European basketball hasn’t shrunk, but the pool of players eligible for Sportando European Team of the Week status sure has. This week’s edition of The Continent’s super squads is comprised of top performers from four countries – Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey – which have closed out or will close out championship series soon. And of course Tony Parker, showing fantastic adaptation in an increasingly compelling NBA championship series...
Bobby Brown, PG and Daniel Hackett, G, Montepaschi Siena. Next week we’ll see if the prospect of a close championship series in Italy happens, but considering the way the perpetual national champions’ backcourt is playing, a series going the distance seems unlikely right now.
Hackett could well be in consideration for overall MVP of all European playoff tournaments if such an award existed and last week contributed three double-figure scoring efforts in addition to dishing 10 assists in game one and eight in game three of the series with Roma.
Brown, meanwhile, was good for 23 points on Saturday, 17 on Tuesday in two Siena wins. Combined, Brown and Hackett are good for about 33 points per game – that certainly should be enough to get their club yet another Italian title.
Video: Three in three – A seriously lengthy shot from Bobby
While his teammate Jamont Gordon ended up taking home the TBL playoff MVP award, Cenk Akyol, G/F, helped his Galatasaray side to its first TBL title – and presumably a Euroleague bid – since 1990 with last week’s nice performances in games three and four in the finals against Banvit. His 22 points in the decisive game four represented his second-high this season on any level (and his best since November). After getting limited minutes in four previous games, Akyol stepped up last week to tee off on threes, going 9-of-14 beyond the arc in the two matches.
Video: Exciting finish to TBL championship series game four
Bostjan Nachbar, PF and Maik Zirbes, C. Brose Baskets Bamberg completed their BBL fourpeat on Sunday, completing the hard-fought three-game sweep on EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Bamberg’s big men controlled things in the close out game: Nachbar was good for 20 points in the final game on 7-of-12 shooting inside the arc, while Zirbes contributed 14 along with seven rebounds.
Video: Bamberg victory celebration involves local dignitaries, lots of beer (imagine that)
And in the land of El Clasico, Felipe Reyes, PF, has turned in three consecutive double-figure games scoring (and in PIR) for Real Madrid. Despite logging a consistent and economical 22-or-so minutes playing time in the Barcelona series thus far, he could well take home series MVP honors nevertheless. Of course, this would require a clutch performance in game five of the Liga Endesa championship series, when, of course, “Todo es posible.”
Video: Reyes vs FC Barcelona in game three
Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs who responded to the Miami Heat’s change in tactics and lineup on Tuesday night by controlling the halfcourt offense with nine assists to go with 15 points on Thursday and a nice second-half explosion on Sunday to ultimately get him 26 points in game five of the NBA championship series;
Dimitris Diamantidis, G, and Stephane Lasme, F, Panathinaikos for memorable gritty performances in a deciding game three (particularly Diamantidis, playing at well less than 100%) which will hopefully be remembered rather than the way that series ended;
Luigi Datome, F, Virtus Roma, for contributing nine rebounds, 17 points and 25 points, respectively, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday against Siena in the Serie A finals; and
Ante Tomic, C, FC Barcelona, for amping his game a notch in the Liga Endesa series’ game four and putting in a double-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds.
Kostas Tsartsaris, Panathinaikos. This time of year, this spot on the European Team of the Week roster once again goes to a retiree. At the age of 33, Tsartsaris leaves the professional game having racked up quite the impressive collection of trophies in an 11-season stretch with the Greens: Some 21 in all, highlighted by those three Euroleague titles and culminating in the Greek League title for 2012-13. Kostas also sports three medals from his play with Team Greece, including a EuroBasket gold and a FIBA Worlds silver from the mid-2000s. Such a nice run deserves a well-earned retirement – best to Kostas in the future!
Video: A nicely thorough look at Tsartsaris’ long career
– compiled by Os Davis
Os Davis writes/posts/tweets for the ESPN TrueHoop Network site BallinEurope.com. He also co-produces the mostly European basketball-centered weekly podcast Taking the Charge with heinnews.com, and watches way too much basketball through online subscription packages and dodgy live streams.
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