Round 12 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season is almost upon us. The two-round week had some big winners; Zalgiris Kaunas registered its first and second victories of the season. Six other teams – Real Madrid, FC Bayern Munich, Zenit St Petersburg, UNICS Kazan, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, and FC Barcelona – registered back-to-back wins last week, taking a significant leap forward in the standings.
All of that should be important in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge. Many teams are rolling now and should use their momentum to keep improving. Only one of these teams, Barcelona, is playing at home in Round 12, which is significant: a lot of the squads that lost twice play at home and look to bounce back.
My team Gancedato had 112.65 points and pretty much none of the new signings played well. Guerschon Yabusele of Real had a PIR of 5, Vladimir Lucic of Bayern hit the go-ahead shot against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens but finished the game with a PIR of 1. Those staying did not have great performances either. I now rank 967th overall, which means most of the Top 1,000 teams have the same players, I guess. Let’s see what I can do to make a different, better team in Round 12 and rise a few spots in the standings.
Three trades are allowed before each round, plus the coach, so let’s start with it. My current coach is Velimir Perasovic of UNICS, and his team plays on the road against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. Five of the six cheapest coaches in the game work for teams that play at home. I am going to sign Zvezdan Mitrovic of AS Monaco. His team plays a French League derby against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, which is struggling with injuries, so Monaco should have a good chance to win if it plays well.
As for players, I am trading three forwards – all but Nikola Mirotic of Barcelona. I am letting Lucic go because he didn’t have a good game in Round 11. Lucic should be back when he has the continuity that he had last season. I am also selling Oscar da Silva of ALBA Berlin. Players like Ben Lammers and Christ Koumadje are starting to see significant playing time, and that means Da Silva should not be on the court as often as he has until now. Finally, I am selling Yabusele because his team plays against Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, a team that knows Real too well.
So, I have to bring in three new forwards with 35.4 credits. That’s a pretty good budget, so I am going for the player I really want: Luke Sikma of ALBA Berlin. ALBA is back home and Sikma should have a good game against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. His versatility gives him a lot of fantasy value. I am also adding John Brown III of UNICS, a fantastic defensive player who comes off a solid week. Brown averaged a PIR of 20.0 against AX Armani Exchange Milan and ALBA and leads the competition in steals at 2.7 per night. Last but definitely not least, I am buying James Nunnally of Maccabi. He has played really well so far and I expect even better things from him in the near future. Experienced and ready, Nunnally is one of the best shooters in the competition and has the numbers to prove it; he is a career 45.6% three-point shooter.
So Gancedato looks like this before Round 12, taking into account that you can shuffle your team after the games on Thursday and before the games on Friday.
Chris Jones, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (10.1 credits) – He has been extremely solid all season. There are no reasons to think Jones should have a bad game in Round 12.
Elie Okobo, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (11.7 credits) – Okobo struggled a bit against Barcelona, but it happens. He should be back to his high standards against Monaco.
James Nunnally, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (11.6 credits) – ALBA has been having problems guarding elite small forwards. And Nunnally is definitely one of those.
Luke Sikma, ALBA Berlin (13.5 credits) – Last season, Sikma played really well against Derrick Williams. I am making him team captain since Mirotic plays on Friday.
Steven Enoch, Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (8.3 credits) – Enoch leads the EuroLeague in PIR over the last three rounds, but he now faces Walter Tavares. We will see.
John Brown, UNICS Kazan (10.3 credits) – Energy player, steals specialist. Not a great scorer, but when he gets going, his PIR can be really good. And he is playing well.
Rokas Jokubaitis, FC Barcelona (6.8 credits) – It is his first EuroLeague game against his former team, Zalgiris. I think that he will play really well.
Marek Blazevic, Zalgiris Kaunas (4.4 credits) – Centers may be my weak spot in Round 12, with Enoch vs. Tavares and Blazevic vs. Brandon Davies. Marek, prove me wrong.
Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (16.7 credits) – Only keeping him on the bench because he plays on Friday. Mirotic is a must-have player in the game right now.
Ognjen Dobric, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (6.2 credits) – I decided to keep him for one more week because Zvezda needs his intensity and deep shooting range to beat UNICS.
That’s all I have for you right now. Stay healthy, don’t miss Round 12 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season and try to be as competitive as you can in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!