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NBA : Olympiakos Blog: It takes steps back, because it does not put it forward

NBA :

By Nikos Varlas / varlas@eurohoops.net

Sometimes the image on the field is so… indicative and representative that not many words are needed.

Especially when some problems and pathogens appear with the same face in the basketball nights when things do not go well.

Olympiacos lost easily in Moscow to CSKA, fell to a 5-5 record and two more away games follow next week. Against Barcelona in Barcelona and a visit to Belgrade against the not infrequent Red Star…

All the teams in the Euroleague since the format changed and became a marathon have curves in their performance.

Periods that play well and win, moons that are strained, are deformed and suffer accumulated defeats.

This is even more true in the Covid era which is a matter of conjuncture and timing when you will achieve weak and incomplete opponents and when you will go through a time when Covid will have altered your game.

It is true that the bad performances with Baskonia and CSKA find reason and reading, not a cheap excuse, in the fact that 4 players got sick and stayed on the pits for two weeks, five absences with that of the injured Harrison and that during this period even healthy missed a lot of workouts.

Olympiakos went back as a team from this situation, it is a fact and we note it. From there, as time goes on, the big picture… sits on the two elements – question marks that I had submitted before the official jambol of the year.

Number one question mark is the ceiling of the creation and production of scores mainly from the periphery in half court situations and number two is the “ceiling” of Olympiacos in “5” which so far το is shaken by the performance of Octavius ​​Ellis.

When you face issues in the two positions that form the foundation of a basketball edifice, the issue of balance and completeness automatically arises.

Here is Olympiakos in the current phase, which in its 10 games so far has shown a good profile in defense, but it is CLEAR that it is struggling aggressively at 5 Vs 5.

Olympiacos: Worst performance this year is 61 points in Moscow! (videos)

Let’s look at some very basic things in numbers, but also in substance.

• Although only 3 teams so far (Barcelona, ​​Zenit and Baskonia) have lower passivity than the 76.1 points that the reds receive per game, the record is 5-5 and now the goal average is negative and specifically at -11.

• Why; Because Olympiakos in a not big, but not negligible sample of 10 games, has a problem in the attack and whoever does not see it, goes blind. He scores just 75 points per game and as an attacker is in 14th place in the tournament…

• Below him, but marginally are Villeurbanne (74.6), Red Star (74.3), Fener (74) and Zenit (73.3). If Olympiacos has a bad night offensively against the best defense in the Euroleague, Barcelona (passive only 70.5 points) then it will flirt… dangerously with the inelegant title of the worst attack in the league.

• Are the red and whites so bad in the attack? Okay, they are definitely not the worst team, the just 61 points in Moscow dropped their average even more, but let’s be honest. Coach Bartzoka’s attack on the half is not at the level of a team that can go far in the tournament. At least so far.

• There is a clear problem. And the big question mark is: When Olympiakos is formed at some point and with the risk of losing serious ground in terms of points at the end of the first round, can it radically differentiate its image aggressively at 5 Vs 5 with the current roster?

• The puzzle is difficult… In Moscow against a team with athletic and big bodies he scored 61 points, scored 21 in 25 minutes and was fatally defeated with his hands down, against an opponent who was not even in a good executive day. CSKA finished the match with 44% in two points and 39% in three points…

• George Bartzokas for the first time started a match with Slouka – Spanoulis together in the starting lineup. Because only he even now can catch the attention of the opponent’s defense and help Sloukas. Breathe. Probably because he saw that in most games the team had a bad start offensively and stayed behind in the score with good morning. This worked great for a few minutes and when they both withdrew, a band appeared without a classic creator, not even a conventional one, resulting in the team faltering in attack.

• The fact that he did something that the coach did not have as a basic choice with the rotation so far, is the most tangible proof that he also sees that something is wrong and the equation in the attack does not work out for him.

• There is NO ace behind Sloukas, with Spanoulis for obvious reasons being banned from lowering the ball systematically and having to run Plays without the burden of pressure wear.

• The worst thing is that it has not been seen that a player can when Sloukas tries to run the attack from “1” alone that can create, threaten, cause cracks, open spaces, disturb the balance and defense attitudes.

• The games pass, Sloukas is called to do something that has not happened to him again in his career (to create, to execute, to set up all the pick and roll without any charismatic guard next to him in an attack that is too static and predictable) and that at the moment, instead of Sloukas giving something more or much more to his team, he may not be able to offer and do even several times what he knows very well and under other conditions he has it at the top level… by default.

• The parallel use of Spanoulis – Slouka, puts at risk the defensive performance, creates requirements for shapes that can cover things defensively and somehow this famous balance on both sides of the floor is still sought, with the attack being the obvious “open wound “of Olympiacos.

• No other player on the roster has an easy rift so that the movement of the ball starts with an advantage and more off ball movement occurs. There is no creation and self-explanatory game from the post either (with Printezis playing a little and Milou having moved to Moscow), McKissick’s (athletic) qualifications in the half court with the defenses set up in it – are annulled because he shoots with 19% in three points and everyone is waiting for him back and so Olympiakos ends up being aggressive, predictable, static and inadequately offensive in half.

• As if all this is not enough, today, as we speak, it has the worst percentage in three points (32.9%) in the ENTIRE Euroleague! How much can Harrison change and improve, who until he hit gave the red and whites 7.6 points and 1.6 assists?

• He can definitely help in the distances, because he is a good shooter and they do not play him behind the screens, but on the one hand he is not charismatic in 1 vs 1 either and we have to see if the one-dimensional function in the attack continues, whether Harrison can make and shoot himself, from personal phases.

CSKA – Olympiacos: Irritation and dismissal for George Bartzokas! (videos-photos)

In all of this, Octavius ​​Ellis is now worrying. At one point last year, when he found himself almost alone in the position, he responded well, looking more focused and more combative.

Now, he seems a bit “out of the water”, as if he is missing something so that he can offer consistently at this level and be rightfully considered a key player in the “5”. Because the second in the rotation, Kara – is a key player in basketball.

In none of the last three matches of Olympiacos has coach Bartzokas trusted him for more than 10 minutes, in none of them has he committed more than 1 foul…

Ok, Livio has risen in hierarchy, role and time of participation in “5”, but all this says something.

We’ll see. Next week and the wine tests with Barcelona and Red Star will show us even more, before Olympiacos returns home to play with Valencia and Real.

The current mix can be enough to claim a place in the Playoffs, as long as the team is formed and is healthy over time.

To be in the octave with serious chances, and therefore abilities to do further damage and to claim glory in the spring, at the moment the score in the attack is missing.

Need a steady +10 points in the attacking set, how will they arise and who will be the player who will make the difference to achieve this goal?

If it is not one, can Olympiacos solve this critical puzzle through the improvement of everything and therefore the team operation?

Will it need to be added? All answers are given on the field.

ΥΓ1. The double of Panathinaikos in Milan is very important, not only because it needed it in terms of points, but because for teams like this year’s greens, such nights help you change your chip and believe more, every time you step on the floor. Of course, to change this, just one match is not enough. It also takes duration.

Panathinaikos blog: Was it so difficult?

ΥΓ2. Ate, let the NBA start, let’s choose the bunches we want to see to fill our basketball life even more in this difficult time. John’s decision is coming, I smell it.

Giannis Antetokounbo: Faced with the most critical decision of his career

ΥΓ3. Anyone who likes more, in-depth analysis not only for the last matches of the two Greek teams, but for all the issues that determine their course this year, has it here.

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