Sound the alarms. Fire Pop. Trade everyone.
After dropping their first exhibition game to German team Alba Berlin, the Spurs are desperately hoping to put out the flames of despair before this season becomes a true dumpster fire. The first chance to make things right is a matchup against Fenerbahçe Ülker, who won the Turkish league for the first time since 2011.
Like many European clubs, Fenerbahçe have a balanced attack, with five guys averaging between 10 and 12.5 points per game last year, and their roster boasts a handful of names old and new that may sound familiar to NBA fans.
Starting shooting guard Andrew Goudelock is one of two Americans on the team; some may recognize him from the revolving door of point guards the Lakers cycled through over the last few years. Other former NBA'ers include big man Semih Erden, who played a bit with the Celtics, and former Wizards lottery pick Jan Vesely, who made his way overseas after being waived by the Denver Nuggets. Vesely, who entered the league with one of the draft's more memorable moments, never took to the NBA style of play (or free-throw shooting -- he shot 42.3% from the line over three seasons), and is looking to find success in Europe once again.
The most interesting player of all, however, might be 22-year-old Serb Bojan Bogdanovic. A lottery pick by Phoenix in the 2014 NBA draft, Bogdanovic won't be making his way stateside just yet, but he was one of the standouts for his national team, which grabbed the silver in the World Cup of Basketball last month. He's Fenerbahçe's leading scorer and should look to put on a strong performance against his future competition.
With a combination of NBA experience and young talent, Fenerbahçe are another team that can give San Antonio trouble -- especially in an exhibition match with little on the line for the NBA champs (yup, still sounds good four months later). I'd expect them to play a fast-paced, outside-in game. In Zoric and Erden, they have two bigs that can mix it up down low, but the talent lies more on the perimeter. Bogdanovic is a threat, and Goudelock, despite not hanging around in the NBA, was still a near-40% shooter from deep.
As with Alba Berlin, this should be an entertaining matchup, pitting an American team with strong European influences against a European team with NBA ties. Still, I don't foresee San Antonio dropping both of their games on the continent. A solid effort from Spurs role players should be enough to secure the win in Istanbul.
|Preseason Game 2|
|October, 11, 2014|
|Ulker Sports Arena, Istanbul, Turkey|
|11:00 am CDT|
|Tony Parker||PG||Richard Hickman|
|Danny Green||SG||Andrew Goudelock|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||Emir Preldzic|
|Boris Diaw||PF||Semih Erden|
|Tim Duncan||C||Luka Zoric|
Game Prediction: Spurs by 7.
As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.