Euroleague is pretty different this year – it’s bigger, and more interesting, as all 16 of the teams participating will play each other. That means every team will get 30 matches each, nobody will get kicked out until New Year, and we get a particularly interesting run to look forward to. So, what’s new with the participants? Let’s look at the best of the best.
1. CSKA Moscow is a leader without a doubt – and currently the strongest contender to defend their champions’ title from last year, according to the TonyBet bookies. Obviously, they tried very hard to preserve this dream team, and we will see 14 of the same players this time around too, plus Jeff Ayres and James Augustine joining straight from NBA. That’s going to be something to watch out for!
2. Fenerbahce from Istanbul has adhered to similar philosophy that CSKA Moscow did. It’s a pretty strong team for sure, following just slightly behind the #1 of this list in the means of who’s got the best odds to win the league. Only one of most notable players has left the club – Ricky Hickman – and he was replaced by James Nunnally. The second and the last newbie in Fenerbahce – Ahmea Duverioglu. Last year, this team was only one throw away from the crown, and they are guaranteed to try their best to win this season.
3. Real Madrid bid adieu to their king of attack Sergio Rodriguez who is going to be replaced by the newbie Dontaye Draper. Meanwhile in the frontline we will see Othello Huner and Anthony Randolph. The fact that Rodriguez has left means that the amazingly talented Luka Doncic will also get more time, and in any case, there’s not much to fear when you’ve got Sergio Llull on your side. However, they are a bit behind when it comes to the odds of actually winning Euroleague – which may change during the season, of course.
4. Barcelona was looking for a new manager in the beginning of this summer, and it was a proper soap opera until Gerogios Bartzokas was chosen. He should be a good stepping stone for the team – he had Lokomotiv of Krasnodar make it to the final four, and won the Euroleague in 2013 with Olympiakos. This year, he will have two promising newbies for guards – Tyrese Rice and Petter Koponen – and, of course, Victor Claver joining from Lokomotiv. The stars of last season stayed in Barcelona, which means that this team is a strong contender for the final four, even if they lag a fair bit behind when it comes to their odds of becoming the champions.
These four teams look menacing to say the least, and it would come as a huge surprise if either of them did poorly. Obviously, we can get a dark horse wonder who will astonish every single spectator, but as of now, these are the strongest competitors. The night is still young in Euroleague that has just started – so buckle up, because it’s going to be one hell of a ride!