With less than two weeks remaining until the end of its regular season, RealGM presents the Euroleague Power Rankings. We evaluated and ranked all 24 Euroleague teams' performance over their first eight games and their perspective for the next rounds.
Ten teams have already guaranteed their places in the Top 16, while the rest, except Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius and Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, are battling for the final six tickets to the next stage of Euroleague tournament.
The number in brackets shows position in previous ranking.
1. (2) Real Madrid 8-0
Undoubtedly the best Euroleague team right now, Real Madrid started the season with eight wins in both Euroleague and Spanish championship and has a legitimate opportunity to finish 2013 undefeated. Last season’s Euroleague runner-up has seven games left this year and if they manage to win all of them, including the last one against FC Barcelona, they would enter 2014 with a 23-0 (!) record.
2. (1) Fenerbahce Ulker 7-1
Zeljko Obradovic made a huge turnaround in Istanbul changing Fenerbahce Ulker from a team full of big names into a squad that is capable to win it all. Similar to Real, Fenerbahce Ulker’s game is very balanced as four players average more than 11 points per game, while the fifth star, Linas Kleiza, who is averaging 9.3 points and 3.4 rebounds, should likely reach his peak in later stages.
3. (3) Olympiacos Piraeus 8-0
One of two Euroleague teams that remain undefeated, Olympiacos has been on a path to win it all again and pull off a threepeat. Moreover, Vassilis Spanoulis has finally started to play as 12-13 Euroleague MVP, averaging 18.8 points in last four games and also making at least two three-pointers in each of them. Olympiacos already secured first place in group C, therefore the rest two games are just a formality for the reds.
4. (5) FC Barcelona 6-2
After a slow 1-2 start, FC Barcelona is back to its normal rhythm - Xavier Pascual’s team has won five games in a row, including a huge win against Fenerbahce Ulker in Week 7. FC Barcelona still remains one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the lead as they make only 29.4 percent of their long-range shots (23rd result among 24 teams). That has to be improved in order to have a long run in the Euroleague.
5. (4) Maccabi Tel Aviv 6-2
Before moving to the Top 16, Maccabi will probably be the team that has the most experience in clutch situations - in six of eight games that Maccabi has played the margin between the scores was five points or less. Maccabi is currently the leader in group D, thanks to their defense that limits opponents field goal percentage to 43.4 (second best result in the league). And Maccabi will likely stay there till the end of the regular season.
6. (8) Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 6-2
Lokomotiv Kuban already proved to be not only a Top-8 caliber team but also a contender to steal one of the favorites spot in Euroleague Final Four. That would unlikely to happen without former NBA player Derrick Brown, who was named Euroleague’s MVP of November and is averaging 15.4 points and 5.0 rebounds this season. Also, even though Krasnodar has a lot of individually talented players, the team has no problems sharing the ball as they average the second-most assists per game at 20.4.
7. (10) Laboral-Kutxa Vitoria 5-3
It seems that the crisis in Vitoria has stabilized. Without injured Andres Nocioni, Laboral-Kutxa managed to win its last three games, including statement wins against Panathinaikos and Maccabi, and earn an early ticket to the Top 16. Laboral-Kutxa was suffering from early injury bug and now with players getting on the court the Spanish team will be a big threat for every team in the Top 16.
8. (7) CSKA Moscow 5-3
CSKA remains one of the most talented teams on offense on paper that has been failing to match expectations in real games. CSKA scored more than 74 points only once this season and is averaging 72.5 points per game, 2.6 points below the league average. Ettore Messina hasn’t won against an elite team yet, therefore the next game against FC Barcelona could be an opportunity to deliver a statement for CSKA that they desperately need.
9. (12) Galatasaray Istanbul 5-3
First, Galatasaray had to deal with lots of injuries and if that wouldn’t been enough, their savior Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was unstoppable in his first five games, averaging 13.4 points and 11.4 rebounds, gets disqualified for the rest of regular season for getting involved in a fight against Olympiacos. Fortunately for Galatasaray, the rest of the players managed to get an important win versus Unicaja and secure their spot in Top 16, giving Istanbul some time to fix their issues and stay competitive in Euroleague.
10. (9) Panathinaikos Athens 4-4
The first eight Euroleague games were like a roller-coaster ride for Panathinaikos. The greens have been very unstable as they lost three of their last five games and also had problems with lower caliber teams such Lietuvos Rytas and Crvena Zvezda. The last two matches will be a challenge for Panathinaikos, who may finish the regular season with winning percentage below .500 for the first time in franchise history.
11. (6) Anadolu Efes Istanbul 4-4
Brose Baskets has been this season’s biggest nightmare for Anadolu Efes. In both games Anadolu Efes had a double-digit lead in third quarter but failed to finish strong and had to suffer two surprising losses. Anadolu Efes could be a Top-8 contender if the Turkish team improves their game inside the paint as they are ranked last, 24th in rebounds with grabbing only 28.8 boards per game.
