Is the new format changing something in Euroleague numbers and statistics after only four rounds? The doubt is getting bigger game by game.
The quotes (source Sportando) from Bartzokas and Trinchieri after last friday game in Barcelona mean something in this sense.
The “blaugrana” coach said that this new format “is not good for Europe since it’s a NBA format but played in such a different league, where you play two games in 48 hours but the pressure on a loss is far bigger than in the States” adding that “there is no time for practice”. He finally said that a shared solution (with Trinchieri) could be a “15 players roster”.
The italian coach released statements about “every game being a real battle, so many excellent players being injured in the last games and the big effort needed to play the domestic league for his team, as it happens in Spain”. More he said his team is “actually tired as it happens in may, but it’s only october”.
As for Bartzokas words, he is probably forgetting than in NBA too practice is definitely missing during the season, much more than in Europe (82 RS games vs about 60 splitted between EL and domestic leagues) . A 15 players roster is an option but would it be ok for the european coach to accept maybe a second quarter played only by the bench players? Is an Obradovic intensity worth for that?
Andrea Trinchieri is obviously introducing the week of the game vs Milan, but he is making some mistakes about the effort needed in German League compared to what happens in other countries. Actually his team won 8/8 games with 682 points scored and only 504 allowed : the average difference is 22,25 points per game. Bamberg won only two games by less than ten points ( 6 with Oldenburg and Bremerhaven), two games by less than twenty ( 11 with Gottingen and 12 with Ludwigsburg), one game won by 26 (Wurzburg) and three by more than thirty points ( 39 with Skyliners, 40 with Tubingen and 48 with Braunschweig). Olimpia Milano has played 5 LBA games till now, all of them won. 434 points cored vs only 377 allowed for an average difference of 11,4 points per night. Three games won by less than 10 points and two within a 20 points difference. The German League is far easier than not only ACB but Italian Serie A too, even if this one in not as competitive as it was in a not recent past. It’s not difficult to say that Basketball Bundesliga is actually the easiest european tournament for a Euroleague team. There are no numbers to confirm Trinchieri’s words.
Going back to the “new” numbers it was easy to preview that the new format would have created some difference with the past, especially about a loss of intensity that even bigger roster can’t avoid. Training players’ brain remains an hard work and playing 4 games in 8 days is still something not everybody is ready to do. So what’s new? Defenses are suffering and scores are getting higher and higher. Offense looks somehow easier.
The best scoring team is CSKA (95,25 per night) while the best D looks like being Barcelona with only 71,5 average points allowed. During 2015 Regular Season Laboral Vitoria was scoring 92,75 points after 4 rounds, while Khimki was the best allowing only 63,5. In the last TOP 16 the two excellences were Fenerbahce with 90,25 and Malaga with 71.
Till now the average global scoring of a single game is 164,59 compared to 152,02 (last RS) and 157,03 (last TOP 16).
Talking about a “powerhouse” defense like the one of Olympiacos, absolutely the best one in last 5-6 years of Eurolegaue through different coaches, the “reds” are actually scoring 85,25 points per game, allowing 80. It was 77,75 / 68 in RS 2015 and 70,75 / 72,5 in 2016 TOP 16.
This new format has only 16 teams and it means a greater concentrations of talented players in less team than in the past. A huge scorer, maybe the first option for his team last season, could play actually a different role as a rotation player: this is exactly the opposite of what happened in NBA, where the expansion from 23 to 30 teams has created a situation in which every team has only an “alpha” player due to salary and basketball considerations ( do not let’s talk about Golden State now..).
Stats are clear as for now: in the next eight weeks we will have confirmation of this new trend or not. Maybe from early 2017 something will change since the standings will be definitely fixed and the importance of the single game will be higher, especially when played against direct competitors for playoff spots. In a few words the same situation son NBA after the ASG break. More, it will be possibile that some team with high ranking and standings, will play sometimes with less intensity due to practicing with an eye to the post season, basically from a physical training point of view.
A last point is totally technical. Pick and roll is no more the only option for most of the Euroleague coaches, so that we can feel a “going back to basic basketball” situation. Basic means cuts, ball movement, screens away from the ball, backdoor systems and so on. Defense can’t chose only between switching or not: you need a full principle D if you want to play at this level. The game is getting better, the show is improving. It’s not anyway strange that some scoring percentages, from the arc mostly, can be so high: it’s simply better basketball.