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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    14,817

    Maccabi Tel Aviv Team Thread

    Maccabi Tel Aviv EL Preview
    Source: Euroleague
    Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv is long established as a European basketball dynasty, so its standing as a preseason challenger to any title is almost a given. This year, Maccabi will be focused on bouncing back from its worst Euroleague performance in a decade after failing to reach the Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs last season. On the flip side, the club starts the season with legendary coach Pini Gershon on the sidelines. And every time Gershon has been on Maccabi's bench to start a season, the Israeli powerhouse went all the way to the European championship game. Maccabi restocked over the summer, giving Gershon eight new faces plus veteran shooter David Bluthenthal, who had won the 2004 Euroleague crown with the club under Gershon. The first-timers to wear Maccabi's famous yellow uniform include do-it-all forward Chuck Eidson, last season's Eurocup MVP; dynamic scorer Alan Anderson, defensive ace Stephane Lasme, low-post presence Maciej Lampe, feisty swingman Guy Pnini and playmakers Andrew Wisniewski, Doron Perkins and young Gal Mekel. That assortment of talents gives Gershon plenty to work with. They are in addition to captain and three-time European champion Derrick Sharp, veteran Yaniv Green, combo guard Raviv Limonad and big man DíOr Fischer, who was a revelation last season until his Euroleague debut was cut short by injury. So many new faces pose a challenge, but with so much talent under Gershon's baton, this deep squad gives countless reasons for fans in Tel Aviv to expect big things from Maccabi again.

    Eidson could be the focal point of the backcourt. A savvy player with past experience in the Euroleague, he is coming off a career season in which he led Lietuvos Rytas to the Eurocup title plus four other crowns to boot. Eidson can play all three perimeter positions, a fact that makes the Maccabi backcourt altogether more dangerous. Anderson is an ideal compliment to Eidson as a scorer who can create for himself and others and knock down shots from any range. Pnini will get his first taste of the Euroleague as the reserve small forward, brining a fearless attitude that that helps him excel on defense and inspires teammates. Wisniewski and Perkins figure to see most of the time at point guard. The veteran Wisniewski is a traditional floor general who is apt at running plays and knocking down his own shots. Perkins, last seasonís Israeli League MVP, steps up to the Euroleague for the first time, bringing a combination of speed, ball-handling, scoring ability and charisma that has allowed him to succeed at every stop in his career. Mekel could be the next in a long line of great home-grown guards at Maccabi. Despite his age, Mekelís poise and talents could take him and Maccabi a long way. The captain, Sharp, will be there when needed for his leadership, defensive smarts and three-point shooting. Limonad gives the club even more options as a selfless player with past Euroleague experience who can play both guard spots.

    The frontcourt has undergone some changes, but threatens to be great. Bluthenthal brings one of the most accurate long-distance shots in the competition plus a history of winning with Maccabi. Able to play both forward spots, Gershon can place Bluthenthal at power forward for a smaller lineup of keep him at small forward for a bigger look. Fischer returns after a splendid debut in which he damaged opponents with his mid-range shooting, rebounding and shot-blocking. In fact, he would have led the league in field goal shooting and rebounding, been second in blocks and third in scoring for the season if he had played enough games to qualify. Fischerís ability to play both power forward and center and to mesh well with those around him works out well for Lampe and Lasme. Lampe has a classic low post game and is dangerous whenever he touches the ball near the basket due to his array of moves and his passing ability. Back in the Euroleague after several years away, Lasme will be eager to start winning. Lasme, a year removed from a spectacular Euroleague debut season, boasts incredible athleticism that results in heart-stopping blocks and slams. He led the Euroleague in offensive rebounding and placed third in blocks. Lasmeís speed also means that he can guard elite small forwards as well. The powerful Green is a rebounding force and an aggressive center who makes the most of his opportunities. Maccabi starts the season with one of its deepest rosters ever and the goal is clear: Final Four in Paris or bust!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Beer Sheva
    Posts
    14,817
    of course you do

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