Looking back: one of the best seasons for LKL ever

Yet another year full of exciting events in Lithuanian basketball flew past faster than the midnight express. In the meantime, the Lithuanian league (LKL) celebrated one of the most successful seasons in its history, despite being surrounded by some minor controversy once again.

The color in fashion – after a two year break – was green again, as Zalgiris gave the city of Kaunas a chance to celebrate the superiority over Lietuvos Rytas, who were denied the chance to complete the club’s first ever three-peat. And although the season might seem to have been very calm comparing to the circus that last year’s finals turned out to be, that was not the case.

It seems that controversy is exactly what people have become to expect for and just tend to view it as a given when talking about Lithuanian basketball and especially Vladimir Romanov, the controversial owner of Zalgiris, who saved the club from bankruptcy two years ago, but has almost self-willingly made himself a public villain.

The man-in-command for the Greens veered away to creative writing with public letters about the ‘pervert minds in Lithuanian basketball’, ‘slave referees’ and eventually ‘defeating the devil’. As if that wasn’t enough, Romanov himself admitted he was close to throwing punches at Marcus Brown after the club’s only loss in Vilnius.

Although the big boys had their share of fighting, the rusty Lithuanian basketball system was finally given a sturdy impulse for change, as Rudupis finally managed to squeeze onto the podium, taking the bronze medals and ending Siauliai’s seven-year predominance over the other smaller teams.

What separated this edition of the LKL is that the league was finally competitive and, unlike in many previous years, there was something to fight for with Siauliai’s roster being reasonably weaker following the departures of Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Deivydas Gailius and Arvydas Siksnius.

For once, medals were up for grabs. And, perhaps feeling exactly that, many teams found some extra cash to bring home some very decent Lithuanian players from abroad – Aurimas Kieza, Rolandas Alijevas, Martynas Mazeika, Mantas Ruikis and a couple of others, a class above the usual talent in the Lithuanian league.

Attendance numbers are shocking for a reportedly basketball-mad country like Lithuania – which it’s not, but perhaps another time about that – with the average gates at only 1147 for the season. The faces at the top are familiar: Zalgiris with an average of 3656 spectators and Lietuvos Rytas, which drew 2469 fans per game. The good thing is that the league-wide numbers are on an increase and many teams have taken on-board professionalism both when it comes to building a team and working with the fans.

Teams like Juventus Utena, Neptunas Klaipeda, Rudupis Prienai and Techasas Panevezys have transformed themselves into attractive organizations, which have a nice future ahead of them. For others, it would be time to realize that we’re living in a modern day and age before the train is out of sight and start serious work instead of the day-by-day approach to things. If there’s ever going to be a time when someone is going to give Lietuvos Rytas and Zalgiris a bigger challenge, it will definitely take a much more serious approach and, at least in the nearest future, lots and lots of luck.

Advertisements
Looking back: one of the best seasons for LKL ever

Prediction time: LKL finals start on Thursday

LKL finals on ThursdayNow, let me tell you one thing, which you might have already heard somewhere – time flies fast, too fast. As much as we have all enjoyed this season, it’s inevitably closing to an end. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Lithuanian basketball went on another roller-coaster ride throughout the season with its ups and downs. Rather usual stuff in this part of the world, I have to say.

Of course, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. There still is one very important unresolved issue – who will get all the silverware in the Lithuanian league. Remember what happened this time last year? Things did get quite noisy…

Anyway, as you all know, the best example of a two-party system in the world is the Lithuanian championship. Like always, a two horse race. All three meeting between Žalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas have gone in favor of the Greens, two in rather confident fashion.

  1. Žalgiris 85-60 Lietuvos Rytas – November 21, Kaunas.
  2. Lietuvos Rytas 69-81 Žalgiris – February 13, Alytus.
  3. Lietuvos Rytas 57-74 Žalgiris – March 26, Vilnius.

