he can. Offensively, I don’t know if his game will translate, as I don’t think his post game or ability to play one-on-one in isolation in the post will be as effective in the NBA as it was in Europe. Big men tend to be a more limited stock in the Euroleague, and I don’t know if Udoh can be a double-double threat against the Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins or Karl Towns of the league.

However, what Udoh developed considerably with Fenerbahce was his defensive versatility, as he may be a more polished defensive player now than he ever was in his time in the NBA. Yes, we know about the block numbers, but Udoh’s ability to mesh in Zeljko Obradovic’s heavy-switching defensive system (on full display against Olympiacos; a key reason why they ran away with the game down the stretch) makes him a more valuable commodity in today’s NBA game. Udoh can guard 3 to 4 positions at the next level. It’s not quite Draymond Green-esque, but for a near 7-footer, that kind of ability is valuable to NBA teams.

Now, should Udoh go to the NBA? That one is more up for debate. Udoh is a star and beloved in the basketball-crazy city of Istanbul. What he makes in Fenerbahce probably will match what he will make in the NBA, and if not exactly, it will at least be in the ballpark. Udoh is a legitimate superstar here in the Euroleague. On the flip side, he is probably a bench guy, a 7th-8th man at best, in the NBA.

That being said, you never know. I didn’t think Alex Abrines or Tomas Satoransky would be going to the league last year either, and look how that turned out. Either way, Udoh will be entertaining some calls this off-season, and rightfully so. He deserves it. However, let’s hope for the Euroleague and Fenerbahce he decided to keep his star shining brightly in Turkey.

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What’s next for Obradovic?

We know Zeljko is in it for one more year at least. The idea of him winning a title in his home country of Serbia (the Final Four is in Belgrade next year) would be the cherry on top of his illustrious coaching career. What Obradovic has done is nothing short of legendary, not just in Europe, but in basketball coaching worldwide. Let’s take a look at his profile:

  • 9 Euroleague titles (1 with Partizan, 1 with Joventut, 1 with Real Madrid, 6 with PAO and 1 with Fenerbahce).
  • 16 appearances in the Euroleague Final Four (in addition to the teams above, he also made one with Benetton Treviso).
  • 14 domestic league championships (11 in Greece, 2 in Turkey and 1 in the old Yugoslav league).
  • 9 national cups (7 with PAO, 1 with Fenerbahce, 1 with Partizan).
  • 4 medals as head coach of the Yugoslavia national team (silver in 1996 Olympics, gold medals in 1997 Eurobasket and 1998 FIBA World championship and a bronze in the 1999 Eurobasket).

I mean…how can really any coach compete with those accolades, either in Europe or America? Zeljko probably is one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, up there with such legends as Red Aurebach of the NBA and Coach K of the college ranks.

But, let’s say after 2018…what is next for Zeljko? I don’t know if he has much longer in coaching. His fiery, wildly emotional style I imagine hasn’t been good on his health, and I don’t know if he has much gas in the tank, especially considering he’s probably reached the zenith as Fenerbahce coach.

Does Zeljko go into management? Perhaps ownership? Or…does he try to get some kind of job in the NBA, perhaps try to be a head coach?

The biggest knock on Obradovic is he’s too brash to be a NBA head coach, which may be true. I don’t know if he can yell at NBA players like he does in Europe. But, you can’t argue with his results and resume. Winning basketball, regardless of continent, means something. And if you can justify a successful college coach going to the league with no NBA experience, you certainly can (and should) hold the same standard for a successful European coach.

With European influence becoming more and more pronounced in the NBA player-wise, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that a NBA franchise may take a chance on Zeljko and see if his coaching style and philosophy can be successful in the league. Of course, this is probably something that’s two years away from happening at least (no way Zeljko gives up a shot at winning a Euroleague title in Belgrade). But it’s something to think about, and talk about in the meantime.

There will be a post-Fenerbahce life for Zeljko.

