Zeljko Obradovic with the worst strategy against Valencia Basket

Fenerbahce Beko has lost again embarrassing at home against another underdog. Last week it was Zenit Sankt-Petersburg, now was the time for Valencia Basket to steal the win. We speak about Euroleague newcomers with an average roster and low budget.

First of all, I don’t understand how it’s possible for such a big club to remain without any decent center. Jan Vesely is long-term injured, as we know it, but at the game-time, surprise: the French big man Joffrey Lauvergne is also out! Ok! But why did you let Vladimir Stimac go to Crvena Zvezda and at the same time you didn’t use the new acquisition, Malcolm Thomas? There are things that nobody will understand!

But the worse part is yet to come: the ‘greatest of all time’, Zeljko Obradovic decided to play the entire game rotating actually only 6 players. Leo Westermann, ex-CSKA, Zalgiris and French International stepped on the court for only 15 seconds in the 1st half! And he was again introduced in the last minutes to commit fouls because Kalinic and Sloukas were out! If you look at the stats, Westermann has spent only 1 minute and 44 seconds on the court!

Even worse, experienced players like Melih Mahmutoglu and Ahmet Duverioglu who saw many minutes in the last Final 4 of the Euroleague, being starters many times for Fenerbahce were introduced by guru Obradovic only 6 and 7 minutes in 45 minutes (including overtime). Why? When Duverioglu (2.09) was actually the only authentic center for this game. Instead of this, the great coach insisted more than 40 minutes with Gigi Datome, Nando de Colo and Derrick Williams. Kostas Sloukas played almost 37 minutes and that’s why he was tired in the end and he committed 5 turnovers, especially the worst one that was followed by the unsportsmanlike foul. The only bench player trusted by Obradovic was Ali Muhammed who played 22 minutes, but it’s logical that you cannot resist 45 minutes in 6 players. To understand this you don’t need to be the most titled guy in the Euroleague history. It’s enough to know a bit of basketball!

All the coaches are introducing bench players from the first quarter, after 6 minutes of the game. Big teams are playing the first quarter rotating already 10 players to save foul trouble and energy for the second part of the game. You have no obligation to start well and to lead the first part of the game! You have to finish well, conserving the good players for the 3rd and 4th quarter. You need them for the last 8 minutes of the battle!

Obradovic did exactly the opposite: he overused his best players the whole game, didn’t rest them when Fenerbahce had 10 points advantage and they accumulated fatigue and fouls. In the last quarter, they were without energy, being smashed by Valencia Basket, who rotate much better the roster.

I am asking myself: the idea of the brilliant strategy was to save foul trouble on Duverioglu, Westermann and Mahmutoglu or on Kalinic and Sloukas? Even Berkay Candan (2.05 m) should enter a bit in the first part of the encounter only to have a deeper rotation and to prevent the stupid end of the game! Especially in this encounter when big men were missing and Valencia Basket won the rebounds battle with 45-28, having 20 offensive rebounds, which means 20 extra-possesions.

But maybe the idea was to lose the game against Valencia Basket and you do it professionally, coach! Like no other! But I forgot: you won the Euroleague in the past with Partizan and Joventut Badalona and that’s why you have to be praised forever! No matter if you act childish in the present! Your legend ever be!

Photo: Euroleague

Gratian Cormos