With the new Euroleague season nearing, BallinEurope is once more break down each of the teams individually on 16 consecutive days in the run up to tip off. As with last season, we’re going in reverse order from the opening round of games. We continue our rapid catch-up process, because we are so behind schedule, with a look at the year ahead for last year’s cellar dwellers, Olimpia Milano
Jordan Theodore talked a great game last season with Banvit. The American guard was regularly out sparring on social media with his counterparts but the one thing he didn’t have was the real chance to prove them wrong. He certainly delivered where he could, guiding Banvit to an impressive Turkish cup title and doing his finest impersonation of Superman as he guided the club to the title game of the Basketball Champions League. Theodore picked up the MVP of the BCL. More importantly he did enough to get noticed at the next level. Now he gets his shot against Euroleague guards.
Volume usually refers to shooters, with Theodore it’s more about work rate. The guy can shoot and he can pass but more important than both assets is his sheer ability to go. A side like Banvit suited his underdog mentality and Milano is certainly hoping he can bring that same mentality to their side.
Some of the link ups are going to be fascinating to watch. He’ll be paired in the back court alongside about as pure an offensively minded player as it gets in Andrew Goudelock and he’ll have Arturas Gudaitis as a big target on the inside. It’s far from perfect, this is Milano after all, but it’s a great shot for Theodore.
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Coach: Simone Piangiani
Arena: Mediolanum Forum, 12,700
Last season in Euroleague: 8-22, 16th
Last season in Serie A: 23-7, lost semi-finals
Who’s new? Dairis Bertans (Darussafaka), Marco Cusin (Avellino), Andrew Goudelock (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Jordan Theodore (Banvit), Arturas Gudaitis (Lietuvos Rytas), Cory Jefferson (Austin Spurs), Amath M’Baye (Brindisi), Vladimir Micov (Galatasaray), Patric Young (Olympiacos)
Who’s gone? Krunoslav Simon (Efes), Rakim Sanders (Barcelona), Milan Macvan (Bayern Munich), Ricky Hickman (Brose Bamberg), Miroslav Raduljica (Jiangsu Dragons), Jamel McLean (Olympiacos), Bruno Cerella (Venezia)
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The issue with Milano last year and, really, since the failure to make their own home Final Four has not been individuals. Well, for the most part, there were certainly issues around Alessandro Gentile. Beyond and bigger than Ale was the overall roster construction. This was a collection of players, many of whom have been clearly good and had the right attitude, who simply weren’t designed to fit together.
A look at the radically new look Milano and it’s hard to see what has really changed. Once more, there’s a lot of talent here. Once more, it’s really hard to see how this actually works. The only way should be up after taking the basement slot last year but Milano arguably overachieved by getting 8 wins, that’s how badly those parts blended together.
Much as I’d love to put my faith in the tried and tested talents, particularly the many guys on this roster who are reliable mentally, there’s just not enough here to trust this side. This corner is as much a Make Serie A Great Again advocate as any. There’s just no reason to thing that corner is being turned anytime soon for Milano.
Fearless prediction: 16th. It’s not for want of talent. It’s about belief and it’s just too hard to believe in this club until it delivers.
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