08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
Long Read
to read

Basketball Champions League Power Rankings: Volume 2

MIES (Switzerland) - Basketball Champions League is back, which also means that our Power Rankings are here to stay, too. The format remains the same as last season, domestic results are taken into account, because you can't view this as an isolated competition, but as part of what a basketball team is going through all season long, in all competitions, all the time.


Sorry, Gaziantep. But at 0-2 in the BCL and 1-4 in the BSL, you are stuck at the bottom of the list. Or technically, at the top, because this is a drop down list...


Let's just not talk about PAOK's five game losing streak and a 1-4 record in the Greek League, okay? Okay.


Four game losing streak for UNET Holon in all competitions ahead of their trip to Torun. Ouch.


Away at Nizhny Novgorod, followed by a game against Cedevita Olimpija, followed by a game at Brose Bamberg. Troubled waters ahead for Mornar Bar.


EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez has a defensive rating of 137.1 after the first two Basketball Champions League games. I know, I know, it's a small sample size, but still, that's something that will be on coaching staff's to-do-list during the long road trip to Wloclawek, Strasbourg, Burgos and Limoges. Ugh, that's a tough schedule right there...


Got to feel for Lietkabelis. They had to go to Sassari and Manresa in their first two Basketball Champions League games, and they were defeated by a combined 7 points difference. So, yeah, good effort, but unfortunately, we aren't giving points for effort here...


Tony Wroten has found his shooting form in the Basketball Champions League, but we are still waiting for Rickey Ledo to do so, too. Until that happens, Anwil Wloclawek will have a hard time of climbing this list. Oh, and winning games, too. But climbing this list is obviously more important... Or not.


Better times ahead? Brose Bamberg destroyed Hamburg by 30 in Germany couple of days ago, and they've got a game against the bottom Power Ranked team coming up, away at Gaziantep, which definitely means that they will get into the win column in the Basketball Champions League. Okay, maybe. Definitely maybe. That's an Oasis reference, not the Ryan Reynolds movie reference.


Told you that Teksut Bandirma are one of the youngest teams all over Europe. So they went and became even younger last week, as 16-year-old Furkan Haltali logged in 12 minutes in a defeat to Antwerp. They get a plus for the youth, a minus for the defeat, and that sees them in 24th this week.


SIG Strasbourg are down in the relegation zone in France, stuck at 1-5. Nothing to add here.


Let's just not talk about AEK's 1-4 domestic record that sees them bottom of the Greek League, okay? Okay.


Falco Szombathely are 8-2 in all competitions this season, so they are officially the best Falco since Falco - Rock Me Amadeus. Hungarian champs will be a top 10 team if they come away with a win in Zaragoza this week.


VEF Riga have the potential of being an ERA Nymburk somewhere in near future, with their domestic domination and building up a culture of winning internationally, too. The similarity is there, Riga scored 163 in the first two games, Nymburk had 165. They are number two and number one in rebounding, respectively. Riga had 33 assists, Nymburk 34 in the first two games. See? Latvian champs are channeling their inner Czech champs.


Good news for Besiktas Sompo Sigorta? They are one of only six teams that allow less than 100 points per 100 possessions over the first two weeks of the Basketball Champions League!
Bad news? They are also one of only seven teams that score less than 100 points per 100 possessions over the first two weeks of the Basketball Champions League. Translation: Defense really good. Offense not really good.


Speaking of advanced stats, Neptunas Klaipeda are the only team to turn it over on more than 20 percent of their possessions. So, basically, every fifth offense ends in a turnover for them. That's why they aren't top 15 here anymore.


BAXI Manresa are this season's last season's UCAM Murcia. Winning in the Basketball Champions League, losing in the Liga Endesa. When you combine the two, you get the lowest ranked 2-0 Basketball Champions League team, or the highest ranked 1-5 domestic league team, depends on your point of view.


(But they also put up 100+ points in the Basketball Champions League last week, and have some intriguing prospects on board, so they get the nod for the 16th spot this week.)
(Also, they lost away at Limburg. Which was their first Regular Season defeat since... Limburg in May. Full circle.)