How that life will develop and will ultimately lead to though is to be determined…

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14 thoughts on “Three Thoughts about Fenerbahce from the Final Four

  1. Πάτε καλά; May 24, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    pFff, I had written a comment and I cannot see it anywhere. Typical WordPress platform,grrr

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  2. Πάτε καλά; May 24, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    In any case, I was writing the following:
    a)The team of the gardens of Phanar(i) truly deserved to be the winner. They went through fire and water to conquer this title: 0-3 PAO, they won the team with the most talent and then managed to balance the stress playing at home against a very experienced team. They were better at all levels than their opponents.
    b)Nevertheless, I would like to underline here that after almost 5 years and 200 000 000 euros spent (the budget of Euroleague teams+Turkish Airlines), Turkish Euroleague teams managed to win a title that was played in their country. I would say that this is rather inefficient. Additionally, Fener does not have a local franchise player, not even a young one; this can be translated as the following: the moment money are over, this team will have no backbone to hold them. Money will not last forever (especially if during the next 5 years the bubble of housing in Istanbul bursts) and Fener will suffer a lot. I have to say that I am also a bit vexed by the nouveau riche attitude they bring.
    c)Speaking of money, the choice of Istanbul for a f4 was another serious reason NOT to like Bertomeu. Just to satisfy they demand of the league’s sponsor, he awarded the city a second f4 event, despite the frequent terrorist attacks and the recent organisation of a f4 in the same city. In contrast, cities that leave and breath for the sport like Kaunas or Tel Aviv or Moscow, have not seen recently a f4. I am not happy about Bertomeu’s organisation long time now and I think that other teams are not very happy, too.
    d) It is almost a pleasure to see CSKA failing again and again in the f4, especially when they play against that team from the harbour. I call it karma that the deserve it after that notorious f4 semi-final in 2012.
    e)Finally, I am fed up with my president on so many levels. The problem is that we cannot see anyone willing to replace him in the future.

    Next wear however is a different story and we shall see how teams will compete.

    ps. Any ideas which duo of players could make Celtics a title team able to overcome Cavs and Warriors? Any rumours?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Πάτε καλά; May 24, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      Errata:
      *: the moment money IS over, this team
      **I have to say that I am also a bit vexed by the nouveau riche attitude they bring, ESPECIALLY FENER (IN CONTRAST TO ANADOLU).
      ***cities that LIVE and breath for the sport like Kaunas

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      • Pierre Marie Corbacho May 24, 2017 / 1:22 pm

        I’m still sort of getting a feel for basketball culture in Turkey (and Europe) in general, but who are typically fans of Efes? They seem like a smaller, less visible fanbase in comparison to Fener and Gala. Fener seems to be the “bandwagon” team, but that makes sense considering they have been the best Turkish club as of late. Gala seems to have the most active (both in good and bad ways) fans. Efes…well, I just can’t a grasp of what their fanbase is like, which is weird because they were the most successful Turkish team on the Euroleague level until Fener’s recent run.

        Any thoughts or info on this would be greatly appreciated.

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      • Πάτε καλά; May 24, 2017 / 6:15 pm

        Fener and Galata are two biggest teams in Turkey but their fanbase comes mainly from the sport that in the US is called soccer and the rest of the globe calls it football. Efes is a much smaller team, no football team and their fanbase is loyal basketball sports followers who did not discover the sport in 2012 when their team was banned by UEFA from participating in Champions League due to bribery (Fener, I am referring to you).

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      • Pierre Marie Corbacho May 24, 2017 / 6:25 pm

        That makes sense. I know about Gala’s football culture. I remember they have showed football players at games and it was a big deal, even though for somebody who casually knows about football (okay, I really don’t follow it at all), some of the players I was like “Who?”

        I didn’t know about Fener’s bribery scandal. I know I have seen a lot of Fener football jerseys before, so that makes sense Fener’s rise as a basketball team coordinates with that banning from UEFA in 2012.

        I always sorta liked Efes because they’re basketball primarily (no football club as you said), and I respect those fans a lot more than ones who just transition “football hooliganism” to the basketball arena. While I do love the environment of some European crowds, I do feel like it’s less for the appreciation of basketball and more due to the fact that there is no football games going on. For example, Red Star fans are nuts…but they’re also nuts at football games. There really is no difference it seems between a Red Star football match and a basketball one, which dampens my enthusiasm at times in terms of christening their fans as “the best” (though I do like them very much).

