The Spanish ACB League kicked off the day before yesterday with San Pablo Burgos winning against Fuenlabrada. Also, at the end of last week the Supercopa Final4 was held in Madrid, where the two big powerhouses, Real Madrid and Barcelona met again in the final.
While the ACB is definitely the strongest domestic league in Europe, with many high-level teams, everyone expects to see another Real Madrid – FC Barcelona final in June.
Pablo Laso showed everyone that Real Madrid made the best possible choice when they hired him back in 2011, winning his 17th trophy in this timeframe with Real on Sunday. The roster is not the youngest, injuries hit the team pretty often but Madrid is a well-oiled machine, keeping the core of the roster for many years and showing they can beat anyone when they are healthy.
On the other hand, Barcelona made a lot of changes to its roster in the last years, and this summer was not an exception. Barca won the last league title in 2015 and they are looking since then to build a winning team. They had 4 coaches in the last 4 years (Xavi Pascual, Georgios Bartzokas, Sito Alonso and Svetislav Pesic), but now the management totally trusts Pesic to lead the team to trophies. This summer Barca invested a lot and with the roster they put together, this could really be the season they turn things around.
The team that has the biggest chance to make a surprise and maybe get to the final is Baskonia. As always they have a competitive roster, a good coach and great fan support. Valencia won last year’s EuroCup and got the ticket to the EuroLeague, so they also had to invest and improve their roster even more. Unicaja Malaga is always an ambitious team and while on paper they look a little weaker this year than Baskonia or Valencia, they can hope for a semifinal. Andorra, Gran Canaria or Tenerife are also playoff candidates and on a good day, they can beat the big teams. Also a team that could be a surprise this year is Manresa. They brought a great coach, Pedro Martinez and made some interesting transfers.