At the beginning of the Euroleague season who would believe this game will be so important for the Turkish squad, a constant presence in the last consecutive 5 Final Four editions? Or that Fenerbahce will be lower than Valencia Basket, Crvena Zvezda or Bayern Munich in the rankings? Last game lost at home against the absolutely newcomer Zenit Sankt-Petersburg was the top of shame! Now, each game has to be played like a ‘do-or-die’ by Fenerbahce, if they want to reach the playoffs. Maybe they won’t do it, but losing with Valencia Basket it would be the worst they can have.
The club wishes to improve are very clear since they have recently signed the American center Malcolm Thomas to replace the departed Vladimir Stimac. Fenerbahce Beko is pursuing as well their ex-player, James Nunally, who is having a good season in China. Even if the Chinese club won’t let Nunally go, it is obvious that Fenerbahce is wanting so bad to sign a scorer, who can help Nando de Colo and Kostas Sloukas to create offensive plays.
If you take a look at this Fenerbahce has actually a lot of great players with enormous potential. They are almost the same core of the team that last season won the regular season (Sloukas, Datome, Dixon, Mahmutoglu, Kalinic, Duverioglu, Lauvergne), except Jan Vesely who is out indefinitely. And the summer signings are also quality players: Nando De Colo, Derrick Williams and Leo Westermann. The only problem consisted of the repeated injuries who left a mark on the squad starting with the last season when Fenerbahce lost both games in the Final 4 and the Turkish finals due to their missing players.
I don’t think Malcolm Thomas will enter against Valencia Basket, but even so, it has to be the moment of waking up for Fenerbahce. Especially now, against a team that was as well affected by injuries, with San Emeterio, Sastre and Vives missing the last games. It can be the moment of resurrection for the Turkish powerhouse