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David Pick | Nr. 60

Meine sechs Wünsche für die EuroLeague 2023 | David Pick erklärt, wie die zweitbeste Basketballliga der Welt im neuen Jahr noch attraktiver werden könnte.

With Christmas and New Years creeping up on us around the corner, I decided to look ahead into the year of the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) – Michael Jordan – and chew on my bucket list of things I’d wish to see as the EuroLeague enters into 2023.

EUROLEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME: It’s long been discussed that fans want to have a EuroLeague All-Star game. We’ll obviously have players selected by fan votes, and the format should be EUROPEANS VS IMPORTS. My special addition, though, would be to have a “joker” addition of one European and one Import from the EuroCup, perhaps the best players per fan votes. Who doesn’t want to see the best stars square off?! Or a 3-Point Contest with Shane Larkin?! Or a Dunk contest with Mike James?! I’d pay for that if I’m a fan. One problem would be the timing. When would there be time for such an event? I think Xmas should be the highlight of the All-Star festival.

I hate these in-season National Team tournaments and events, it’s really ridiculous. Dani Avdija is Israel’s best player and he’s stuck in the NBA. Yam Madar and Tamir Blatt are Israel’s main PGs – but neither can attend these qualifying games because the schedule overlaps with the EuroLeague. The craziest thing happened recently with Turkey playing against Serbia on the road, and Turkish coach Ergin Ataman (also coach of Anadolu Efes), refused to release Vasilije Micic for the game; therefore “weakening” the Serbian NT in his favor. Fenerbahce however let star guard Scottie Wilbekin play for Turkey and Ataman, only for him to become the tragic hero missing late free throws and the game-winning shot.

I also want to cancel the preseason games and international cups. What good does it do for Oded Katash and Maccabi Tel Aviv to travel to Greece and France to play preseason games with E.J. Rowland as PG and Drew Crawford at the wing, while Lorenzo Brown is at the EuroBasket with the Spanish NT?! Crawford signed in Italy and Rowland went to Poland. How does Hapoel Tel Aviv get better by beating AS Monaco in the preseason in a few weeks/months later they already have changed three imports?! It’s pointless.

Another interesting idea is BUDGET CONTROL. For example, each club has a $15M budget ceiling. Obviously with such a budget it’s still possible for Anadolu Efes to recruit its 3-headed monster in Larkin-Micic-Clyburn. Considering, for numbers sake, each of them earn $3M ($9M total) – the Turkish team will have the remaining $6M to split between all the other players to build its roster.

Important to mention that economies are different across Europe. Some teams pay more for travel due to farther distances. All these calculations complicate situations for clubs, especially those with low financial means to be competitive long term. This way, with budget control, clubs with smaller financial means will develop at the bottom and create a more balanced synergy between the clubs and can get lucky to secure a deal with a “mega-star” player, and close the gap making the games more interesting and balanced, because the “top” clubs will be limited in signing too many superstars.

RELEGATION: Bottom TWO EuroLeague teams should be demoted to the EuroCup (including A-Licensed-clubs, OUT of EuroLeague for one season!) while the finalists of the EuroCup should both be promoted. FIBA Champions League winners would automatically qualify for the EuroCup, and so forth for FIBA Europe Cup winners into BCL.

TRANSPARENCY: You don’t know where I’m going with this, but I think it’s time we are able to publicly hold referees accountable. This whole “referee criticism” subject is so tabu and secret, I hate it, and I know dozens of clubs that do too. Just like players are held accountable for their turnovers, missed shots, and bad decision making, so are coaches, and so should referees be held to the same accountability – PUBLICALLY. Teams claim that referees are “untouchable”. 1stly, did you know that actually sending the EuroLeague referee a complaint for review, there’s a handling fee of 300 Euros? That’s ridiculous. Then there’s the sensitivity issue following your complaint that a referees might call against your team due to the complaint.

I can’t speak on the percentages, but EuroLeague executives tell me that the committee’s decisions on referees’ mistakes are never published, and most times than not, they side with the referee. Back when Ed Scott was Sports Director of the EuroLeague there have been instances when cases were posted on the EuroLeague website, however times have since changed, and now teams are calling to change them again. I wish that all complaints against referees are to be published and advertised and referees should never hold a vendetta towards any club or player; and let’s get rid of this “referee cult”.

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