12. (14) EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 4-4
If a loss can ever be a success, losing by seven points against the most dominant team in the league, Real Madrid, is not the worst thing that could happen for EA7 Emporio Armani. Keith Langford is once again having an amazing season and playing as an MVP, averaging 17.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists, but in order to compete for the award Langford needs to do what now seems hardly possible - carry his team all the way to the Top-8.
13. (15) JSF Nanterre 3-5
The biggest surprise of the season, JSF Nanterre is just one small step away from making their Top 16 dream become a reality. JSF Nanterre, which home city has a population of 90,000, beat Partizan in Week 7 and was only five points away from defeating FC Barcelona. To make more noise in the Top 16, the French team should work on their offense, as JSF Nanterre is currently the worst offensive team in the Euroleague, scoring only 64.9 points per game.
14. (23) Montepaschi Siena 3-5
Deja vu all over again for Montepaschi. Last season Montepaschi had a 0-3 start and managed to rebound and make it to the Top-16, while this year Siena’s team started the season with four losses and now once again is trying to make a turnaround. Daniel Hackett, one of the main contenders to win RealGM’s most improved player award, has been the face of Montepaschi this season, putting big numbers (14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists) on a game-by-game basis.
15. (17) Brose Baskets Bamberg 3-5
Before week 8, Brose Baskets’ chances to advance to the Top 16 seemed to be complicated. However, Zalgiris last-second loss to Strasbourg and their shocking comeback versus Anadolu Efes turned things around and now Brose Baskets is in a favorite position to get to the next round. If both Zalgiris and Brose Baskets lose their next week games, these two teams will meet in Germany in last week’s decisive game. The winner will take it all, while the loser will continue playing in the Eurocup.
16. (21) Zalgiris Kaunas 3-5
Zalgiris was one shot away from reaching their goal and almost securing a place in Top-16, but now everything will likely come down to the last game of regular season. Life would have been much easier for Zalgiris if not for the huge amount of turnovers. Zalgiris leads the league in turning the ball over more than 19 times per game (19.3), 4.5 more than the second worst result.
17. (13) Unicaja Malaga 3-5
After a solid 2-1 start, Unicaja lost four of their last five games and now have nowhere to go. Radical changes in the offseason caused many problems for Unicaja, which might miss the Top 16 stage for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Nevertheless, their season still can be saved in do-or-die type of games against Montepaschi and Bayern, as at least one of these teams won’t make it out of the group.
18. (11) Bayern Munich 3-5
At the beginning of the season, Bayern seemed to have a Euroleague debut of dreams (3-1), but the great start didn’t last long as the German team started to fall in the standings. Bayern has lost their last four Euroleague games and is traveling to Malaga to play a survival match against Malaga. If Bayern doesn’t record a win from there, there is a huge chance that the best rebounding team in the league might end up without a place in the Top-16.
19. (16) Crvena Zvezda Belgrade 2-6
Crvena Zvezda was one of the first two teams to lose all theoretical chances to advance out of the group, but their 2-6 record doesn’t reflect the real strength of this season’s club. The reds lost by more than seven points only once this season as they were many times just a few possessions away from defeating their opponents and getting closer to the Top-16.
20. (22) Stelmet Zielona Gora 2-6
Stelmet has already done as much as Asseco Prokom did last season and after winning two games and still holding a chance to make a huge surprise and reach the Top-16. That wouldn’t be possible if not Vladimir Dragicevic, who is having a career-year and has been playing as an MVP. The 27-year-old Dragicevic is averaging 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds so far in his debut Euroleague season.
21. (19) Budivelnik Kyiv 1-7
After a promising start, Budivelnik collapsed and became the biggest disappointment of the season. Budivelnik acquired Daequan Cook, who had to save their Euroleague season, but that wasn’t enough to beat Partizan and put them in a very difficult position. In eight games, Budivelnik managed to win only one and that means in order to keep their Top-16 hopes alive Kyiv team has to destroy JSF Nanterre next week by at least 20 points.
22. (24) Strasbourg IG 2-6
Louis Campbell's shot gave Strasbourg IG their second win in last three weeks, but his team's chances to become the first French club in the Top-16 since 2007 are very slim. Strasbourg IG has to beat two top group B teams, EA7 Emporio Armani and Real, and that still doesn’t guarantee anything for the Alexis Ajinca-led Strasbourg IG.
23. (20) Partizan Belgrade 2-6
This had to be the year when Partizan had to get back to Top-16 (where they haven’t played since 2010-11) but the injuries to Davis Bertans and Leo Westermmann limited Belgrade’s team chance to advance. On a positive note, 21-year-old Bogdan Bogdanovic is currently one of the main candidates to win Euroleague young player of the year award as he averages 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
24. (18) Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 1-7
What seemed to start as a fairytale ended up a nightmare. Lietuvos Rytas tried to avoid early elimination and was ahead at halftime in both last two games against Panathinaikos and Laboral-Kutxa but couldn’t keep the lead later on. Also a tendency is that opponents’ big men - Boban Marjanovic, James Gist, Lamont Hamilton and others - take advance of Lietuvos Rytas lack of size and play their best game of the season against Vilnius team.