EuroLeague Power Rankings: Spanish dominance, new low for PAO, and belief in Fenerbahce

2021-11-23 12:20
Credit: Panagiotis Moschandreou, Jesus A. Orihuela - Getty Images, Zuma Press - Scanpix, D.Repečka | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas
Credit Panagiotis Moschandreou, Jesus A. Orihuela - Getty Images, Zuma Press - Scanpix, D.Repečka | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas

Eleven rounds have been completed in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. It means that we’re halfway into the first half of the regular season, so BasketNews present its fourth Power Rankings edition.

Our experts had a say, and the positions of the teams are determined on their current form and the potential they got in the foreseeable future.

For starters, we have nine teams going down, eight climbing up, and only one remaining at their previous spot.

Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv and UNICS Kazan made the biggest jump by going up by five places. Meanwhile, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul suffered the biggest fall by going down by four places.

18. Panathinaikos OPAP Athens ⬇ (15)

Current record: 2-9

Since our last Power Rankings edition, the Greek powerhouse achieved only one victory and currently has the longest losing streak with 5 losses in a row.

Panathinaikos added Yogi Ferrell, but the former NBA guard is yet to make a significant impact, and after two Zalgiris wins, Greek champions fell to the last place.

17. Zalgiris Kaunas ⬆ (18)

Current record: 2-9

After starting the season with nine losses in a row, Zalgiris bounced back in the latest double week beating Panathinaikos and Fenerbahce.

Moreover, Zalgiris also added Zoran Dragic, Tai Webster, and Regimantas Miniotas, which was enough for Lithuanian champions to rise from the bottom of BasketNews Power Rankings.

16. ALBA Berlin ⬆ (17)

Current record: 3-8

After beating Fenerbahce and Crvena Zvezda, ALBA slowed downed, losing five in the last six games.

The German club could definitely improve on the defensive end, as ALBA’s defensive rating ranking is only 15th (115.2 points allowed per 100 possessions). Moreover, a net rating of -9.7 points is good for only 16th place.

15. Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz ⬇ (13)

Current record: 4-7

After a sluggish start and four losses in a row, Baskonia relieved Dusko Ivanovic from his duties and brought Nemanja Spahija as his replacement.

The Croatian head coach made an impressive debut as Baskonia blew out Crvena Zvezda 93-74. The Spanish team also put up a good fight against CSKA Moscow, losing 74-80.

Moreover, Spahija showed trust in his players, letting everyone know that this Baskonia team could do much better.

“I would like to congratulate our team for the great reaction and the win,” Spahija said after the win against Crvena Zvezda. “I think they got the right message in the locker room, and they played with their heart and their talent.”

“We will go step by step. We have to learn about the players and my system. Let’s work on my way and respect the talent and possibility for what they can do. And we will see,” he added.

14. Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade ⬇ (11)

Current record: 4-7

Crvena Zvezda can still boast of having the best defense in the whole EuroLeague, allowing 70.6 points on average. However, the offense also remains a huge concern.

At the moment, Crvena Zvezda ranks 15th in the offensive rating (104.1 points per 100 possessions) while also being the worst in 3-pointer shooting (27.8%).

The Serbian powerhouse had a four-game losing streak, which was snapped by crushing Panathinaikos (81-48) and beating ASVEL (73-67).

However, the recent trip to Spain ended up with losses to Baskonia (74-93) and Real Madrid (67-79).

13. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul ⬇ (9)

Current record: 3-8

Despite having a three-game losing streak and being 16th in the standings, Fenerbahce still received some belief from our experts.

However, as Sasa Djordjevic noted after the defeat against Zalgiris, his team’s record could have been much better, knowing that Fenerbahce’s four losses came in by losing by four or fewer points.

The loss against AX Armani Exchange, however, was a night to forget. Fenerbahce lost 43-68, recording the worst offensive performance in the club’s history.

Until the game against Milan, the Turkish club had scored at least 48 points per contest. This happened in January 2009 against CSKA Moscow.

“When you’re in a losing streak, you need that one win to bring it back,” Djordjevic noted. “Again, it’s up to the champions, players to stand up strong, even in the tough times or when loses come, and to respond in a right way to find that win that we need.”

12. FC Bayern Munich ⬆ (14)

Current record: 5-6

Bayern have started the season with four losses in a row but bounced back and since then won 5 games in 7 contests.

After hardly competing but eventually losing to Barcelona, Maccabi, and Zenit, Bayern defeated Armani Exchange. Vladimir Lucic finished the game with 20 points and 18 PIR.