However, what’s probably more amazing than this result is that the sides met only three times, compared to six the season before. Add a seven game series, which went down to the wire… You know, food generally tastes better when you’re hungry. That’s exactly the case here.

Picking a winner in the series might look an easy task, but, believe me, it isn’t as easy as it seems. With Martynas Pocius going down with a back injury, things aren’t that clear any more. And, to be fair, Lietuvos Rytas aren’t the same team they were the previous times with a coaching change, Aleksandar Rašić at the point and Brad Newley and Artūras Jomantas finally finding their stride.

Do not get me wrong, Žalgiris are still favorites. Even the current Lietuvos Rytas’ coach Darius Maskoliūnas, who was at the helm of the club from Kaunas in the finals last season before getting fired midway, agrees.

Position by position, Žalgiris seemed to have an advantage – if not in skill, then in depth – Aleksandar Rašič might be the best point guard in the series, but Žalgiris have Mantas Kalnietis and DeJuan Collins to put against him. Do not forget the small Slovenian Alesksandar Čapin as well.

As I’ve mentioned, Martynas Pocius’ injury is a big blow, as Lietuvos Rytas gain a rather big advantage on the wings. Martynas Gecevičius is probably the best shooting guard among the two teams and the small forward lineup that Lietuvos Rytas have to offer would be a treat for any team – Simas Jasaitis, Brad Newley and Artūras Jomantas. In Žalgiris, the story is a sadder – Tomas Delininkaitis, Artūras Milaknis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Marcus Brown, who has arguably been the worst player on this Žalgiris team this season. That’s where Žalgiris will have a lot of problems.

Under the boards, the story is rather different. For Žalgiris, a rather big drop-off in quality after Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius and Travis Watson, but the Greens still have a lot of options to throw at you – Boban Marjanović, Trent Plaisted or even Omar Samhan. While Lietuvos Rytas’ frontline is rather thin with Jonas Valančiūnas being the only credible center and Kenan Bajramović and Milko Bjelica sharing the power forward position. And one thing should also be mentioned – Bjelica has been playing like crap after the Euroleague season ended. No effort whatsoever. I will be happy to see him leave after the season. If Lietuvos Rytas want a distant chance at the Lithuanian trophy, they need to limit the damage down low. That’s their only chance.

Last year my predictions for the final were quite accurate – my heart chose Lietuvos Rytas in six, while the brain argued it was going to take seven games with no clear winner. Ended with Lietuvos Rytas winning in seven.

I do not expect to get this one wrong, but as a guy from Vilnius, I have to say that my heart picks Rytas in seven, while the more logical pick would be Žalgiris in six. To make things more official, my final answer is 4-3, advantage to Rytas. Let’s see how things go… The truth usually lyes somewhere in-between.  The first game is on Thursday in Kaunas 19:15 local, so 18:15 CET! Will drop a link of a stream on my twitter feed, so be sure to check out @LithuaniaBasket!

Prediction time: LKL finals start on Thursday

The battle may be lost, but not the war

The biggest rivalry in Lithuanian sports finished in rather undramatic fashion as Lietuvos Rytas fizzled, while Zalgiris sizzled and comfortably took the victory that practically sealed them the home-court advantage through all playoff stages. However, it is fair to say, that fans didn’t get their money’s worth having to sit through two hours of offensive and defensive misery as both sides – and especially Lietuvos Rytas – didn’t show anything even close to Euroleague-level basketball. There’s a reason neither Lithuanian team made it past the Top 16 stage. And a good one at that…

While Zalgiris were undoubtedly the deserved winners, the win itself does come with a situation-influenced and weakened opponent. The main issue being the fact that Lietuvos Rytas played without a true playmaker, starting the game with Simas Buterlevicius handling the ball most, which kind of tells the story on its own. Though it might seem strange not to see Martynas Gecevicius in the role which he often used to fill under Rimas Kurtinaitis, it might not have been such a bad idea by coach Aleksandar Trifunovic, who wanted to use Gecevicius more in his natural position. However, there was a slight problem – without a proper point guard, it is rather difficult to create open opportunities for a shooter.

