In the ninth of our 16 team previews in 16 days, Emmet Ryan looks at a team that came to the league with ample investment last year but wants to make a bigger impact in 2016/17. What to make of Darussafaka Dogus?
As the intro suggests, we’re doing a preview for each of the 16 teams in Euroleague in the 16 days leading up to the start of the new season. Regarding player movement, we are relying heavily on the wonderful Mark Porcaro’s work with his 2016-17 player movement database. You should all follow Mark on Twitter.
We are going through the sides in reverse order of when they take the floor in the opening round of games in the 2016/17 Euroleague season. The entire reason we ended up on that order was because we figured it would be cool to finish with the two teams playing in the season opener.
Coach: David Blatt
Arena: Volkswagen Arena (5,240)
Last season in Euroleague: 9-15 (4-6 regular season, 5-9 Top 16) missed playoffs
Last season in Turkey: 20-10, lost semi-finals
Who’s new? James Anderson (Sacramento Kings, NBA), Birkan Batuk (Anadolu Efes, BSL), Dairis Bertans (Bilbao Basket), Will Clyburn (Hapoel Holon, ISL), Adrien Moerman (Banvit, BSL), Brad Wanamaker (Brose Baskets, BBL)
Who’s gone? Milko Bjelica (Crvena Zvezda, ABA), Emir Preldzic (Galatasaray, BSL), Reggie Redding (FC Bayern, BBL)
What friend are they on a night out? Used to not show up, now they vary between being able to down shots with anyone and not being able to hold their liquor.
Guess who Blatt? Blatt again. Ok I’ll stop but, yes, after the guts of two seasons in Cleveland and one trip to the NBA Finals David Blatt is back in Europe and he’s brought some friends. Clyburn and Wanamaker should fit in nicely into Blatt’s plans while Anderson is going to prove an interesting project having come spent his last two seasons at a dumpster fire in Philadelphia and a far from ideal scenario in Sacto. Despite Anderson’s NBA pedigree, Wanamaker arguably carries the most pressure of the new arrivals as he essentially replaces Reggie Redding as the high profile Bundesliga import. Redding was a surprising disappointment with the Istanbul club and Wanamaker will know everything is expected of him to not do the same.
Dacka, The D, whatever you want to call them were seen as just another well funded but far from heavily supported side last year. They didn’t garner heavy neutral interest until a stunning, and frankly bizarre, last night of the regular season saw them send Maccabi Tel Aviv out of Euroleague and into Eurocup for the first time ever. Though they didn’t follow that up with a sustained Top 16 campaign, it got them noticed.
Now, the pressure is on again. The roster has undergone a massive shake-up and there are some big names on it. The type of bodies you expect to see on a playoff roster. There is also, somehow, some way, despite not really getting a look-in, the human embodiment of joy that is Ogus Savas. Long may the big man do his thing and if Blatt can find a way to use him, well it’ll keep the nerdy corners happy.
Prediction: 6th. These guys are, on paper at least, really, really, good. The pieces are more than there to make a post-season run and the mind managing them is the type of guy you trust to win a hand of five card stud with a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoloy card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game UNO.