        On the other hand, I tend to like the fans from Baskonia. They don’t have a football club, and it’s all about basketball and those fans are just as loyal as any in Europe. Yes, they aren’t the hooligan type, but they’re rabid, and everyone talks about how Fernando Buesa is one of the best basketball environments.

        Thanks for the clarification and that gives me a better sense of the clubs in Turkey.

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  3. Pierre Marie Corbacho May 24, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    Thanks for your comments as always. I look forward to your analysis in the comments whenever I write posts. As usual, I’ll try to address them individually

    A.) Yep, I think it can’t be underrated how difficult this road was for Fener. Yes, this Fener team underperformed during the regular season, but to win two in OAKA, which has been one of the toughest venues in the Euroleague was no easy task. And to beat a Madrid team that was pretty much built for a title this year was no small feat either. At the end of the day, Fener had to win the game, home court advantage in the F4 and all, and they did just that and did it with ease, which makes this victory impressive.

    B.) I have also been bothered by this as well. It’s funny because I know the BSL has domestic player limits (from what I know). However, it seems like the best clubs in Turkey rely heavily on foreign talent, so it doesn’t really hurt Fener when they play in BSL play. As you said, this may not be a sustainable model, not just for the clubs (I think you could lump Gala, Efes in this convo as well), but for the nation as a whole. I mean, if I’m thinking Turkish basketball, who are the best national players as of this moment? A lot of them are young and still relatively unproven, and are at best role players on their clubs (Cedi Osman comes to mind). Sinan Guler is entertaining but he is starting to show his age. Enes Kanter is banned from the country. And if you look at the Top 10 leading scorers in the BSL, all 10 are foreign players. To me, that is a huge issue, and that is something you really don’t see in any other European country that considers itself a basketball power.

    C.) I do agree with you on this. I know they probably went with Istanbul because of Fener’s recent fan attendance in the past couple of F4. It was all about cashing in on the immediate, which is fine, but whether or not it is good overall for the game is another question. It’s one thing to have the arena 30-40 percent fans of one club is one thing. But to have nearly 75-90 is sort of ridiculous for an even that’s supposed to be neutral. I know it’s happened before, but if we’re going to do that, why not just scrap the F4 model and go to a series model like before? If it’s about revenues, that in my mind would be a more guaranteed model. And I would like to see the F4 in different places, which is why I’m excited about the return to Belgrade.

    D.) I have never been the biggest CSKA fan by any means. Impressed by their talented club, but I have never been impressed by their home court environments. Itoudis seems like a great coach, and he’s paid well at CSKA, making him leaving almost impossible. That being said, I wouldn’t mind to see him coaching another club.

    E.) What is up with the president? Is it just the simple “new owner/president who think he can do anything” syndrome? I am a Sacramento Kings fan here in the US and I know we have the same frustrations with our owner, who think he can do whatever without any regard to delegation or organizational structure. The Kings have been set back a while thanks to the moves our owner, and I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to PAO. The Euroleague needs a strong PAO squad, and it seemed like they were on track to get back to that level until the playoff collapse. After the whole ‘bus” fiasco, I highly doubt their reputation will be very strong with foreign free agents.

    F.) I think the Celtics would benefit from a star wing player. Either Paul George (less enthused), Gordon Hayward (a little more, but not really) or Jimmy Butler (really enthused) I think would make this team a real contender. The problem is that they rely so heavily on IT, and he’s such a defensive liability. It’s one of the reasons why the C’s won game 3 and was up in Game 4: they are just much better defensively right now because teams can’t target him in the pick and roll. That being said, their offense is inconsistent without him. They got away with it in Game 3 because Smart played the game of his life and other guys hit big shots. But last night, especially in the second half, they couldn’t hit shit, and Cleveland ran away with it.