Another option was to use Darryl Strawberry, but as the game later showed that the American is better suited for a headless chicken running competition than handling the point guard duties. I don’t want to be too harsh on the management for trying to find a back-up for Khalid El-Amin, who could bring a different dimension to the team with his athleticism, but it looks like the signing was rather a miss than a hit, as Strawberry turned out to be more of a two-guard, which Lietuvos Rytas didn’t really need.

It seems like the point guard position is kind of cursed in Vilnius – the club has tried out five different playmakers, who have left the team for one or the other reasons. The two main departures have been of Sarunas Jasikevicius, who left Lietuvos Rytas for a ‘final four bound’ Fenerbahce, while Khalid El-Amin returned home to the States after severely injuring his knee in the last Euroleague Top 16 game against Caja Laboral. While Zydrunas Kelys was demoted to the club’s second team after failing to heal from a wrist injury and the club had also been trying to ship Igor Milosevic for a while before succeeding to stick him out to Trabzonspor, the most comical move appears to be the one of Jerry Johnson. It appears that Johnson’s wife and kids – though the kids seemed to be having fun running around the court after games – were so unhappy with the weather in Vilnius that to the player asked for a move to Galatasaray.

However, Lietuvos Rytas’ troubles at the point guard position could’ve been over already for a while now as the management of the club had agreed to a contract with former Charlotte Bobcats guard Sherron Collins, but as far as my knowledge goes, coach Trifunovic passed on the player. As we’re led to believe now, for quite a good reason – it looks like Aleksandar Rasic will coming to Vilnius. If you ask me, he’s exactly what this Lietuvos Rytas team needed to keep in themselves in contention for the LKL trophy, which like a season ago, can guarantee the Vilnius side a place in Euroleague – definitely something worth fighting for…

Note: You can read find much more of my posts about European basketball in general and not only about Lithuanian basketball at Euro-Step.net.

The battle may be lost, but not the war

The Wisemen Know, Volume 13

The title tells it all – basketball experts are going to tell you what they think of the Lithuanian team chances in the upcoming Euroleague games as well as a weekly question about European hoops in general. The panel will consist of well-respected coaches (Luka Bassin and Tane Spasev), scouts (Alejandro Gonzalez and Rafael Uehara)  and many different basketball writers (Arkadios Chasirides, Christophe Ney, John Hobbs, Nick GibsonOs DavisSebastian Komianos, Simon Jatsch) and even a pro basketball player Milan Prodanovic. Also, for Volume 13, we’ve got a guest – our Turkish basketball expert Çağrı Turhan. I can assure you that these clever minds will all surely have something interesting to share.

To make it even more interesting, there’s a catch involved as each of the experts had only one limitation in the process – the thoughts had to fit in a tweet (140 characters).

UNTIL NEXT SEASON, EUROLEAGUE!

Alejandro Gonzalez: A Lithuanian shock in Athens was enough and Lietuvos did it vs. PAO. Olympiacos should win this one.

Christophe Ney: Olympiacos.

John Hobbs: Olympiacos by double-digits. I seem to jinx the opposition though, so this might go down to the wire.

Luka Bassin: It will be almost “friendly game”, so it depends who’ll focus more and be more aggressive – I say Olympiacos.

Milan Prodanovic: Olympiacos.

Nick Gibson: Bourousis’ injury hurts Oly’s depth inside, but it might make them a little quicker. Zoran Erceg thinks so, too. Olympiacos.

Os Davis: At 2-8 in the last 10 EL games, how can BiE go with Zalgiris? Clinched spot or not, the Reds will cruise against Zouros’ soft defenses. Olympiacos wins.

Rafael Uehara: Zalgirs. Taking a flyer here. Olympiacos has already guaranteed its QFs ticket and has already drew an opponent. Little to play for.

