Hello everybody and happy 2009 to every BallinEurope reader! First and foremost, I must apologize for my non-blogging last week. I was on holiday and returned one hour before the games with a ton of things to do. Things didn’t go as planned, either, trades were not good and I went down some positions. Hope the new year brings you all you wish for.
Basketball-wise, I just want Cajasol to avoid relegation. I could wish for a terrific Euroleague Final Four, but hey, it’s in Berlin, in a state-of-the-art, brand new arena, with four outstanding teams, a Junior Tournament that’s stronger than ever and a good, professional organization. Hopefully, little can go wrong.
I started 2009 with a 168.6 score — not bad, but not at all good. I’m trying to avoid players on teams already eliminated or named group champions. The problem is, only three trades are available: We will have open changes at the end of this round, and there is a ton of work to do.
My team right now has Mantas Kalnietis and Greer at point guards; Jonas Maciulis, Romain Sato, Igor Rakocevic and Sani Becirovic at wings; Tiago Splitter, Felipe Reyes, Marcus Haislip and Mike Batiste in the middle. Becirovic has the flu and is questionable in the big game against Fenerbahce Ulker. He did not play this weekend. This pretty much conditions all my trades. If Sanny Boy plays, he will have a good game for sure. But honestly, I don’t know.
Then Tau plays Joventut with nothing to worry about, but they play at home and coach Ivanovic likes to win it all. Rakocevic has a big matchup against Ricky Rubio and Splitter surely wants to take revenge against Edu Hernandez-Sonseca, who outclassed him in Badalona to become the Week 7 MVP. It’s all too complicated.
I decided to trade Greer, Becirovic and Splitter. Strange as it may seem, I think it will work best.
My first trade has to be logical. If I think Becirovic won’t play, then Ibby Jaaber is set to rock the show. If Becirovic finally plays, then, well, I made another mistake. We’ll see! I’m also picking up Immanuel McElroy because Alba needs to win to make the Top 16. I don’t expect McElroy to have the incredible game he had in Badalona last week – but he should be fine against Olimpija. That way, I can add any player I want at center. Maccabi plays at Malaga and I don’t like that fantasy-wise. Even though I am tempted to grab Cyril Julian, one of my favorite players, I decided to go with Ksystof Lavrinovic. So my team looks like this:
Mantas Kalnietis – right now, the most underrated player in the game and Zalgiris needs a win.
Ibby Jaaber – Lottomatica needs to win to finish second. Jaaber is in great shape.
Jonas Maciulis – The Bull has been playing really well lately, becoming his team’s leader.
Romain Sato – No Kaukenas in Nancy, so Sato should step up. He had a 56 index game in the Italian League recently.
Igor Rakocevic – Don’t expect Tau to sit players out: Dusko Ivanovic is not that kind of coach.
Immanuel McElroy – Frankly, I don’t see anyone in Olimpija matching his athleticism and strength.
Ksistof Lavrinovic – A nightmare matchup for anybody, especially playing alongside the team’s silent leader Shaun Stonerook.
Felipe Reyes – Madrid must win to finish second. Expect Reyes to battle hard against Kaya Peker and Kerem Gonlum.
Marcus Haislip – A tough game for him against Maccabi Electra. Still, I had no more trades.
Mike Batiste – Panathinaikos needs to win big and hope for Siena to lose to finish second. That’s why he stays.
Good luck everybody, and see you again before the start of the Top 16! Enjoy the unlimited trading – It’s now or never!