The Serbian’s forward comeback into the line-up was instrumental to Bayern’s success. Lucic is averaging 12.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 13.1, while Bayern won all five of their games with the Serbian being on the court.

“Lucic was exceptional,” Djordjevic said about his countrymen. “They lost against Monaco, but Lucic was exceptional. He is in great game shape. Tonight, he has shown this in very tough shots.”

“I know him: that’s why I wanted him here [in Bayern], that’s why I was fighting for him for the national team all the time. So, Lucic is Lucic. He should enjoy this moment of his basketball career. He deserved it,” Djordjevic added after Bayern defeated Fenerbahce.

11. UNICS Kazan ⬆ (16)

Current record: 6-5

Currently, UNICS are one of the hottest teams, having a three-game winning streak. Probably the most prolific win was against Armani Exchange (97-71). At one point, the Russian club was leading by 35 points (95-60).

Furthermore, statistically, UNICS are the best defensive team in the EuroLeague, having the first defensive ranking (102.1 points per 100 possessions). Also, UNICS are allowing 30.5% of 3-pointers (3rd place) and 12.8 free throws (2nd place).

Mario Hezonja is also picking up the pace as he averages 13.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 12.6 PIR per game.

Meanwhile, O.J. Mayo showed the flashes of his old self by accumulating 20 points (1/2 2PT, 5/9 3PT, 3/3 FT) against Armani Exchange.

10. AS Monaco ⬇ (8)

Current record: 5-6

EuroLeague debutants are still going strong and will likely be playoffs contenders. Monaco also achieved a remarkable victory against CSKA Moscow. Despite trailing by 20 points, Monaco won the game 97:80.

However, after such victory, Monaco won only one game from their last four contests.

Meanwhile, Donta Hall is averaging 10.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 15.4 PIR. Moreover, his advanced statistics are also sublime. The American forward has an offensive rating of 154.7 points (per 100 possessions) and a 103.6 points defensive rating, creating a 51.1 points rating!

Monaco will face ASVEL, Fenerbahce, and Zalgiris in the upcoming four games, so the Roca team will have a great chance to bounce back.

9. LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne ⬆ (10)

Current record: 6-5

After starting the season with 3 wins in 4 games, ASVEL were considered a surprise. However, the French team is still going strong and currently stands seventh in the standings.

After winning three games in a row against CSKA, Panathinaikos, and UNICS, ASVEL suffered three defeats on the trot losing to Crvena Zvezda, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

Elie Okobo and Chris Jones duo is still going strong, too. Averaging 19.6 points per game, Okobo is EuroLeague’s top scorer, while Jones contributes with 14.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 16.4 PIR per game.

Both of them also boast solid advanced stats, which you can check it here.

8. Anadolu Efes Istanbul ⬇ (7)

Current record: 5-6

It looks like EuroLeague champions are picking up the pace, winning three games in a row, but despite that, the Turkish powerhouse fell in the Power Rankings by one place.

Moreover, all those three victories were achieved by an average margin of 23 points. Victory against Olympiacos (88-69) was also memorable because of the fourth quarter, which was won 20-3.

“I’m happy tonight. Finally,” Ergin Ataman said after the win against ALBA. “So, I think all of us, me, the players, everybody understood that it’s time to fight, to play the game, to forget what happened the last three years, and to focus on the games.”

In 10 days, Efes will meet Barcelona, which should be a good indicator of whether the Turkish club is back for good.

7. Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv ⬆ (12)

Current record: 7-4

After a difficult start of the season and rumbles about the possible departure of Ioannis Sfairopoulos, Maccabi found the way to victories.

At one point, the Israeli powerhouse had a five-game winning streak beating such teams as ASVEL and Barcelona.

Since Round 4, Maccabi has the 3rd best defensive ranking (115 points per 100 possessions) and the 4th best net rating (9.2 points).

Maccabi also averaging 41.3 2-pointers per game (2nd best), shooting them at 56.7% accuracy (2nd best). Moreover, Maccabi also averaging 25.5 defensive rebounds per game, which is the best result among all teams.

6. Olympiacos Piraeus ⬇ (5)

Current record: 7-4

Despite going down by one place, there’s no doubt that Olympiacos are going to be legit this season. The Greek powerhouse lost to Zenit (78-84) and Anadolu Efes (69-88) but bounced back by blowing out Maccabi (90-73).

Olympiakos also added Quincy Acy, who should be a glue guy, according to head coach Giorgos Bartzokas.

“I wanted him both as a player and a name, Bartzokas said about Acy’s inquisition. “Even if he played at point guard, we would still sign him. It doesn’t have to do with injuries. I tried to bring him to Barcelona when I was coaching there, but it didn’t work.”

“He’s a player that ties the team together with the way he plays and defends. He’s very supportive of his teammates. We looked at him at the beginning of the season but now was the right timing to sign him,” he further revealed.

5. CSKA Moscow ⬇ (3)

Current record: 6-5

Injury-riddled CSKA had a three-game losing streak, suffering defeats against ASVEL, Monaco, and Fenerbahce. However, after that, CSKA beat Maccabi (74-73) and Baskonia (80-74) and lost a rollercoaster battle against Barcelona (73-81).

Moreover, Marius Grigonis and Nikola Milutinov also came back into the line-up, so it looks like CSKA will finally be able to go full strength. 

In their upcoming games, the Russian powerhouse will face Bayern, Panathinaikos, Zalgiris, UNICS, and ALBA. It looks like an ideal opportunity to improve the record.

4. Zenit St. Petersburg ⬆ (6)

Current record: 8-3

Xavi Pascual is still waiting for Shabazz Napier’s return, but Zenit’s results are looking good even without him.

The Russian club is currently the hottest team in the EuroLeague, winning five games in a row. During this run, Zenit beat such teams as Anadolu Efes (90-79), Olympiacos (84-78), and Armani Exchange (74-70).

As expected, Zenit’s advanced defensive statistics are looking solid. The Russian club is currently in TOP 5 in these categories: 3-pointers attempts allowed (avg. 19.3 per game, 1st place), 2-pointers % allowed (49.1%, 2nd place), 3-pointers attempts rate allowed (33%, 1st place), average assists allowed (14.8 assists, 4th place), average blocks (2.5 blocks, 4th place), average defensive rebounds (25 rebounds, 2nd place), defensive rebounds percentage (73.7%, 2nd place).

3. AX Armani Exchange Milan ⬇ (2)

Current record: 8-3

After a strong start, Armani Exchange became leaders of the EuroLeague, but now the Italian team lost two games in a row against UNICS (71-97) and Zenit (70-74).

Moreover, Konstantinos Mitroglou suffered a foot injury and won’t be able to play for two months. Milan already found a replacement and brought Tommaso Baldasso on a two-year deal until the end of the 2022-23 season.

Despite this setback, Armani Exchange’s schedule is pretty favorable. The Italian team will face ALBA, Monaco, and Panathinaikos in their upcoming games.

Ettore Messina’s team can also boast with the 4th best defensive ranking (103.2 points per 100 possessions) and 4th best net rating (8.2 points).

2. Real Madrid ⬆ (4)

Current record: 9-2

Real Madrid tied their best EuroLeague start since the new format was introduced back in 2016, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop.

Walter Tavares is the second most efficient player in EuroLeague, while newcomers like Vincent Poirier, Thomas Heurtel, and Guerschon Yabusele also provide solid contributions.

However, despite good results, Pablo Laso remains humble, saying that there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

“We have a very good winning record, it speaks volumes about the team. If you have this winning record at this point, you’ve done a lot of things right. I’m very pleased, but we still lack continuity in our game”, Laso confessed. 

1. FC Barcelona ↔ (1)

Current record: 9-2

Just like one month ago, Barcelona remained at the top both in the standings and in BasketNews Power Rankings.

Just like their record, Barca’s advanced stats also look splendid. Barcelona have the best offensive rating (115.5 points per 100 possessions), third-best defensive rating (102.8 points per 100 possessions), and the best net rating (12.7 points).

After starting the season with six wins, Barcelona slowed down and lost two games in a row against Maccabi and Armani Exchange. Despite that, Catalans bounced back by beating Baskonia, CSKA, and ASVEL.

So far, Nikola Mirotic looks like an MVP favorite, averaging 16.8 points (3rd place), 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 21.4 PIR (1st place).

Mirotic’s advanced statistics look solid as well. The forward’s offensive rating is 130.6 points per 100 possessions. Despite being offensive leader, Mirotic does his job on the defensive end, too, as his defensive rating is 103.2 points.

Sertac Sanli is still adjusting after coming back from an ankle injury. Last weekend he finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists in a victory against San Pablo Burgos. So, Barcelona are looking good already, and yet they still have some reserves left.



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