Sebastian Komianos: Olympiakos wins, Zouros gets a standing ovation for contributing to the qualification with his terrible coaching in the first round game.

Simon Jatsch: Olympiacos. Not that I believe in that going 0-4 in the last couple of weeks, but still …

Tane Spasev: Olympiacos by 12. There will be some good basketball first quarter, other than that, Olympiacos will cruise.

Çağrı Turhan: Theo or Zalgiris, both possible I’ll go with Papaloukas.

IT COULDN’T BE CLOSER, COULD IT?

Alejandro Gonzalez: Very tough pick and it could be the wisemen “clutch pick”. Many injuries but I believe in “Caracter Baskonia”. Caja Laboral wins.

Christophe Ney: Rytas.

John Hobbs: I think this will be a closely fought contest – I’m going to go with Rytas though. They play with great composure in the final stretch.

Luka Bassin: This time I’ll go with Lietuvos Rytas, even I’m almost everytime wrong when we talk about LR.

Milan Prodanovic: Caja Laboral.

Nick Gibson: No matter how badly she hurts me, I can’t get enough of that Caja lovin’. I feel a relapse coming on. Caja Laboral.

Os Davis: L.Rytas is rolling despite less apparent talent than remaining EL teams. And BiE’s won’t bet against El-Amin anymore … Lietuvos Rytas wins.

Rafael Uehara: Caja Laboral. I know the game is in Vilnus and Baskonia’s defense is a real issue but I can’t deal with Rytas advancing to the QFs.

Sebastian Komianos: Really don’t know, Rytas has the momentum but both teams are crazy,the Lithuanian team might end up smashing their opponents. Or the opposite!

Simon Jatsch: I say Caja Laboral. They have that little bit of quality that should see them through despite playing a poor season so far.

Tane Spasev: There we go…crunch time, and guess what: Going AGAINST Rytas 🙂 Caja by 4. Caja’s San Emeterio will be the key. El Amin will not win..

Çağrı Turhan: Expect a too close game. I hope Rytas gets well deserved PO spot as the most impressive team of Top 16, not to forget Zeljko’s luck. Amiiin!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Alejandro Gonzalez: Cajal Laboral hasn’t many options for that spot and Teletovic is always a potential “game breaker” while he’s in the floor.

Christophe Ney: 43.5% 2s and 35% 3s is not too bad for a SG, isn’t it? 😉

John Hobbs: Look at his numbers, he isn’t playing badly in honesty. Even when you think he is missing everytime, he’s still averaging about 35% from deep this year.

Luka Bassin: About Teletović-probably coach Ivanović trusts him a lot…you need to ask coach.

Milan Prodanovic: Teletovic is half Tele, meaning he is half VEAL (in Serbian), meaning he has superhuman powers!

Nick Gibson: Mirza, on the other hand, is the girl who won’t stop showing you pictures of her cat from her camera phone. Amazing she still gets dates.

Os Davis: O, an easy one. (Not!) How about: Without Mirza, Baskonia shoots 50.2% overall & so can afford to absorb a few bricks & manage a solid 47.9%.

Rafael Uehara: Barac & Batista are too similar and crowd the paint when together. Ivanovic likes to always have 2 bigs on the floor. Sow can’t get time.

Sebastian Komianos: Mirza Teletovic is on an unofficial competition against Milos Teodosic for the most shots attempted. Now it’s hard for Caja to reach the Top8 and Final 4 so he wants to have the lead. And Ivanovic knows he will never again win another title so he wants to contribute!

Simon Jatsch: Ivanovic looks very frustrated at times with Teletovic, definitely. I don’t see many alternatives though. Bjelica? Too inconsistent.

Tane Spasev: The secret is that he’s the only “experienced” big man there. He’s at Caja for how long now, 4 years? Coach trusts him, he knows the system.

Çağrı Turhan: First, I thought he owns sextapes of Ivanovic, then realized it should be much worse, deserves to be the fun object more than Begic.

