Happy Holidays, Turkish Airlines EuroLeague fans! We are here to entertain you! We come off another terrific double week and will finish the first half of this year's regular season in style. We had some outstanding games last week. FC Barcelona Lassa rallied from a 25-point deficit to take the lead in Vitoria, but Baskonia prevailed in a thrilling finish. Olympiacos Piraeus completed a perfect week, downing CSKA Moscow at home and Anadolu Efes Istanbul on the road. Vassilis Spanoulis is officially back and that is great news for Olympiacos - and of course, bad news for everybody else. Zalgiris Kaunas, the only undefeated team in December, kept adding wins to its unforgettable start of the season, beating Brose Bamberg at home and Valencia Basket on the road. The fact that Zalgiris signed Beno Udrih makes thing even more exciting in Kaunas. It was also a great double week for Unicaja, in which it downed Brose and Barcelona behind solid performances from Nemanja Nedovic – I told you so! – and James Augustine.
My team Gancedato had a bittersweet week, doing great in the first round and not so well in the second. Getting 84.6 points stopped me in my tracks, and now I rank 659th overall with 2277.9 fantasy points; that is more than 200 from overall leader xyz. So, it is time to do things right again, but before, as always, here are some clues about players who may have gone unnoticed and could do well on your EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge team...
1. CHRIS SINGLETON, PANATHINAIKOS SUPERFOODS ATHENS - He didn't have a great game or doesn't come off a particularly good winning streak, but Singleton is the perfect example of what I want to point out. We all have to start reading opponents from now on and his outside shooting and mobility may give him an advantage against Bojan Dubljevic and Tibor Pleiss of Valencia.
2. WILL CLYBURN, CSKA Moscow His price has dropped to €1.27 million and there are not so many good small forwards out there. After a great start of the season, Clyburn slowed down a little bit, but is now playing well again, especially on the road – he had a 19 PIR against Brose Bamberg and 14 against Olympiacos. CSKA needs him to get a win against Baskonia in a packed Fernando Buesa Arena.
3. ADAM WACZYNSKI, UNICAJA MALAGA - A pleasant surprise lately. In the first six games, Waczynski struggled to find his spot in Coach Plaza's rotation, averaging 9 points and a PIR of 6.2. In the last five games, however, Wazcynski has boosted his numbers to 14.2 points and a PIR of 13.2 by hitting 17 of 26 three-point shots. With Unicaja on a three-game winning streak, it may be a good moment to pick him.
4. ERRICK McCOLLUM, ANADOLU EFES ISTANBUL - He has been reunited with Coach Ergin Ataman, with whom he won the 2015-16 7DAYS EuroCup. McCollum earned MVP honors and Ataman has a knack from making a smart point guard his franchise player; he did that with Carlos Arroyo, most recently. Expect McCollum to be the man in Efes from now on.
5. TYLER HONEYCUTT, KHIMKI MOSCOW REGION - It took him some time to take off again after his injury, but Honeycutt was finally his usual self against CSKA, doing a little bit of everything - 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block for a PIR of 17. He is the best rebounder you will find at small forward - and arguably the best athlete in the EuroLeague.
Alright, moving on to Gancedato... I am thanking Jamel McLean for a solid performance and trading him because his team plays on the road against tough Zalgiris. I am also letting Dorell Wright go because he has underperformed in the last round and as you see, I am recommending a couple of rising small forwards, plus others – Nikita Kurbanov is the first name that come to mind – are also on their way up, too. Finally, I am selling Brad Wanamaker because Ali Muhammed is back in Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul's rotation, which means Wanamaker is set to see less playing time.
First and foremost, I am buying McCollum because I really believe he will be Efes's main player from now on. Ataman will give the team a different look, with different roles and McCollum will probably become the most important player in the team. I am also buying Clyburn because he seems to be a perfect fit against Janis Timma and Matt Janning. I may be wrong, however, but he is my top choice at small forward right now. Last but not least, I am bringing back Toko Shengelia because being perfectly honest, it was a big mistake to sell him in the first place. He had career-high numbers against Barcelona and every basket was like being hit on the head with a hammer.
So, Gancedato looks like this before Round 15. Let's finish the first half of the regular season with a bang!
Luka Doncic, Real Madrid (PG) - Not in his best streak of the season, but Doncic will stay here possibly for the remainder of the season.
Nando De Colo, CSKA Moscow (SG) - After being sick, he is ready to bounce back in a place that brings back very good memories; he won the 2010 EuroCup at Buesa Arena.
Will Cyburn, CSKA Moscow (SF) - Not a fan of having two perimeter players from the same team, but hey, last time I had both De Colo and Clyburn, I did well.
Toko Shengelia, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (PF) - Dear Toko, here you are again, with an apology. Go out there and keep doing what you do, please.
James Augustine, Unicaja Malaga (C) - Being honest, if I had an extra trade, I would have bought Singleton, but Augustine is a solid choice, always.
Alexey Shved, Khimki Moscow Region (G) - Comes off a so-so game against CSKA, but that won't stop me from holding on to him #Shvedders
Paulius Jankunas, Zalgiris Kaunas (F) - He is the best player on the hottest team in the competition. Enough said. Jankunas rarely disappoints.
Errick McCollum, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (U) - After following Coach Ataman's career closely, I believe he is an interesting choice. We will see!
BENCH: Vassilis Toliopoulos, Olympiacos Piraeus (G), Egehan Arna (F) and Melih Mahmutoglou (U), Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul and Jake Cohen, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (C).
That's all I have for you, Euroleague Fantasy Challenge fans! Enjoy an exciting round, which starts with a huge game, Fenerbahce vs. Madrid on Thursday at 18:45 CET, and good luck to you all!