08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
Long Read
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Basketball Champions League Power Rankings: Volume 8

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.


If you need to find one good thing about this season, it's probably the race for the scoring champ of the Basketball Champions League. Polski Cukier Torun have two guys in the top four, with Chris Wright being the top scorer at 21.0 points per game, and Keith Hornsby hanging in there in fourth spot with 19.6. But everything else is...well, not good.


This play sums up VEF Riga's recent form.


The way it works with Gaziantep - when you count them out and expect nothing, they keep on winning crazy games. When you expect them to win anything, they forget how to put the ball through the hoop and they just disappoint you. Okay, not hoping for anything the rest of the way when Gaziantep are in question...


Final Four last season, bottom four this week. What a difference a season makes for Telenet Giants Antwerp...


EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez are just 3-6 over their last nine games in all competitions. Even worse, they are just 1-4 at home over that span and there's nothing much I can add to this box to make it feel like Pau will snap out of this.


Mornar Bar won four straight games in all competitions for the first time since May 2018, when they won the Montenegrin championship. But there is still so much work to do, because even with back-to-back wins in the Basketball Champions League, Mornar are still three games behind the Play-Offs battle here.


PAOK specialized in close games this season...but the problem is that they are currently just one win ahead of bottom placed Aris in Greece. So they need to work on winning those close games they provoke.


It seems that the other teams are figuring it out when they face UNET Holon. There is absolutely none rim protection, with Holon getting just 2.5 in blocks percentage department, meaning you'll get an easy layup every time you get into the painted area. Holon had just 9 blocks in 8 games so far. AS A TEAM.


Trying hard not to make this about Zeljko Sakic. But really, it's all about Sakic for Lietkabelis in the Basketball Champions League, as he now shares the second spot in the scoring race, averaging 20.5 points per game, the same as Keith Langford. Decent company, right? Right.


Shevon Thompson would probably be leading the MVP race if Filou Oostende had a couple of wins more on their account. The big guy has 15.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, scoring in double digits in all games so far and picking up four double-doubles on the way over.


Three straight defeats for Teksut Bandirma in the BCL and the BSL. It's not getting any easier because they've got Antwerp, Fenerbahce and Tofas still to come in 2019...


Besiktas Sompo Sigorta have a unique opportunity this week. A win away at Zaragoza could get them their first three-game winning streak of the season! Rarely have they waited for three in a row so long, that usually happens in October with this club...


I never thought I'd see the day when a Lithuanian team is struggling with turnovers so much that they turn the ball over 19.6 percent of time. By comparison, league's best Bamberg turns the ball over just 12.7 percent of time... But Neptunas Klaipeda will find a way back into calmer waters. They will. They will? Will they? They will. I guess.


Jordan Davis scored 43 points in five games with BAXI Manresa. And then, Jordan Davis scored 59 points in his first two with Rasta Vechta. Okay, okay, they dropped to 19th here, but when you have Jordan Davis all warmed up like this, just imagine what kind of a monster Vechta can become with a couple of weeks more spent together...


Happy Casa Brindisi need to figure out how to win away from home. Because one win on the road could clinch Play-Offs for them, especially if it happens this week when they have a chance to complete the sweep over Bonn. And, also, a win for them in Germany could turn the entire group into a 5-4 and 4-5 mess...


Is it time to brag about picking Ricky Ledo in the "players to watch" piece? Anwil Wloclawek's dominated the game against Vechta with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, so keep an eye on him in case he grabs the third ever triple-double in the history of the Basketball Champions League.


SIG Strasbourg are 6-1 over the last seven games in all competitions. Scottie Reynolds seems to be enjoying his time there, with 13 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds against Gravelines-Dunkerque over the weekend, and Gabe York counted to 25 with his hot shooting in that one. The two of them could be the best backcourt of the entire league.


Four game losing streak belongs to history now after Brose Bamberg advanced to the Semi-Finals of the German Cup. Hopefully that win gave them the confidence to face Nizhny Novgorod, Ludwigsburg, Bayern, and Crailsheim Merlins - if you know follow just a bit of German basketball, you'll get the picture here. Bamberg have a horrible schedule to finish 2019 and start 2020.  