The Wisemen Know, Volume 13

How seriously should we take Lietuvos Rytas?

Lietuvos Rytas seem to have pulled an impossible stunt bouncing back from a horrendous start of the season to a position where a win against Caja Laboral would guarantee the Vilnius side quarterfinal berth. Back-to-back victories against Unicaja and Panathinaikos have sparked a lot of optimism in the eyes many coloring the upcoming do-or-die battle in all-too-bright colors.

Throughout the whole season Lietuvos Rytas has proven time and time again, that they shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but is the rise in form substantial this time or is it yet another time when a hyped-up team will be brought to the ground? To be fair, there should be just as much of skepticism as there are upbeat tunes.

The number of midseason moves made by Lietuvos Rytas, both in and out of the club, would be hard to match for any Euroleague team. The huge in-and-out movement to compensate the mishaps of the start of the season — remember, coach Drazen Anzulović lasted a single official game — had its toll as well, as the new crew needed time to tune their game before a slow but sure recovery which saw the defending Lithuanian champions reach the Top 16.

It has been those situations where Lietuvos Rytas couldn’t put a foot wrong where the team, led by amazing performances from Khalid El-Amin, flourished. And that is what amazes most. For a mediocre team — or at least thought to be such by many — to be a clutch performer is rare. However, it’s usually individual players and strong personalities that decide the game late on and Lietuvos Rytas has had many strong ones – namely Khalid El-Amin and Šarunas Jasikevičius.

Despite winning the last six of eight games in Euroleague, Lietuvos Rytas still haven’t convinced anyone in Europe that they are a competitive team, which can put up a challenge no matter what the opposition is. With that said, victories against Barcelona at home in Vilnius and Caja Laboral and Panathinaikos on the road been massive upsets, but yet, even despite such a spectacular run — which probably looks more impressive in paper than in reality —  the Lithuanian side has had a slip here and a slip up there. Losses to Unicaja and Žalgiris in the Lithuanian Cup spring to mind as examples of rather poor performances, which have perhaps shaded how remarkable the mid-season turnaround was and how much coach Aleksandr Trifunović has got to do with the breakthrough.

Turning a lost season around was a huge achievement in itself, but true class isn’t just playing well. Consistency is the magic word. And it’s the word that you couldn’t currently link with Lietuvos Rytas. The next step for Aleskandr Trifunović is to add it to his team’s lexicon. Not an easy task, but if the side from Vilnius wants to prove their point, the best place to start is on Thursday against Caja Laboral. In fact, it’s the only place to start…

How seriously should we take Lietuvos Rytas?

The Wisemen Know, Volume 12

The title tells it all – basketball experts are going to tell you what they think of the Lithuanian team chances in the upcoming Euroleague games as well as a weekly question about European hoops in general. The panel will consist of well-respected coaches (Luka Bassin and Tane Spasev), scouts (Alejandro Gonzalez and Rafael Uehara)  and many different basketball writers (Arkadios Chasirides, Christophe Ney, John Hobbs, Nick GibsonOs DavisSebastian Komianos, Simon Jatsch) and even a pro basketball player Milan Prodanovic. I can assure you that these clever minds will all surely have something interesting to share.

To make it even more interesting, there’s a catch involved as each of the experts had only one limitation in the process – the thoughts had to fit in a tweet (140 characters).

[EDITED: HA HA!]

Alejandro Gonzalez: This should be the easiest pick of the season involving Lietuvos Rytas. Anything but a solid Greek win will surprise me. PAO.

Arkadios Chasirides: Panathinaikos.

Christophe Ney: Pana.

John Hobbs: Panathinaikos, purely for home-court advantage. Rytas will struggle.

Luka Bassin: I believe that LR has no chances in Athens. Clear win for Panathinaikos

Milan Prodanovic: Panathinaikos.

