Monday, August 30, 2010

Just wondering..

..which is the best crop for basketball in Europe.

It would have been easy to answer this question twenty years ago: Yugoslavia, no doubt. Nowdays people can disagree or have different opinions. And they are right and what they say it worths respect. Well, that means the competition is much bigger, and that's good either for the level and the interest of fans and for the uncertain results of the international competitions under FIBA. After disintegration of former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia in so many small indipendent countries we can see a bunch of new strong european National teams very competitive at any level. You never know who's gonna win. And superstars come out from any country from the Old Continent.

Where we just had the Soviet Union now there are Russia, Lithuania and also Ukraine who can excel at high level or they can offer outstading NBA materials.
Once upon a time Yugoslavia, yeah: now we have Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia. Do you want some names of their talents? Here we go: Sasha Vujacic, Brezec, Nachbar, Nesterovic and Dragic (and many more) from Slovenia; former NBA champion Divac from Serbia like his compatriots Danilovic and Jaric in the recent years, or the new emerging stars of Euroleague Teodosic, Tripkovic, Teletovic or even more Novickovic, Macvan, Dragicevic; the croatian Igor Rakocevic, Roko Leno Ukic or the Draftable Zubcic while the aged people will remember for sure the unforgettable Drazen Petrovic and his teammate Dino Radja.

From Lithuania we have the unstoppable Linas Kleiza, Kaukenas, the Lavrinovic twins but, still remembering the first (and maybe best ever) Arvydas Sabonis we have enjoyed with Siskauskas or we are now waiting for next superstars Valanciunas and Motejunas.
Spain is a wonderful crop as well - the best center of the NBA is nowadays Pau Gasol (okay with Dwight Howard) and the outstading Ricky Rubio - and many guys made the team in the NBA like french themselves either. Germany hero Dirk Nowitzki has been a NBA MVP candidate in the last 5 years while italian Andrea Bargnani was a 1st rounder pick of the lottery and a franchise player today.
Yes, which is the best crop for top level players is really questionable. From East to West, from South to North (yeah, we have also Jerebko and Koponen or Luol Deng) we can count fantastic players. Amazing topic.

When you see in Romania teams playing like the Lakers

Almost all the teams of the professional leagues have started working hard in these first days of the training camps.
The phone cells of the GMs are always hot though. Better to be updated. You never know. Maybe around the corner you can find the perfect addition to your squad, and agents are lowering the prices of clients still available in the meantime.

It's like stock market, even for ballers the budget fluctuations are related on economy first, but also on your resume, the last stats and the trend of coaches. Of course you have to handle carefully your demands, because every more day you will lose jobs.
Sometimes it happens that some positions are "in" while due to the new rules of the game you can see old-style centers being "out" of the market. Yeah, it's a matter of being fashionable: when some powerhouses win with combo's in international competitions or in some top leagues, you will see at any level coaches yelling at their GM's they need combo's to be competitive.

Coaches like to be followers. It's sumetimes ridiculous. They want so much to feel themselves like they are close with technical ideas to the most valuable colleagues of the business. It's a human weakness to act like this. Well, if you are not coach Bobby Knight or Phil Jackson or the multi-winner Zeljko Obradovic at Euroleague level, for sure you can always say to your friends that your team has the same plays of the best teams in the NBA or in ACB. It's possible to see teams in Romania playing like the Lakers. Even at lower level or in youth programs. Maybe it's sometimes funny but also the nice side of this game.

Players and Agents

It's not that easy for ballers to choose the right agent. It's not a matter of picking the good or bad, but the athlete would ask himself: is that one the right professional for me? Integrity is always an asset, networking overseas also but who is good for Kobe maybe he is not for an average rookie looking for his first job in some unknown country in Europe.

That's the point. Every player would take the right info's for hiring his own agent.

Usually players when just graduated aspire to be listed under big-time agencies. It's a human desire to be part of a superagency wellknown in the business. They think this way to win their lottery in being signed by the best organizations and for big money. That's wrong, of course. Who works for Melo or Chris Bosh maybe won't be available to spend hours on phone to push an average kid from Division II to Belgium or Macedonia. Or even worse he won't be able to do that, if he doens't know any colleague or GM's in Europe. Why? Because a big-time agent maybe run 25 superstars in the NBA but he doesn't know anything of the level of the european countries.

Ballers are often stubborn and arrogant and usually overrate their skill-sets. And moreover they love when some attorney tell them they worth six figures deals. Of course that is far from reality and from what it will happen later on. The agent will be fired to have lied all the time to his client while the player would waste time, money and jobs.
The agent should be the honest advisor but who suggests the player to sign for that specific agent? Big question. Lots of ballers have their own mentors, some have older family members who were players as well or maybe they are connected to the industry. But how a youngster when 21 can opt for the right choice for an agent that must start planning his career? Not easy. Being reasonable it sometimes fights with aspirations and dreams. People don't like to be pragmatic. Guys are always attracted by street agents talking big.
And college coaches are too often playing for doing favours to friends or friends of the friends and not necessarily for giving the most honest and transparent support to naive guys. Yeah, it's a big question. Who is the best agent for you? But above all who takes care in guiding youngsters to smart professionals who should be gonna advice you to start playing pro basketball?