Downfall of Olimpia Milan in the Euroleague: A Year to Forget

Milan completes a year in the Euroleague that takes it out of the elite despite the budget it manages and the movements it forced in the market. This time may be the final one: they must change. From the project that took Messina to Italy again, when a jump to a bench in the United States was emerging with his consistent work alongside Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, to this, to just this: they have not even reached the top ten competition positions.

Efes, who in the summer said goodbye to the coach -Ergin Ataman- who took them to heaven in 2021 and 2022, has had to recalculate their course in the middle of the 2023/24 season to survive. And it has served. The dismissal of Erdem Can to make way for Tomislav Mijatovic has regained momentum in the two-time champion and has allowed them to reach the play in. In Olimpia, which since that Final Four at the Lanxess Arena has suffered a progressive decline that does not leave much to speculation, there has been no such motivation and they will be 12th out of 18 participants.

Messina finds himself in a complicated situation again, since he is the sports manager in the offices in addition to the coach on the bench. The legendary coach from Catania has not known how to make the most of everything that has been put at his service. Although the season became complicated with Mirotic’s injury, which left the big bet out of the game for thirteen days, the squad was long and has been adjusted as the months have passed.

RELATED | Messina and Mirotic, twelve years after Madrid

During the course the club has seen fit to sign Rodney McGruder or Denzel Valentine, although the latter could not compete in the Euroleague due to arriving late, coming directly from America and with extensive professional experience to compete without needing a long adaptation period. They also picked up Shabazz Napier from Red Star, where he was having a bad time and asked for a change of scenery. All of this just in a flash in the middle of the year. They got rid of Kevin Pangos to put an end to a dispute over how Messina handled the point guard position, a headache if ever there was one. There are several changes that have had no effect.

Olimpia Milan has seen almost the entire 2023/24 campaign from the depths of the standings. Not even the implementation of play in in the purest NBA style, which expands the possibilities from eight to ten teams, has been enough for them to continue in the round for another week. Without joy, being the penultimate team in pace (69.4), and without enjoying defensive resources in the style of Maljkovic’s Limoges.

Messina has experience from what he achieved in Bologna and Moscow years ago, leading those teams to be dynastic in the Euroleague, but in Giorgio Armani’s ambitious project at Olimpia in Milan he does not hit the mark. Not even being one of the five highest budgets in the tournament. The signing of Nikola Mirotic in the summer was a sign that the bet was still strong to go for the title, taking advantage of the cut in the accounts that had been made at Barça, but the Spanish Montenegrin’s problems with the Achilles tendon cut off the chances. possibilities for him to help as he should and the rest of the players did not step forward to replace him.

More without play in: controversy between the Serbs, both out

On the last day there were teams that were already eliminated. Zalgiris, for example, played a duel with Real Madrid in which neither of them had any qualifying interest. Valencia Basket and Bayern Munich didn’t have more either. And the morbidity was in the match between Anadolu Efes and Estrella Roja because, with those from Belgrade already out of options and the Turks having to win to secure play in, there was another team that was pending that result: Obradovic’s Partizan. And the 100-55 (+45) with which the match ended left many grobari with the fly behind their ears.

“Very obvious,” Kevin Punter said ironically on his Twitter account. Even an ex, Mathias Lessort (now in Panathinaikos), supported them with another message: “This shit is ridiculous. Cheating in the game never works. Karma is bloody.” Estrella’s show at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu was dantesque.

Zeljko’s team took it for granted in the preview that they would not receive help from their great enemy, although perhaps the score was too unequal. Even at Efes they relaxed so much that they tried plays that made rivals like Teodosic feel bad: an alley-oop as if it were an All-Star led to an unsportsmanlike behavior for attacking Oturu and, as a consequence, the point guard was sent off and lost. the nerves with the Spanish referee Juan Carlos García González.


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2024-04-12 07:41:30
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