At the start of the season we previewed all 16 teams, giving finishing slots for each of them. Now, Emmet Ryan looks back at how wrong he was in making his calls on where everyone would shake up in the first season of the new format of Euroleague
Shame, shame, only shame. How foolish we were to go forth and prognosticate, to think our views could somehow stand in the face of the madness that unfolded. Oh BiE readers, I come here not for forgiveness but to kneel before you and whip my back in penance. Right that may be a bit over the top but, hey, with a bit of a break until the playoffs let’s go back and see how my picks at the start of the year compared to the final standings. The easiest way to look at it here is to go through it team by team with their real final rankings and then see how badly I missed.
Actual finish: 1st
Predicted finish: 4th
“If Doncic gets real minutes they should be really fun to watch” – Well I definitely got that part right but I wildly undervalued Los Blancos who were just so versatile throughout the year.
Actual finish: 2nd
Predicted finish: 2nd
Boom, got this one right. Absolutely nothing can possibly go wrong from here…
Actual finish: 3rd
Predicted finish: 7th
Ah nuts. There was no chance I was going to give Oly home court before the season but, wow, they just delivered and proved a consistent force throughout the season.
Actual finish: 4th
Predicted finish: 3rd
I was warmer on PAO than most going into the season and, looking back, things really played out a bit funky. Going 14-1 at home is quite good when you have home court in the playoffs. Going 5-10 on the road won’t be as heartening if they make the Final Four…wait, scratch that, Istanbul will be almost a home venue if they get to the last weekend.
Actual finish: 5th
Predicted finish: 1st
Injuries certainly didn’t help them but, even allowing for that, Fener didn’t look like the best of the best through the regular season. If they can somehow inflict a second home defeat of the year on Panathinaikos, then everything will be forgotten as the Final Four is in Istanbul. Still, even if they win it all, this side was definitely over-valued by this corner heading into the season. Fun thing to note, if Fener make the F4, they can’t meet CSKA until the final so a repeat is still on.
Actual finish: 6th
Predicted finish: 9th
I’m so freaking proud of this pack of misfits. They played like Efes for three quarters of the season, doing just enough to make you think they would blow it, then turned into the captains of consistency down the stretch and have booked a fun playoff series with Oly.
Actual finish: 7th
Predicted finish: 11th
It’s safe to say we were colder than anyone on Baskonia and for most of the season we were looked to have made an even worse call than it eventually turned out. The road back to the final four is still brutal but at least they have that shot.
Actual finish: 8th
Predicted finish: 6th
If anything, we were too warm on this side. Flipping them with Efes almost made more sense in the end but making the playoffs is still nothing to sniff at. Good run.
Actual finish: 9th
Predicted finish: 15th
Oh we were way too cold on these guys and it wasn’t even close. For the bulk of the season, Zvezda looked a lock for the post-season and it took a final day defeat away to Dacka to finally miss out. They made the regular season worth watching.
Actual finish: 10th
Predicted finish: 16th
You guys, you crazy Saras led never say die out-perform what everybody says maniacs. I might have been lower on you than most but nobody was high on you outside of Kaunas yet for the bulk of the season you looked like a serious playoff contender. Good job. Really good job.
Actual finish: 11th
Predicted finish: 5th
Well, that was just terrible. Everybody was broken and there was that game with Efes which was so much fun but oh my everything you stank. An annus horribilis for sure.
Actual finish: 12th
Predicted finish: 10th
I was crazy to value Gala this high but for most of the year that didn’t even look like they’d finish anywhere near as high as they did. A fine approach to the back-end of the campaign, despite the inevitable madness that tends to envelop a Gala season, saw them finish in a solid position.
Actual finish: 13th
Predicted finish: 12th
With a whopping 7 losses decided by one possession, compared to just 1 win, the story of Bamberg’s season looked easy to tell but it wasn’t just about not being able to close games. This was a side that tended to get up in spurts and disappear for weeks on end. It can be an awful lot better and not just because of closing.
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Actual finish: 14th
Predicted finish: 8th
It turns out I was wrong, the talent wasn’t enough to squeeze into the post-season. Maccabi’s issues visibly extend beyond the court with too many cooks in the front office. A clear single voice is needed to give this club direction. It’s that simple at this point.
Actual finish: 15th
Predicted finish: 13th
In the end, we weren’t all that far off with this one. A league-worst losing streak, of 12 games, saw them fall out of contention for the best of the rest rankings but with Keith Langford having his wild nights every now and then, they remained fun to watch. We won’t be seeing them next year.
Actual finish: 16th
Predicted finish: 14th
We expected a terrible year yet Milano still managed to under-achieve this season. Considering their budget compared to the rest of the cellar dwellers, this side clearly should have performed a lot better. If you spend money but don’t do it smartly, well this is what happens. Theoretically another 2 last places finishes in the next 9 years will put their A-licence in jeopardy. I remain sceptical of that but it will certainly be enough to get a wagging finger of disapproval from Jordi Bertomeu.