The Euroleague is finally back after a long break due to the Covid-19. Is a season that everybody awaits and it’s interesting to see how the break and financial difficulties will be felt through all teams. On Friday we have Khimki Moscow versus Panathinaikos Athens and for the first time in many years, I see the Russian team clear favourites to win this match. Let’s see why.
First, the Russian team managed to keep their financial status at a good level and maintain their core of players, including Alexey Shved, Devin Booker, Jonas Jerebko, Janis Timma or Dairis Bertans. On the other hand, Panathinaikos budget suffered a lot through the Covid-19 pandemic and many important players left the team and here we can name Nick Calathes, Jimmer Fredette, Tyrese Rice or Wesley Johnson.
Secondly, in terms of acquisitions, Khimki made very good moves, adding to their already powerful squad huge players like Greg Monroe from Zenit, Jordan Mickey from Real Madrid or Errick McCollum from Unics Kazan. For Panathinaikos, it was a busy summer also, but their new additions, in my opinion, can’t cover the players that left the team. The new guys for the Greens are Pierre Jackson, Zach Auguste, Nemanja Nedovic, Aaron White and Howard Sant-Roos. They also changed their coach after Rick Pitino left the team. Giorgios Vovoras is the new head coach after serving 6 years as an assistant coach.
Khimki has the edge for this duel because they have a better roster and the chemistry will also play a huge role here. This is a new era for Panathinaikos and this year’s chances for a playoff spot are smaller than previous years. Maybe they will focus more on national competitions and just play for fun and build good chemistry through the roster for the upcoming years.
Stefan Jovic and Errick McCollum are out, while Alexey Shved is questionable for Khimki, while Panathinaikos is without Howard Sant-Roos, Aaron White and Pierre Jackson, three very important pieces for the Greens this year.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc