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Euroleague Power Rankings (End Of October Edition)

As Euroleague hits Week 3 of its regular season, RealGM presents the Euroleague Power Rankings. We evaluated and ranked the performance of all 24 Euroleague teams over their first two games and their perspective in future battles.

The number in brackets shows position in preseason ranking.

1. (3) Real Madrid 2-0

The champions of Spain, Real Madrid has started the season with two easy wins and demonstrated strong discipline on defense. Real has the best defensive rating (DRtg) in the league so far, allowing their opponents to score only 81.8 points per 100 possessions.

2. (5) Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 2-0

Fenerbahce Ulker was behind Budivelnik in the third quarter of Week 1’s game,  but scored 31 points in last ten minutes and showed their capabilities to blow any mediocre team out in just one quarter. Now they have defeated FC Barcelona and proved that their horrible last season is already forgotten.

3. (1) CSKA Moscow 2-0

Despite awful shooting from beyond the arc (25 percent), CSKA managed to steal wins in both weeks in France and Ukraine. It seems that CSKA is still in experimental mode and trying to find ways to win games by using nine star players. The real strength of CSKA will be seen in next two weeks when the Russians face two Top 5 teams in Fenerbahce Ulker and FC Barcelona.

4. (2) Olympiacos Piraeus 2-0

Even without Kostas Papanikolaou, now with FC Barcelona, Olympiacos remains the best three-point shooting team in the league (44 percent). Once again, Olympiacos demonstrates the same style as in both games with Unicaja and Galatasaray, the reds were down in the third quarter but found ways to bounce back and grab those wins.

5. (4) FC Barcelona 1-1

The newcomers Papanikolou and Maciej Lampe are two out of three players who get most playing time in FC Barcelona this season (the third is Marcelinho Huertas). No surprise, FC Barcelona will need more time to glue the core as they struggled for 30 minutes to beat Partizan and couldn’t impose their style of play to Fenerbahce Ulker in the previous game.

6. (6) Panathinaikos Athens 1-1

After a surprising loss in Vilnius, Panathinaikos successfully bounced back and beat Laboral Luxa at home as they also matched the Euroleague assists record (31). Panathinaikos was the only Euroleague team this offseason that maintained their whole starting five, therefore the core of the team that stayed together for a few years should be among the leaders in assists all season long.

7. (9) Anadolu Efes Istanbul 2-0

Anadolu Efes had to put more effort to beat Strasbourg IG in last week’s game than it was expected, but the Turkish club still started the season with two wins under their belt. Moreover, Anadolu Efes found a new leader, Scotty Hopson, who has been playing like an MVP candidate, averaging 21 points and 5 rebounds per game.

8. (8) Laboral-Kutxa Vitoria 1-1

Fernando San Emeterio’s injury revealed how important he is to Laboral Kutxa. While the Spaniard was still on the squad, Laboral Kutxa grabbed a win against same-level Maccabi, but without San Emeterio, Vitoria was simply destroyed in Athens versus Panathinaikos.

9. (7) Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-1

Maccabi, which doesn’t have as much talent as it use to in 2004-2010 seasons, has been facing problems in the least expected place - inside the paint. Tibor Pleiss and Lamont Hamilton of Laboral Kutxa combined for 38 Euroleague rating points in the first week’s game against Maccabi, while Ivan Radenovic and Boban Marjanovic of Crvena Zvezda, both collected 49 (!) rating points in the last match versus Maccabi.

10. (12) Lokomotiv-Kuban Krasnodar 2-0

No doubt, Lokomotiv-Kuban will be one of the fastest teams in Euroleague that will be hard to stop in transition. Once Lokomotiv-Kuban play small ball, opponents find it very difficult to catch up with Krasnodar’s pace as their fast frontcourt, Derrick Brown and Richard Hendrix, was dominant in the first two weeks.

11. (14) Bayern Munich 2-0

Bayern was lucky enough to get lower-caliber opponents in the opening weeks and they used this chance by beating them both. Led by Nihad Djedovic, Munich looked very solid as they allowed their opponents to only record 2.5 steals per game (best result in the Euroleague).

12. (11) Stambulo “Galatasaray” 1-1

Last week, Galatasay was ahead at the 29th minute of the game against Olympiacos, but Carlos Arroyo failed to deliver the win to Galatasaray fans. It seems that the Istanbul team’s results will depend on Arroyo’s performance throughout the season as the guard set the tone scoring 21 points in the opening game and led the team in most important moments against Montepaschi.

13. (15) Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 1-1

Despite Lietuvos Rytas taking a lot of long range shots, it fails to fight for offensive rebounds and they are the worst Euroleague team in that area. Lietuvos Rytas lost the battle of rebounds in both weeks and in order to go throughout the next round, they definitely need to improve this aspect.

14. (13) Unicaja Malaga 1-1

Unicaja was the most mysterious Euroleague team at preseason stage and most of the questions remain unanswered. Malaga’s club seems to be a mid-level team, which is still a step behind the elite, but the upcoming games with Galatasaray and Bayern should reveal the real strength of Juan Plaza’s team.

15. (18) Budivelnik Kyiv 0-2

Even without a win after the first two rounds, Budivelnik is still a team with potential to play in Top 16. The Ukrainian team had to face two elite Euroleague clubs, Fenerbahce Ulker and CSKA, and they didn’t fail despite the two losses. Budivelnik was ahead at the 34th minute versus Fenerbahce Ulker and the 27th minute against CSKA, proving they can compete with the best.

16. (10) EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 1-1

Milan changes its name every season, but the results remain the disappointing same. EA7 Emporio Armani seems to have one of the best backcourts in Euroleague on paper, but the Italians were destroyed by Anadolu Efes and wasted an 18-point advantage against Zalgiris (still won the game).

17. (19) Partizan Belgrade 1-1

If a most improved player had to be selected today, Dragan Milosavljevic of Partizan would be among contenders to win this award. As Vladimir Lucic left Partizan this offseason, the 24-year-old Milosavljevic stepped up and became a true leader of the team, averaging 20.5 points (55 percent on three-pointers) and five boards per game.

18. (21) Crvena Zvezda Belgrade 0-2

Crvena Zvezda creates more problems for its opponents than was expected and the main man behind that is Boban Marjanovic. Despite playing against top big men in the league - Shawn James, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Derrick Brown and others - the 7-foot-3 center averaged 15 points and 11.5 rebounds. Marjanovic is on his way to becoming a new star of Euroleague.

19. (16) Zalgiris Kaunas 0-2

Zalgiris is about to face their main competitors in the fight for Top 16, Strasbourg IG and Brose Baskets, but before that their new head coach has to find a way to fill the defensive gaps of Sarunas Jasikevicius. The opponents of Zalgiris score 34.2 points more per 100 possessions when the oldest Euroleague player is on the court.

20. (20) Brose Baskets Bamberg 1-1

In the first week game, Strasbourg IG’s Alexis Ajinca got into foul trouble, Brose Baskets had a 19-1 run and made a small step towards the Top 16. However, Bamberg’s defense hasn’t been reliable and that might be the main reason preventing Germans from having a long run in Euroleague.

21. (23) Strasbourg IG 0-2

Despite Strasbourg IG’s poor results, Alexis Ajinca has been one of the most valuable players in the Euroleague. Ajinca averaged 18.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games and now it’s clear that the French big man is worth a spot on the roster of a top Euroleague team, or maybe even a second chance in the NBA.

22. (17) Montepaschi Siena 0-2

Montepaschi’s effort to find a new Bobby Brown or Bo McCalebb hasn’t produced any results as the Italians lost both games and none of newcomers from America seem to have enough talent to take the lead. If the situation won’t change for Siena, Galatasaray and Bayern will leave Montepaschi behind in the race for the Top 16.

23. (22) JSF Nanterre 0-2

JSF Naterre made their name heard in its first game against CSKA but totally collapsed in week two versus Partizan. The French team scored only 43 points and two free throws. JSF Nanterre’s Sergiy Gladyr, who had a successful EuroBasket 2013, made only two field goals out of 14 and committed more turnovers (6) than scored points (5) in those two games.

24. (24) Stelmet Zielona Gora 0-2

As expected, Stelmet is this year’s Euroleague’s tourist, enjoying a chance to play against teams like Unicaja or Olympiacos. Stelmet’s defense has been terrible over its last two games, as they allowed their opponents to score 97.5 per game and forced opponents to commit just 7.5 turnovers. These are the worst results in the Euroleague and most likely Stelmet won’t feel the taste of victory this season.