Nick Gibson: Rytas plays better when Brad Newley is aggressive. Period. If he can play Romain Sato to a stalemate, I like Rytas’ chances. Pana…by 5.

Sebastian Komianos: Panathinaikos, no idea how they can lose a home game against Rytas.

Simon Jatsch: Panathinaikos, but closer than expected.

Tane Spasev: Pao by 20…we can talk and analyse but the deference in class is obvious.

ZALGIRIS FAVORED FOR THE HOME WIN

Alejandro Gonzalez: Tough pick. Anything could happen and could be key for wisemen standings! I’m going with Valencia and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Arkadios Chasirides: Zalgiris.

Christophe Ney: Zalgiris.

John Hobbs: Close game, but I’m going with Zalgiris.

Luka Bassin: Tough one. Close to overtimes, maybe. This time I’ll go with Lithuanians. Zalgiris, do not screw this one!

Milan Prodanovic: Valencia.

Nick Gibson: Nando de Colo continues to be the most singly disappointing player in this Top16 and Trent Plaisted has proven he belongs. Zalgiris by 7.

Sebastian Komianos: Zalgiris, they need to use the momentum.

Simon Jatsch: Damn difficult I thought. But then I realised that D.Collins is playing for the hosts. Hence it is an easy choice: Zalgiris by 23.

Tane Spasev: Now this is the game that I like. Zalgiris by 7. I like this match-up for Zalg. Have in mind though,Valencia picked up form. Pesic is great.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Alejandro Gonzalez: This season or just the best one coaching in Euroleague right now? Messina is my favorite but I love Pianigiani job in Siena.

Arkadios Chasirides: Zeljko.

Christophe Ney: Difficult to say as I have never worked with one of them, so i go results –> Zeljko Obradovic.

John Hobbs: Obradovic. I’m a fan of him, so being bias.

Luka Bassin: Lot of good coaches. Trophies are the sign…so Obradović, Ivković…For me – Ettore Messina.

Milan Prodanovic: Close race between Pesic and Blatt, I’ll be biased and go with Pesic. Bring Valencia back was impressive. Also, Blatt has more to work with.

Nick Gibson: Obradovic. Messina. Ivkovic. All great. But if I’m starting a team give me Jure Zdovc. His loyalty and leadership can’t be bested in the EL.

Sebastian Komianos: I hate “who’s the best” questions as I find them really subjective. Pesic really transformed Valencia though, you can’t ignore that. Also keeping an eye on Olimpija’s Zdovc.

Simon Jatsch: Damn difficult. Maybe still Messina, if you give him full authorisation over roster management.

Tane Spasev: I like a lot of coaches..every one unique in their own way.Hard to choose.Scariolo(not in EL now) Pesic, Obradovic…I choose not to answer! Who’s doing the best coaching job so far? Blatt. Knowing how Maccabi played last year and how they play now.

The Wisemen Know, Volume 12

The Wisemen Know, Volume 11

The title tells it all – basketball experts are going to tell you what they think of the Lithuanian team chances in the upcoming Euroleague games as well as a weekly question about European hoops in general. The panel will consist of well-respected coaches (Luka Bassin and Tane Spasev), scouts (Alejandro Gonzalez and Rafael Uehara)  and many different basketball writers (Arkadios Chasirides, Christophe Ney, John Hobbs, Nick GibsonOs DavisSebastian Komianos, Simon Jatsch) and even a pro basketball player Milan Prodanovic. I can assure you that these clever minds will all surely have something interesting to share.

To make it even more interesting, there’s a catch involved as each of the experts had only one limitation in the process – the thoughts had to fit in a tweet (140 characters).

THE ODDS ARE EVEN

Alejandro Gonzalez: I think Zalgiris will win this one. Probably its only win in the top16. Maybe more due to a Fener bad game than Zalgiris excellence.

Arkadios Chasirides:Hellen prince Zouros shall kill Ottoman dragon in honour of Lithuanian independence day.

