Instead of shredding money in a lustful bid for overpaid, overvalued NBA talent this offseason or assembling European stars that make little sense together, Fenerbahce’s management went after veterans David Andersen, Mike Batiste, Romain Sato and the electric little McCalebb. What’s more, they picked up a real, live head coach named Simone Pianigiani that could form them in his palm from training to camp until—hopefully—London.
That was the plan, anyways.
But an 82-58 road embarrassment to a once 1-3 Cantu team has folks worried that despite the team’s signings—all of which seemed responsible—will mean next to nothing if Bo’s not healthy.
The three points McCalebb scored are the lowest in his four-year EL career outside of last season’s playoffs against Olympiacos, where again, an injury limited him to just 23 minutes and a single point over three games.
It would help if Brooklyn Nets’ property Bojan Bogdanovic could find a way to impact the game outside of the scoring column, if Mike Batiste were playing his natural center position instead of power forward, and if Emir Preldzic could remember how phenomenal those first few weeks felt.
Fenerbahce might also find it beneficial to hold their next opponent under 68 percent (26-of-38) on two-point shots, get to the line more than six times over 40 minutes, and avoid a 31-19 rebounding disparity.
But things can change quickly; Olympiacos can attest to that.
After rebounding from a 1-3 start and some dreadfully naive NCAA signings (sorry Kalin Lucas and Matt Howard; you just weren’t ripe yet), Olympiacos added Acie Law and Joey Dorsey midseason to a Vassilis Spanoulis-led attack that shocked the world and CSKA Moscow for a Euroleague crown.
They rode that hot finish into this season’s opener with a win, but then lost consecutive games at Anadolu Efes and then at home by 18 to Zalgiris.
And finally, it’s been a rough week for European NBA rookies.