The most powerful European Competition is back today with some very good matches like Real Madrid- Fenerbahce or Anadolu Efes – Barcelona. But another interesting match got my attention for today, Panathinaikos vs Crvena Zvezda. Let`s see some stats and how they prepared for a new and longer Euroleague season.
Panathinaikos finished in the sixth position last season and were beaten 3-0 by Real Madrid in the first round of play-offs. They didn’t have any chances against the Spanish team so for this year they brought in some reinforcements. First, they added two players with many NBA games in their prolific careers: Jimmer Fredette and Wesley Johnson. After that, they brought in last season Champions League MVP, Tyrese Rice from Brose Bamberg. The Greek core of the team remained almost intact with Nick Calathes, Georgios Papagiannis and Ioannis Papapetrou leading the way for the national players. Panathinaikos have a very good squad and if they can make the first three players play like a team around Nick Calathes’s passing skills, then this season is going to be a long one for them.
On the other hand, Crvena Zvezda is back in the Euroleague after a one year break, after they won the ABA League. They managed to keep the core of the team but also added some good players in Charles Jenkins, Derrick Brown, James Gist or Nikola Jovanovic. The season didn’t start too well for the Serbian team because they lost against Primorska in the first round of ABA League Supercup. It was a very surprising result because they lost against a team who received a wild-card to participate in the competition. James Gist (12 points and 6 rebounds), Lorenzo Brown (9 points and 3 assists) and Charles Jenkins (2 points and 4 personal fouls) all played in this game, but the impact was not the one expected. For Crvena Zvezda will be an interesting season. They have a decent squad, with good additions over the summer, but lack of chemistry will be their main enemy in the first games.
Panathinaikos has the better squad and will be in front of their fanatic fans, so the result is easy to predict. I can’t wait to see how Fredette, Johnson and Calathes will play together, because the key to success is in those players’ hands. Fredette is a natural scorer, but he needs to learn how to play as a team player and not a lonely star. Maybe Calathes with his flashy passes will help him score a lot of points.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc