Tag: EuroLeague


NBA 2K14 will feature Barcelona, 13 other European teams


Basketball is an international game, and it’s growing.

Selling video games is an international business.

So maybe we shouldn’t be shocked by the news that the Euroleague has teamed up with the makers of NBA 2K14 to include 14 teams of the powerhouse overseas teams in the video game.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to welcome top Euroleague teams into the NBA 2K series,” said Jason Argent, senior vice president of sports operations for 2K Sports. “European basketball has an incredibly passionate following, and we’re all excited to give fans the opportunity to take on Europe’s best in NBA 2K14.”

So finally you can have Ricky Rubio or Pau Gasol playing against Barcelona. The teams included are from the Euroleague, which is a tournament matching 31 of the best club teams from across that continent against teach other (basically the equivalent of soccer’s Champions League).

Here are the 14 teams that will be part of the game:

• Alba Berlin
• FC Barcelona
• Real Madrid
• CSKA Moscow
• EA7 Emporio Armani Milano
• Montepaschi Siena
• Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul
• Anadolu Efes Istanbul
• Olympiacos Piraeus
• Panathinaikos Athens
• Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
• Zalgiris Kaunas
• Unicaja Málaga
• Laboral Kutxa Vitoria

Go ahead and shrug if you want and say you liked it better when Jordan was on the cover. This is going to sell more NBA 2K14 games in Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Russia and so this move makes sense for the makers of the video game.

And actually, it should be fun to see if you can get Pavel Datsyuk to lead CSKA Moscow past LeBron James and the Heat.

The Inbounds: NBA schmoe, International Superstar of Mystery

Jose Calderon

If you’re a casual NBA fan, most of the players on the Olympic teams other than Team USA don’t ring any bells. You’ll recognize a few.

“Hey, that’s that point guard for the Canada team, right?”

“You mean, the Toronto Raptors?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said, the team in Canada.”


“Hey, didn’t that guy play for the Grizzlies one year?”

“Yes, he did, he’s actually..”

“Why didn’t he make it? He looks pretty good.”

Yet even to dedicated NBA fans, many of the players on these teams are unfamiliar, strange names and strange games. Dedicated fans of international ball, suddenly available in the internet age, are able to recite their names and games. But they remain a mystery to most U.S. fans. Yet even the players NBA fans know don’t resemble the players who run the floor for the A.

Jose Calderon? Veteran sharpshooter and dynamic offensive leader, not defensive sieve and spot-up shooter, as he is with the Raps. Juan Carlos Navarro was a small-minute reserve player for a single season for the Grizzlies. He’s one of the best players in Euroleague history with his Spanish team, FC Barcelona.

Maybe no player epitomizes the difference than Patty Mills, though. Mills is a fourth-string point guard for the Spurs, and a legitimate star for Australia. He was a big part of Australia hanging around with Team USA on Wednesday, hitting perimeter shots and driving inside.

So what’s the deal? How can these players look this different in international play relative to their performance in the indisputable best league in the world?

There’s  a line of thought that suggests that internationalf coaches just know how to get the best from these players. That, of course, is insane. To suggest coaches like Dwane Casey, Nate McMillan, and Gregg Popovich don’t know how to evaluate the talents of these players and acclimate them throws out everything we know about NBA coaches. There are bad NBA coaches. There are bad international coaches. But the differential in production has more to do with style of play than it does quality of coaches. No one in the NBA is “missing” on these players. There’s a qualitative difference in how the NBA is played, and that style can bring out the abilities of players, with the more wide open structure, and the kind of defense that’s played.

This isn’t about which level of competition is more difficult, the NBA or international ball (HINT: It’s the NBA). It’s about a difference in approach and execution that leaves us with a game that is played with the same rules as the NBA, but is vastly different. Well, except for goaltending. That’s different. And some other things. And the ball is different. But other than that, same game. But the stylistic approach is where it diverges.

So we shouldn’t be surprised by these performances, nor should we slough them off. Calderon, Mills, Timofey Mozgov are all playing excellent, and deserve credit for leading their teams. But at the same time, we shouldn’t assume they’re capable of this in the NBA night after night, nor that there’s something wrong with how the NBA operates that they’re not executing at that level. There’s a great number of players who have struggled with the style in international play. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, are two to start with.

Paul’s size gives him issues and the amount of pressure allowed in international play outside (while inside might as well be a demilitarized zone — no touching!) creates problems. He’s still very good for Team USA, because he’s Chis Paul. But he’s never the dominant point guard he is in the league.

Dwight Howard, absent from the 2012 team due to his recovery from back surgery, has similar problems. His game just doesn’t translate with the kind of floor spacing that goes on in international play and he accumulates fouls at a rookie-type level.

Do you really want to say that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard aren’t really that good at basketball?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

There’s nothing artificial about the players’ production in these games. It’s legitimate and honestly, refreshing as opposed to the slog of the NBA at times. But it’s no mistake made by the NBA or its coaches that they can’t excel. They are who they are in the NBA, and that’s how they should be judged, because it’s the best league in the world.

Unless you’re not an NBA fan. Then you can believe the ACB is. Or Euroleague. Or South American play. Anything you want.

But to bring the idea of somehow these games being indicative of who they really are as player is as disingenuous as saying their American counterparts aren’t trying. The world’s caught up with the U.S.. Well, not really. But they’re closer, and that leads to these fascinating ripples. Let’s not try and establish which way is better, let’s just enjoy the exposure on a different way to play basketball.

EuroLeague Elite teams coming to NBA Jam

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We’ve been doing a lot of video game posts lately, you can blame David Stern and Billy Hunter for that.

Still, this was too good a video not to pass along.

NBA Jam returned last year and we were pumped. Now the On Fire edition will have some of the best of the EuroLeague for you to play. It’s pretty well done. Check out the video.

EuroLeague wants to keep best young players in Europe. Shocker.

Ricky Rubio Barcelona

In a stunning development, the head of the EuroLeague would like to find a way to keep that continent’s best players over there and out of the NBA for as long as possible.

Shocking a league executive would be guided by blatant self-interest. That would never happen here in America.

EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu spoke with Sports Illustrated and talked about how the EuroLeague team’s don’t really want to rent American star players — he’s right about that — but also talked about trying to inject his issues into the NBA labor discussions.

Bertomeu told SI.com that he met with NBA commissioner David Stern approximately a year and a half ago to discuss ways to help prevent young Europeans from moving to the NBA prematurely.

“We made a proposal once we knew that negotiations [with the players’ union] had to take place,” Bertomeu said. “We presented a document of elements that could be included in the negotiations between the NBA and the players’ union.

“We can’t give too many concrete details. But part of the proposal included a formula that included the elements of age, rookie salaries and how the rookie salaries computed into the salary cap. It was designed to create an incentive for the players to stay in Europe.”

The NBA owners may like this idea — what they want to do is reduce the risk in their draft. They might back a system that keeps players developing overseas longer before they are drafted, thereby reducing that risk (Manu Ginobili came over at 25 fully developed, owners like that kind of thing). It’s the same reason there is an age limit in the NBA — the owners would prefer to have player develop more before the draft and do that development on someone else’s dime. NBA teams sort of do this now by drafting young Europeans in the second round and stashing them overseas.

As for what’s best for that player to earn a living… not at the top of the owners priority list. Or the EuroLeague’s CEO.

So you want to play in Europe during the lockout…

Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv v Real Madrid - Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four Semi Final

There’s a lot of players throwing out the, “If there’s a lockout I’ll go play in Europe” card. Like it’s some kind of trump card.

And if you’re Kevin Durant or Deron Williams or Pau Gasol and you go play for a team like Barcelona, life will be pretty darn good.

But that is not the norm of European basketball. A lot of those leagues — and even some teams in the top leagues — are more like playing in the minor leagues. With experiences NBA players would find shocking. Mark Deeks lays it out at the New York Times.

The difference in salary payments lies not only their magnitude, but their synergy. There are some European leagues where it is more common to be paid late than to be paid on time; in extreme cases, players are lured to the team with false promises, and then not paid at all. Financial problems are permeating even the continent’s strongest leagues, and regulations brought in to try to reverse this trend are often ignored. As amazing as it seems that a sports team would not prioritize paying its players, it happens. A lot.

An equally apparent difference is in the crowd support. While high-level European games can at times be remarkably badly attended affairs, those who do attend are hardened, passionate and obsessively loyal. Poor performances are seen as personal insults and are met with the kind of retribution that’s easy to get away with when seated a considerable distance from the target at an elevated position, readily armed with rudimentary projectiles….

If you can’t run a pick-and-roll, you won’t play. If you’re only effective in isolation sets, you won’t get used. You will practice almost every day, and you will practice far more than you play. You won’t average 20 points, you won’t get paid as much, and the front office will toy with you and your agent as to whether they even want you on the team. Imports are a necessity, but also a luxury. They are treated differently from the domestic players because they can always be replaced.

And that’s just the on the court part. Off the court the creature comforts that make the NBA lifestyle envious are gone. You do not get to run the building with your entourage. Nobody speaks the language and nobody is bending over backwards to help you. The culture shock will be worse than the adjustments in the game.

Go read the whole piece. Especially if you’re one of those NBA players who think they can just drop into a European league and it will be all good.