    Which is why Butler to me makes the most sense. He’s the best two way player, and the best competitor of the three. Butler can go balls out, and he will mesh with the guys he has on the roster. I don’t think George would defer to IT at all, which would make the chemistry a mess. I like Hayward, especially considering he played for Stevens at Butler, but I do wonder if he’s a big-time player. Butler certainly has his flaws (he either loves his coach and goes all out like he did at Marquette and with Thibs; or he hates his coach and has a tendency to quit on him on occasion, like with Hoiberg).

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    • Πάτε καλά; May 24, 2017 / 6:38 pm

      Starting from the bottom:
      I would trade(!!) IT. He is never going to be on top and right now, his trading value is at its top. Butler is good (Although rumour has it that is heading to LA) but he needs a second good player. My first choice would be,…Westbrook (Stevens is clear that he likes scoring guards) but in order to overcome CAVS a mess. Then I would trade the rest of the team for George or another really really gr8 big man who could trouble LeBron. And then, I would bring a scoring wingman like Gay. But this is all me and I am wondering if there are any rumours how Ainge plans to build the team.

      DPG does not exist, he is a mythical creature that legend has it that it was born from internet trolls and urban legend warriors. After the busgate and the legendary comment, “if it was not for the fans, I would have cut them from basketball” (because the fanbase roared strongly), yesterday he published a video where Zots is seen negotiating his new contract in 2012. The logic was to refute Zots comments that he left PAO due to respect issues from management. Although DPG point was partially proven in the video (DPG offered Zots the 25% of PAO shares FOR FREE so not to let him quit), Zots was filmed WITHOUT his knowledge + it is a bad practice. Seriously, why the heck he still bitches about another team’s coach? The fanbase is over it but our president is not. He is fighting against a ghost or as Seferis (Nobel laureate) would put it “Against an empty tunic, a filmy cloud, a Helen”. (check the poem, Helen)
      https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/51361

      Speaking of which, DPG has a losing history. From a broken jaw by a punch from Dino Radja in 1999 to a legendary embarrassing front cover of his newspaper demanding the resignation of Zots and the trading of all players in 2010 (After the team was eliminated by Maroussi), we have seen a lot. What is really bad for us, is that owning a basketball team is NOT profitable: Sources estimate that DPG probably invests every year 7-8 million from his pocket (For a total of 14 millions budget), meaning that PAO BC is mainly ….a very expensive hobby. Hence, if DPG quits
      a) the budget of pay will drop at 6-8 million euros and
      b)there are not a lot of rich men available who are willing to spend 10 millions euros every year just for the fun of the game and for political influence in Greece.

      ps. I have a friend here (Greek too), he believes that the semifinal between Kings and Lakers was the biggest ripoff by NBA everl He says that Kings would had been the champions that year but by Stern. Just for that, he is unwilling to consider as serious contenders in its top 5, both Shaquille and Kobe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pierre Marie Corbacho May 24, 2017 / 7:05 pm

        I kind of agree with you on IT. Love him, but this really is his zenith, and it’s proven that he’s not going to win you a championship. The fans love him in Boston though, just like Sacramento Kings fans loved him when he was here. I mean, it’s hard not to love a 5’9 guy who plays way bigger than his size and is a class act on and off the court. But is he a superstar who’s going to lead you to a title? Probably not, especially considering his issues defensively.

        I think Ainge is trying to set up a scenario similar to the Big 3 situation (Pierce, Garnett, Allen). Remember, they tanked for a period, had built up a lot of young players and assets and wisely cashed those assets in for Garnett and Allen. AInge is doing the same thing, only he’s gotten lucky because he’s drafted well, Stevens is a very good coach, and IT turned out way better than anyone could have expected. Ainge knows his time to pull another Big 3 is now, but the problem is finding the right player to cash in on. Garnett and Allen were in prime positions for trades: both had already proven themselves as superstars, but they had little to no postseason success in their career thus far. And they were already into their careers, so they had matured, and were going to be more about the team than their careers. Unfortunately, I don’t know if you have somebody who mirrors Garnett and Allen’s situation. George seems very individualistic (I hated how he ripped on CJ Miles for taking the last shot in Game 1 against Cleveland…he was right, but don’t put your teammates on blast and don’t pass it to someone else with less than 7 seconds if you want the last shot), Hayward seems content where he’s at in Utah, and Butler has the mindset, but I don’t know if he really is that GREAT a star yet (he’s kind of in the IT boat; a little better). And to make matters worse, they invested a lot of money in Horford who certainly is NOT that third great player. So, I think Ainge is looking to pull another Big 3, but I don’t know if a IT-Horford and Butler/George/Hayward trio is going to win a championship like Pierce/Allen/Garnett (and Rondo…)

