We have finally reached the last of our 16 previews of all 16 Euroleague 2016/17 teams in 16 days. We finish with the team that hosts the season opener, Real Madrid
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 and, hey look, we’ve just hit the last one.
Coach: Pablo Laso
Arena: Barclaycard Center (15,000)
Last season in Euroleague: 12-15, lost playoffs
Last season in ACB: 29-5, won finals
Who’s new? Dontaye Draper (Lokomotiv Kuban, VTB) Anthony Randolph (Lokomotiv Kuban, VTB), Othello Hunter (Olympiacos, A1E)
Who’s gone? Sergio Rodriguez (Philadelphia 76ers, NBA), Willy Hernangomez (New York Knicks, NBA), Maurice Ndour (New York Knicks, NBA), KC Rivers (Panathinaikos, A1E)
What friend are they on a night out? Massively depends on the company, generally can out drink anyone they hang out with but varies wildly when meeting new crews
There are two things new observers to Euroleague need to watch for this season. The first is Pablo Laso’s patented head down, chin touching his chest, arms folded pose when he’s keeping the rage in and finding his inner peace. The second is Luka Doncic. Actually, everybody needs to watch for Luka Doncic. Absolutely everybody needs to watch for him.
The Slovenian sensation won’t even be NBA draft eligible until 2018 yet he’s already moved from fun kid to oh wow kid to player that is going to get minutes to player who has to get minutes to his current level of player you want to get as many minutes as you can for all of those WTF moments. This corner will go into greater detail on Doncic as the year wears on, particularly after my current travels end, but this kid’s games are appointment viewing.
There is however a Sergio Rodriguez shaped hole in the back court that is going to be tough to fill. Due to roster limitations, Real’s decision to keep both Gustavo Ayon and Trey Thompkins meant they couldn’t just bring back Facu Campazzo from Murcia. That’s going to be an interesting balance to manage this season. The talent is there to ensure Real remain amongst the better teams in Europe and anything short of a trip to the post-season should be seen as a failure.
Fearless prediction: Now if you have been reading all of these, you will know there’s only one slot I can put Real Madrid. They are good, they are better than the pack, and if Doncic gets real minutes they should be really fun to watch. Fun or not, they are still good enough to be favoured to make the final four. I’m putting Real in 4th.