Preseason Euroleague Power Rankings

The 2012-13 Euroleague regular season will begin on October 19th and here are RealGM's preseason power rankings.

1. CSKA Moscow (Russia)

The absence of Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved will definitely be felt, but the return of head coach Ettore Messina and the acquisition of one of the best Euroleague rookies of 2011-12 season, Sonny Weems, maintains CSKA as the most talented team in Euroleague. Also, it's going to be the second season in Russia for Serbians Milos Teodosic and Nenad Krstic, who together with Weems should lead CSKA to the Final Four.

2. FC Barcelona Regal (Spain)

FC Barcelona Regal clearly suffered some serious losses this offseason as one of the most versatile Euroleague players, Chuck Eidson, left for Unics and two big men moved south to Unicaja Malaga. Barcelona didn’t shock the market by making huge signings, but that’s what their front office usually does. The Catalonians managed to re-sign RealGM’s last season’s All-Euroleague 1st Team member Erazem Lorbek, who together with elite point guard Marcelinho Huertas, healthy Juan Carlos Navarro and Olympic surprise Joe Ingles might help FC Barcelona Regal make another Final Four appearance.

3. Real Madrid (Spain)

Real’s time has finally come. It has been 18 years since Real won its last Euroleague title and this year Pablo Laso’s team has the best chance they have had in years. This season’s Real is very versatile, having the pieces to go all the way to the top. They are both young and experienced, explosive and dangerous, which by adding Rudy Fernandez this offseason might become unstoppable in every league they’ll compete in the 12-13 season.

4. Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey)

It seems that Montepaschi Siena was relocated to Turkey and that’s good news for Fenerbahce Ulker fans. Fenerbahce Ulker managers opened their pockets to bring former Montepaschi players David Andersen, Romain Sato, Bo McCalebb and coach Simone Pianigiani. These pieces have experience together, therefore Fenerbahce Ulker should find a winning path straight away. Everybody in Europe knows that McCalebb, who signed a three-year deal with the Turkish team, is a game changer and a Euroleague Final Four is probably not so far away for Fenerbahce Ulker.

5. Olympiacos Piraeus (Greece)

After a stunning performance in last season’s Final Four, current Euroleague champion Olympiacos is no longer an underdog. Every team will treat Olympiacos as a champion and the expectations for the Greeks will be sky high. Despite the departure of head coach Dusan Ivkovic, Olympiacos managed to maintain the core of the team and especially the key Greek players from the last season  - Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, and American Kyle Hines.

6. Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)

Maccabi is clearly not the same dominant team as it was in 2004 or 2005, but they are one of only few who remained elite for years and are always among top candidates to claim the title. Before the start of the season, Maccabi doesn’t seem to be at the same line with Europe’s best (CSKA and FC Barcelona Regal), but David Blatt and his players are capable of beating the odds and making a long run in this year’s Euroleague.

7. Unicaja Malaga (Spain)

Unicaja has been struggling for years in the Euroleague tournament but there are signs that the dark days for Malaga basketball might be over. Unicaja, which won only five out of 24 games in the Top 16 in last four years, had to say goodbye to its team face Joel Freeland and 11 other players and build a new team from the ground up. Luka Zoric, Fran Vazquez and Kosta Perovic will form one of the best frontcourts in the league, which will be the key strength of Unicaja.

8. Montepaschi Siena (Italy)

Life after Bo McCalebb won’t be easy and Montepaschi is about to experience that. Montepaschi completely changed its team by almost completely turning over its roster and starting a new page. Montepaschi managers had to say goodbye to Siena’s biggest stars and its leader McCalebb, who had been Montepaschi’s key player since 2010. As other teams’ experience shows, it takes years to build a winning Euroleague team, therefore patience might be an essential thing for this year’s Montepaschi.

9. EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy)

After years of disappointments, EA7 Emporio Armani was finally very close to making the Top 8 last season and this year’s team looks even more impressive. It seems the managers of Olimpia Milano did their best on bringing an elite player, such as Keith Langford, and missing pieces like Gianluca Basile and Richard Hendrix. EA7 Emporio Armani hasn’t looked this strong for many years and this might be the best chance for Sergio Scariolo and his guys to break their team's curse of Euroleague.

10. Panathinaikos Athens (Greece)

The post-Obradovic era begins. Nine new players and more to come as Panathinaikos was completely rebuilt this offseason. The wind of changes came when eight-time Euroleague champion Zeljko Obradovic, who coached Panathinaikos since 1999, stepped down and 11 players left the team as well. One of two players who stayed in Athens, Dimitris Diamantidis and new coach Argyris Pedoulakis is in a very difficult position as it might take more than a season to build a strong relationship between players and bring Panathinaikos back on the winning path.

11. Caja Laboral Vitoria (Spain)

The biggest upset of the last season, Caja Laboral do not have any reasons to be very optimistic about this year as well. Two key players, Euroleague leading points per game scorer Mirza Teletovic and team assist leadser Pablo Prigioni left the Spanish organization for the NBA and Caja Laboral struggles to find a proper replacement. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see group C’s Caja Laboral missing Top 16 for the second straight season.

12. Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania)

Similar to last season, Zalgiris formed a solid roster for the Euroleague tournament and seems to be a Top 8 team on paper. But Zalgiris fans know the best that it's way too early to celebrate and there's nothing to be excited about before the Top 16 starts. Statistics don't lie: over the last nine years, Zalgiris won only seven and lost 35 games in the Top 16 stage. Despite how good Zalgiris' roster seemed to be, Kaunas won just four matches in Top 16 since 2004 and holds an awful 4-32 record.

13. Khimki Moscow region

Eurocup winner Khimki formed its team the earliest among all Euroleague clubs and signed all players even before the beginning of the summer. Khimki didn’t spend as much money as they did in the past, but Rimas Kurtinaitis’ team should repeat their success in 2009-10 and make it out of the group with the talent they have.

14. Anadolu Efes Istanbul

‘Born to lose’ are the first three words, which came to my mind when I hear the name Anadolu Efes Istanbul. It didn’t matter how many top European players Istanbul had on its roster, they have always failed to meet expectations. The main reason is that chemistry is something money can’t buy. However, Anadolu Efes will have another shot to make a long run this season, as they’ll have future MVP candidate Jordan Farmar on their side and many other individually great players. As always.

15. Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey)

No doubt, last season was amazing for Besiktas and their fans as Istanbul club won three titles - Turkish league, Turkish Cup and EuroChallenge (the third best European competition). It was simply the gold age for the Turkish team, but this year’s Besiktas will be different as day and night. The whole starting five left the club and that doesn’t mean anything good for Besiktas.

16. Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia)

It’s not a secret that the last two seasons weren’t the best for Croatian basketball, but it seems Cedevita is here to change the things. Definitely, Cedevita wasn’t the luckiest club on the Euroleague draw day as they would probably like to be anywhere but in group C. However, the Croatian team’s managers did nice work this offseason by building a versatile team with few well-known names, who are good enough to shake things up make a mess in group C.

17. Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany)

Brose Baskets proved that German basketball can compete with the Europe’s best clubs and last season was just one step away from making to the Top 16. During the offseason, Brose Baskets lost some very important pieces and is going to be quite a challenge for Chris Fleming to build a winning team with the guys he has now.

18. Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)

As usual, Partizan will be a team to watch this season. The Serbian club will have many well-known talents on its roster. Davis Bertans, Dejan Musli, Leo Westermann, Bogdan Bogdanovic have proved themselves in youth tournaments and now it’s time to demonstrate their capabilities on the big scene. Moreover, coach Dusko Vujosevic, who led Partizan to the Final four in 09-10, is back in Belgrade. The 24-year-old Marko Cakarevic is currently the oldest player on the team, but it is surely going to be fun to watch how talented and hungry Partizan will try to find its way out of the group D.

19. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania)

One of the two best Lithuanian teams, Lietuvos Rytas is known for signing less-known players and making the most out of them. This season is going to be a no exception as Lietuvos Rytas lost its biggest star, Jonas Valanciunas, and didn't add any elite players to its squad. Even with the roster as it is now, Lietuvos Rytas, is capable of making it out of the group but might lack talent to shake things up in the Top 16.

20. Alba Berlin (Germany)

It’s been a while since Alba won its last title and it seems the hype from making to the Euroleague Top 16 in 08-09 disappeared. Even after being  awful last season, Alba got a chance to play in the Euroleague, where their chances are really limited. Nevertheless, everything is possible in group B for Alba, especially with the support they’ll have at home games.