        (I’m not big on Gay satisfying their need for another player; empty player who puts up empty stats. It’s not a surprise Toronto and Memphis gave him up for scraps. So much talent, but is never going to be the kind of player that will help a winning club in a major way and he will always chase the money rather than wins…hence why he was in Sac for as long as he was.)

        Thanks for the info on DPG. It’s really a catch 22. We have seen a lot of European clubs who had once prestigious histories go down quick due to financial issues and changes in ownerships in the last decade or so. You bring up a good point: owning a basketball franchise is probably not the most profitable thing, and most rich men would rather invest their money in something that they will get more return out of. That’s a tough situation to be in. I guess the hope is that you can get a coach or a core of players who can play through the tumultuous ownership, which we have seen before in the NBA (ala Jerry Buss of the Lakers, who was a bit wild of an owner).

        And lastly, as for the Kings, I agree. The Tim Donaghy scandal didn’t help either. The problem was Boston losing that year, and the NJ Nets playing in the finals made it imperative that the Lakers make it for ratings sake. Remember, the NBA was in a bit of a lull at the point, sorta bottoming out in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons winning the title before they were rejuvenated in the late 2000’s. The ironic thing is that nationally a lot of people really loved the Kings and their players. They were a unique and diverse team that a lot of people identified with. If you went to a lot of places without a NBA team or who people’s second favorite NBA team were, a lot of people would have said the Kings. The sad thing is, if the Kings hadn’t gotten cheated out, and won the title, I think we would have seen the Kings become something similar to the Warriors. Instead, they have continued their suffering, hurt by bad ownership, financial issues, and poor decisions in management.

        P.S.: What are your thoughts on Georgios Papagiannis? I watched him this year as well as some games in the D-League. He didn’t play much in the Euroleague though last year with PAO. Do you see some starting center potential long term, or is he probably more of a bench guy?

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      • Πάτε καλά; May 24, 2017 / 7:22 pm

        PapaYannis? DPG’s complain about Sale was that he preferred to have Serbians inside the court (Pavlovic, Kuzmic) instead of Greek players (like Jankovic or Papayiannis). To be honest, he did have a point.
        He is EXTREMELY fast for a 7 footer dinosaur, which allows a coach to have him inside the court even when he has to face shorter and faster opponents after a switch in pick and roll. He has good offensive movements close to the frontcourt. His European background combined with the fact he often plays for FIBA tournaments will guarantee that he will learn the basics well, especially against low-tempo teams, where low mistake basketball is a key issue. Finally, he is not a…softie; he will hustle when necessary without hesitating twice.

        He has to improve a lot the way he passes (since he is a 7footer, he will get double teamed a lot) and he has to improve also his 1 vs 1 game, especially away from the frontcourt. I think it’s mainly his psychology that sets his ceiling; once he will feel comfortable inside the court, he will take much more offensive liberties.

        Overall, I believe he has great potential for his position, sourcing from how fast he can move inside the court (great advantage for a 7 footer) ; he will never become an Antetonkumpo BUT he can easily become a Greek…Tyson Chandler. He will probably start to show off in 3 years from now and he will reach peak status in 8 years from now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. knowledgefreaks June 7, 2017 / 7:03 am

    Well written indeed. Fans of Fenerbahce are very hungry for success. This victory counts as no. 1 among all other cups won by any Turkish team. So, now, rival teams like Galatasaray are expected to make a move to compete better in EL. Overall, this victory will make the fanbase for basketball in Turkey stronger.

    Like

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