I'll start with group A, as it's the 1st group and the most intresting one
This is the toughest group from the 3 by far. There are 5 strong teams in it, and 3 that can do a party if they will get more than a win against those big 5. I'll start with introducing the big ones, and i'll less write about the smaller teams.
Olympiacos did the most impressing summers in the European basketball history. The team from nearby Athens, wants to take the Euroleague trophy in their home country(Athens will host the Final Four).
So what did they do to accomplish the mission? They firstly brought one of the best European coaches, Pini Gershon
, former Maccabi Tel Aviv, won in 2 Euroleague titles and 1 Suproleague(The european leagues was seperated to 2 in 2001).
Looks like the coach have wanted to built the team of his dreams, so firstly he bought the mighty Arvydas Macijauskas
. Olympiacos have bought him in an OUTSTANDING price and maybe the largest in the European basketball history. Macijauskas coming back to Europe after he didn't succeed in the NBA, but in the Euroleague at Tau Vitoria(04-05) he averaged 18 ppg, 2.7 apg, 2.2 rpg and 1.5 spg.
Another guard that joined to Olympiacos is Scoonie Penn
. Penn made an outstanding year at Cibona, carying them almost by his own and making great numbers of 17 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.2 spg and 2.7 rpg.
The 3rd guard is Alex Acker
. Acker was bought after he was watched at the Vegas summer league, where he averaged at the Pistons 18.4 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.6 apg in 5 matches.
also joined Olympiacos from Efes Pilsen, and he is a decent PG. Another Guard that is probably more fimaliar to you is Jerry McNamara
, former Syracuse player who can add a lot to the team.
Baby Shaq, Sofoklis Schortsianitis
will do lots of problems to any team, so will be with Andreja Zizic
Olympiacos are without a doubt a title contenders this year.
Looks like TAU are going big this year. After reaching the Final Four in the last 2 years, they want to do something in it. They've built a very strong team that can fight with Olympiacos on the 1st place at this group -
1st of all, TAU have it's strong strong players from last year -
the wonderful, who had a decent World championship and he is a very stable player, TAU can trust him for sure. averaged last year 14.7 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.2 apg and 1.6 spg.
TAU got an excellent list of guards, starting with Zoran Planinic
. Planinic is coming back to Europe after 3 years at New Jersey, where he averaged 3.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg and 1.1 apg.
aslo had a decent year last year at Real Madrid. Pablo Prigioni
is an excellent pg with 6 apg last year and he can add a lot to the team.
came from Lietvous Rytas and he can add a lot to the team, but he'll probably come from the bench to help.
is an excellent shooter and can kill any team when he's on.
In the paint zone you can find Tiago Splitter
and Kaya Peker
both are excellent and skillfull centers.
Pilsen also built a nice team for the Euroleague standarts, but it ain't get close to TAU and Olympiacos.
Drew Nicholas who came from Benetton Treviso and Horace Jenkins former Hapoel Jerusalem are 2 dangerous players.
Granger, Prkacin, Haislip and Gonlum will do the job in the paint zone. Looks like Pilsen is stronger under the basket than in the back line, but i'm sure they will do a good year.
Climamio haven't got strong from last year, they are still the same nice team but i can't see them going further than the top 16.
Main players are Marco Belinelli who is a big prospect, an excellent young guard and David Bluthental who came from the 2nd Bologna club in the city.
The team who won the ULEB Cup team haven't really changed from last year, they are pretty much the same, although i see them the 3rd strongest team in the group. Papadoupoulos and Fotsis the greeks, Mire Chatman, Sergey Monya and Travis Hansen are an excellent list of players. They can do lots of problems to any team, watch em out.
I see this one with TAU and Olympiacos fighting on the 1st place, but as i see TAU as a team that some players run few years together, and Olympiacos with a totally new team, i think that TAU odds to win the group are worth something -
TAU Ceramica to win group A @ 3.25
(you still can get a profit if you'll back Olympiacos also @ 2.10)
If i'll see that people here are intresting in my previews i'll keep it up to the other 2 groups, if not it's your lose