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EuroLeague Offseason Grades: FC Barcelona

Coming off a disappointing ending in the 2021-22 season, FC Barcelona went on to address issues around their roster structure and add more veteran leadership. Barcelona lost all the available titles in the last two months of the season.

They ended up in the third place during the EuroLeague Final-Four after losing to arch-rival Real Madrid in the semifinals, while the Whites also stopped them from winning the title in the ACB Finals to win (3-1) the best-of-five series.

After the end of the season, they once again tried to improve, adding more veteran players in the mix. They let go Dante Exum, who was a non-factor in the last month of the season and parted ways with veteran big man Brandon Davies.

In addition, back-up players Nigel Hayes-Davis and Roland Smits left the team to make way for the likes of Oscar Da Silva and Oriol Pauli. Moreover, FC Barcelona went after and eventually signed Jan Vesely fresh of a championship title in Turkey.

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Vesely will likely be the most important part of the team’s plan next season. A plus defender and a great player in the pick and roll, Vesely will be benefited by the play of top quality guards like Tomas Satoransky, Nick Calathes and Nicolas Laprovittola.

In addition to Vesely, his fellow Czech international Tomas Satoranky returned to Europe after seven seasons in the NBA. FC Barcelona welcomes back a different player regarding his skill and playing styke than the one they had seen going to the NBA back in 2015.

Satoransky is more in control as a player, relying less on his athletic ability and more on his capability to create in pick and roll situations. His basketball IQ and leadership from the point guard position went to another level during his time in the NBA.

‘Sato’ has played a total of 388 games with an average of 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 22 minutes per playing for the Bulls, Pelicans and Wizards. He played for three season in Washington assuming a starting role at some point.

In addition to Vesely and Satoransky, who add versatility and size to the Catalans’ team, Nikola Mirotic remains the downright superstar of the FC Barcelona after taking home the MVP award of the EuroLeague regular season.

It’s obvious that no team in Europe can match the size, the two-way potential and the star quality of the Vesely-Satoransky-Mirotic trio. However, it remains to be seen if Mirotic will be healthy enough to contribute at the start of the season.

Nikola Kalinic was another great addition for FC Barcelona. The Serbian swingman is one of the best rebounding wings in the EuroLeague, while he took on a score-first role in Crvena Zvezda last season.

He had averages of 11.3 points (career-high), 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game showing also improvement as a ball-handler the last three seasons. Along with Vesely and Higgins, he’s the only player who has won the EuroLeague title in his career.

Despite making the EuroLeague Final-4 the last two seasons, the team lacked the leadership to take the responsibility in the final phase of the competition. Sarunas Jasikevicius will hope that Satoransky and Vesely can take on that role.

Moreover, after a great season in his first year in Spain, Rokas Jokubaitis is expected to receive an even more prominent role in the rotation. Last season, he averaged 17.4 minutes per contest in a very demanding environment.

He ended up registering 7.6 points and almost three assists per game. The Knicks’ draftee shot efficiently, averaging 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the three-point line and 72 percent from the “charity stripe”.

In any case, FC Barcelona did all the possible right moves to win their first EuroLeague title since 2010. After their serious underachievement in the 2021-22 campaign during the final stage of the season, FC Barcelona have to win the title no matter what.

Any other result, will be far away from the expectation the Catalans created with the acquisition of Satoransky, Vesely and Kalinic.

Key Additions: Tomas Satoransky, Jan Vesely, Nikola Kalinic

Key Departures: Brandon Davies, Dante Exum

Key Retentions: Rokas Jokubaitis, Nicolas Laprovittola

Grade: A+

 

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