We start today a regular commentary on the Euroleague tournament.
One of the main features of this year’s Euroleague is the lack of consistency in the performance of the Spanish teams, with the exception of Real Madrid.
There are different reasons, although the end result is a reduction in the weight of the Liga Endesa in European basketball.
FC Barcelona is for all intents and purposes building a new project. Its defeat at Tel-Aviv may seem disappointing, but it is probably closer to reality than we think. Xavi Pascual is building new strength: Satoransky, Abrines, Pleiss, Thomas, no doubt good foundations. But the transition will take some time, it is unlikely Barcelona will be at the Final Four this year.
Unicaja is at that point where Joan Plaza has to make a decision. Is it worth keeping up with the Euroleague or is Liga Endesa enough for Unicaja? My bet is that Plaza will focus his limited resources on Liga Endesa, which is the most sensible course of action. It is remarkable how well Unicaja is playing given the limited depth of its roster. Plaza is doing a fine job, again.
Baskonia is well beyond its means, we will talk about Baskonia in future posts.
We are left with Real Madrid, which is again expected to nothing less than a Final Four qualification. It is doing its homework and the team feels more solid than a month ago. The real pressure starts now and will build up quickly for the period Feb-May.
Three out of the four Spanish teams are not on a par with the leading contenders: CSSKA, the Greek and Turkish teams are performing better. I think that this could be the year when we see a Turkish team at the Final Four.