21. Elan Chalon (France)

French teams has always been like tourists in the Euroleague and Elan Chalon will probably be no exception. On the other hand, Elan Chalon made one of the most interesting signings this offseason in six-year NBA veteran Shelden Williams. Of course, it would be a no-braner to believe Williams could carry Elan Chalon on his back to the Top 16 stage, but he could make some serious problems for group D underdogs, Asseco Prokom and Alba.

22. Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland)

The previous two seasons were horrible for Asseco Prokom and it seems that the Polish team is heading for a third one. New head coach Kestutis Kemzuras will have a very difficult task to build a winning team from very average players. Also, Asseco Prokom will be missing its biggest star, Donatas Motiejunas, who moved to Houston Rockets, and for now, there’s no such player, who could replace Motiejunas and become a leader of the team.

23. Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Last season’s worst team, Union Olimpija, didn’t do much this offseason to avoid the same situation this year. Ljubljana’s team lost all its best players and the new additions look more like a lottery than a promising future. It seems that Union Olimpija don’t have financial problems anymore and that might be club’s biggest victory of the offseason.

Top-5 Storylines Of Euroleague's Top-16 Stage

After a three-week break, Euroleague teams are finally back on track as the Top 16 (the competition's second round) is about to start. With 16 teams left, RealGM presents the Top Five storylines to keep an eye on.

• The Euroleague Top 16 curse of Zalgiris

It seems that Zalgiris Kaunas has finally got back on winning track as they grabbed its eighth win in a row on Sunday by beating Astana in a VTB League game. The Lithuanians finished the Euroleague regular season with two wins and they also got their confidence back. There is no doubt that Zalgiris' roster is strong enough to compete with Bennet Cantu or even with Maccabi Tel Aviv, but as past shows, no matter how good Kaunas team looks, they usually collapse completely in Top 16 stage.

In last eight years, Zalgiris won only three and shockingly lost 26 games in the Top 16. Now Sonny Weems and his teammates has a chance to break Zalgiris' curse of Top 16.

• CSKA make a run for the Euroleague title

The only undefeated and undoubtedly the best European team at the moment, CSKA had a brilliant first half of the season. A 10-0 record in Euroleague, 7-1 in Russian championship and 8-1 in VTB league. 25 wins and only two losses in the first four months would be a result of dreams for any team. However, the main fights are still ahead, but as Andrei Kirilenko, the leading Euroleague MVP candidate, declared he is staying in Moscow for the whole season, CSKA is not afraid of anything.

Despite upcoming long flights to Turkey and Greece, it is more than difficult to expect teams like Olympiacos, Anadolu Efes or Galatasaray to stop mighty CSKA.

• Mallet replacing Farmar

With signing Jordan Farmar and making him Maccabi's leader, the Israeli club took a big risk. Farmar, who after returning to the NBA, most of the time sits on Nets' bench, became a European star, and Maccabi was where it used to be - among elite. However, those days are over and now Maccabi has to get use to playing with its new point guard.

Demond Mallet, the newest acquisition of Maccabi, was simply dominant on a losing team in Spirou, and now have to prove what he is capable of with Tel Aviv. Mallet, who will turn 34 next month, has been averaging 18.9 points per game with Spirou, but joining Maccabi and replacing Farmar will be a whole new story.

• Panathinaikos chances of repeating as champions

Same as last season, this year's Panathinaikos looks a bit sleepy -- it is still one of title contenders, but not the top team in the league full of superstars. Writing off Panathinaikos would be a huge mistake -- especially as Zeljko Obradovic is still in Athens, same as Dimitris Diamantidis and Sarunas "golden boy" Jasikevicius. Repeating as Euroleague champions has never been easy, but being underrated and under-appreciated could make this task a bit easier.

• The post-lockout stage of Euroleague

Yes, the NBA lockout ended more than a month ago, but we still didn't have a real chance to see how the Euroleague teams will look like in the post-lockout era. The regular season results were based on this period when NBA players were still here -- they appeared in eight out of ten games -- and in Top 16 stage we will finally see who is who without temporary help from overseas.

Euroleague Power Rankings Ahead Of Top-16 Stage

Barcelona, CSKA, Real Madrid, Panathinaikos and Montepaschi Siena headline our objective Euroleague Power Rankings.

Season Preview: Spanish ACB

The Spanish league is the strongest domestic league in the world not named the NBA, and also has had great parity with four teams winning its title over the past seven years.
 

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