Weirdest stat of the week? Casademont Zaragoza own the league's worst offensive rating, averaging just 98.1 points per 100 possessions. They are one of only three teams that are still under 100 points per 100 possessions, which is all just fancy talk for "they are bad at scoring the ball."


Barcelona, Joventut, Baskonia, Real Madrid, Bilbao and - Nizhny Novgorod. Those are the only five teams to defeat Iberostar Tenerife this season. Take a bow, Zoran Lukic. This is elite company right here...


Don't worry about dropping out of top 10. Don't worry about allowing a game-winning three off of a missed free throw in Hungary. Don't worry about a thing, JDA Dijon, because you're still (one of) the best defensive outfits out there. In fact, every fifth possession ends up with a JDA Dijon steal or a block when you see those guys in front of you.


You should start talking about Juvonte Reddic. He's got 15.6 points per game, done on 67.5 percent shooting from the field, done on 10.0 attempts per game, so yeah, he's not shy to shoot them, and no, he's not missing a lot of them right now. Falco Szombathely are officially the third best yellow-and-black team of the competition.


I'm just here to tell you that Bruno Fitipaldo and Ferran Bassas are a combined 24-of-41 from beyond the arc. And the two of them aren't even the best shooters San Pablo Burgos have on board, because you know that Vitor Benite knocked down 17 of them and Thad McFadden has 15 so far.


So, Zaragoza dominating in the Spanish League, up to 10-3. Bonn struggling in Bundesliga, down to 2-7. And yet, Telekom Baskets Bonn just completed the Regular Season sweep over Zaragoza and climbed back to the top of the group. Basketball is hard to explain sometimes.


At 6-2 in Group A, Turk Telekom are one of the most dominant teams of the Basketball Champions League, getting to +54 in the points difference line so far. I'm telling you, they are the team to beat in that group, and they could go all the way to the Final Four with the way they played their first eight games here.


At 6-2 in Group A, BAXI Manresa are one of the most dominant teams of the Basketball Champions League, getting to +42 in the points difference line so far. I'm telling you, they are the team to beat in that group, and they could go all the way to the Final Four with the way they played their first eight games here.


The ironic part about ERA Nymburk not being a one-trick pony, but rather a team with so many different weapons is the fact that only 53.4 percent of their field goals have been assisted on. Nobody has less assists per field goal in the entire league... And even better, they have 126 assists and 132 turnovers so far in the season! So, why is that better, you may ask? Well, because it means that the team which swept Bamberg still has so much room for improvement...


At 6-2 in Group A, Dinamo Sassari are one of the most dominant teams of the Basketball Champions League, getting to +58 in the points difference line so far. I'm telling you, they are the team to beat in that group, and they could go all the way to the Final Four with the way they played their first eight games here.


First of all, we are talking about a team which just handed Panathinaikos their first defeat of the season in Greece. Second of all, Peristeri winmasters are holding a block party every week, because Yanick Moreira and Kingsley Moses have more blocks than 18 teams in this league. Crazy.


Six wins in a row in all competitions! Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem are doing their thing, and even though they aren't really controlling the rebounds under their rim (just 66.7 percent of defensive rebounds go their way - worst in the league in that one), they make up for it by grabbing every third miss on the offensive end. Basically, Jerusalem will let you live and kill you with rebounds, all at the same time.


The fact that Iberostar Tenerife dropped to the second spot here is just a matter of another team getting rewarded for their recent run. Because there's nothing wrong with Tenerife. Not at all. And it was a pleasure to watch Santi Yusta put on a three-point shooting clinic against Andorra over the weekend, especially in Q4. Plus, Marcelinho Huertas dishes out 8.3 assists per game, the most in this league.


AEK won six straight games in all competitions. AEK won 12 of their last 13 games in all competitions. That's how you put the Queen back on her throne...

*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.