Christophe Ney: Fenerbahce.

John Hobbs: Fenerbahce on paper should win this, despite losing Turkcan but Zalgiris’ recent domestic Cup win will have them buzzing. The visitors by six.

Luka Bassin: Close one, I guess. Fenerbahce will win because they have more good and experienced players

Milan Prodanovic:Feberbahce.

Nick Gibson: Zalgiris misses Mirza, but not as much as Fenerbahçe misses Vidmar AND Turkcan. Zalgiris goes home happy tonight.

Os Davis: A break for Zalgiris, as the Turks haven’t replaced Mirsad Turkcan. Zalgiris exploits the frontcourt, wins game, keeps coach another week.

Rafael Uehara: Fenerbahçe.

Sebastian Komianos: I am crossing my fingers for Zalgiris and Rytas.

Simon Jatsch: Despite a magnificent performance from D.Collins (his normal level), Fenerbahce will walk away with the W.

Tane Spasev: First win of the second stage for Zalgiris…again, better match up defensively for Fenerbahce but the home court is decider. Zalgiris in OT.

THE BATTLE  OF THE UNPREDICTABLES (v2)

Alejandro Gonzalez: Unicaja is a different team now and still has a chance to advance to the next round. But they gotta play D!! In McIntyre we trust.

Arkadios Chasirides: It all depends on Unicajian Performance Fluctuation Syndrome aka UPFS. But I hope Vilnius braves crash Spanish floppers.

Christophe Ney: Rytas.

John Hobbs: I got Rytas by three here. That’s all I’m sayin’
Luka Bassin: Lietuvos Rytas will win and stay alive. But as always I made mistake on LR result 🙂

Milan Prodanovic:Rytas.

Nick Gibson: If Rytas puts Gecevicius on Gerald Fitch, he’ll do terrible, unthinkable things to young Martynas. Unicaja puts it together on the road.

Os Davis: Unicaja’s more rested after a week-plus off and looked good against Lietuvos Rytas the first time when tired. Visiting Unicaja Malaga wins.

Rafael Uehara: Rytas.

Sebastian Komianos: I am crossing my fingers for Zalgiris and Rytas.

Simon Jatsch: Difficult one … high score guaranteed. I’m going with Unicaja this time, they have improved behind McIntyre’s recovery.

Tane Spasev: They’ve been unpredictable all season long. I say they lose-they win…so now I think they’ll lose but I will vote for a win! LR by 3 pts!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Alejandro Gonzalez: I don’t like MVP races, gonna depend on what happens next in the season, when big moments come. But if you want names: Navarro & Diamantidis.

Arkadios Chasirides: Three dimensional Demetris Diamantidis, AKA 4D or Demetris Diamantidis Diamond Defense.

Christophe Ney: For me it is Dimitrios Diamantidis.

John Hobbs: Woah! For me that’s tough, I think so far, Huertas of Caja. Been very impressed with his gane in the Top-16. But there are so many to choose.

Luka Bassin: One and only: Juan Carlos Navarro. Other than that Huertas, Gregory, Thornton, Pargo…

Milan Prodanovic: Navarro!

Nick Gibson: When a defensive master gives you his best-ever offensive year at the age of 30, it’s MVP time. Dimitris Diamantidis.

Os Davis: As much as BiE’d love to argue Bojan Bogdanovic’s case, we’ll stay rational and go with Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos instead.

Rafael Uehara: IMHO it should be San Emeterio but it’s probably Diamantidis.

Sebastian Komianos: Diamantidis is clearly leading the MVP title race but the most important games are ahead..

Simon Jatsch: For me Diamantidis is the current MVP frontrunner, but in the long run, with the MVP surely coming from a F4 team, I’m going with Navarro.

Tane Spasev: Bo McCalebb was my favorite before he went down with an injury…now,it will probably be DIAMANTIDIS. Also,looking forward to see Anderson.

The Wisemen Know, Volume 11