Back-to-back games in the Basketball Champions League for Telenet Giants Antwerp, as their next Belgian League game is scheduled on November 8. So, completely focused, no distractions, with a chance to take down a juggernaut like AEK and a newcomer like Vechta. Or, you know, go 0-2 in those two games and drop back to 20s on this list. Show us what you are made of, Giants, please.


If Basketball Champions League was a Bond movie, Zoran Lukic would be the evil genius. And Nizhny Novgorod would be like the force that ruins everybody's dreams, just what they did to Brose Bamberg last week, just what they did to Zenit Saint Petersburg two weeks ago. Just what evil-genius-coached teams do.


Polski Cukier Torun are just grateful to have Keith Hornsby on board. Yes, that was a play on because his dad was a part of the Grateful Dead. Anyway. Highlights are here, he made it rain like it was early July in Wimbledon.


You said highlights? How about MVP of the Week highlights by Adrian Banks? Here you go. Happy Casa Brindisi won at the buzzer last week, but felt the European hangover in Italy, because they allowed Varese to take them down by 24 over the weekend. Huge test coming up in Dijon.


Unlucky is the only way to describe Telekom Baskets Bonn's defeat to Brindisi last week. Not only has it pushed them out of the Top 10 here, but it also cost them the Best Telekom of the Basketball Champions League award...
(Not a real thing.)


And here it is, the Best Telekom of the Basketball Champions League! Turk Telekom's 2-0 start to the international competition, featuring a 3-2 record in Turkey is good enough to send them to the Top 10 this week. Send your best traveling advice to Ankara, because Turk Telekom are about to play away at Lietkabelis, Pinar Karsiyaka and BAXI Manresa.


Here's a suggestion for your Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the next couple of months, and probably more. Watch Rasta Vechta play. Especially on the offensive end, because even being ranked number one in assists percentage at 87.5 percent (yes, 87.5) doesn't paint the true picture of the efficiency with which Rastamen are playing. It looks so simple, which is the hardest thing to achieve, so here's to you, Coach Pedro Calles! Good job.


The fact that Dinamo Sassari scored 56 points against Turk Telekom was a worrying sign, because they were held in the 50s for the second time already this season, the first one being a 59-65 defeat to Trieste. But it seems there is nothing to worry about, 87 points in a win in Cantu with 20 points from Miro Bilan suggest that Sassari will find a way to score.


How hot was your week on a scale of 1 to Casademont Zaragoza winning away at Besiktas and at home against the mighty Barcelona? Mine was like a 2. Nowhere near as blazing as Zaragoza. On a more serious note, it feels special that two wins like that happened in a week which was all about emotions, since it marked the fifth year since their legendary Coach Jose Luis Abos passed away. Gone, but not forgotten.


Iberostar Tenerife are still finding their way with a new look team, which is why weird defeats like the one by a single point, at home, against Baskonia will still happen. Weird, because it felt like Txus Vidorreta's boys had about 10,000 chances to win the game late in Q4. Speaking of Txus, a win over Peristeri this week would make him the winningest coach of the Basketball Champions League, as he now trails Zvezdan Mitrovic 33-32 in that list.


Peristeri winmasters are a perfect 7-0 in all competitions this season. While the rest of the world is trying to figure stuff out on the basketball court, Peristeri guys are out there like:


The honeymoon is still going on for the newcomers of San Pablo Burgos, who are leading the offensive rating ranking with a staggering 136.6 points per 100 possessions over their first two weeks. They still aren't top of the Power Rankings because we are a little bit worried about their back-to-back defeats in the Liga Endesa, the latter being by 31, at home.


ERA Nymburk's winning streak now stands at 35 games in all competitions. They simply forgot what it's like to lose. Last happened in February; yes, February; yes, eight months ago; yes, they won 35 games since.


Told you about JDA Dijon last week. They are rolling on a four-game winning run in the Basketball Champions League and the French League, beating their opponents by 18.0 points during that streak. They are a dangerous team, people. I'm warning you, again.


If they did nothing else, simply for the way they executed in their come-from-behind win over AEK last week, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem would've still been number one. Probably the best Regular Season game we've seen in this competition, and when you win one of those, you get the bragging rights for at least another week.

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is Basketball Champions League's writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Live Blog coverage of the games and sorting out the teams on Mondays, in the Power Rankings. When he's not watching basketball, he's commentating Croatian Second Division soccer games for TV.