Week 30 of the ACB starts with a four-game slate today and concludes with some juicy Sunday matchups.
There will only be eight games this week instead of the usual nine. The island derby between Gran Canaria and Tenerife is rescheduled for Thursday, May 7 because Gran Canaria is
in the midst of being smacked down by playing Khimki Moscow in the Eurocup Finals.
Although we won’t get any Walter Tavares action this weekend, there’s still plenty to look forward to.
As always, happy scouting.
Manresa (8-21) at Valencia (17-12)
Tip-off: Sat., April 25 at 19:00 CET (1 p.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Manresa won 78-77
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Marc Garcia (Manresa), Guillem Vives (Valencia), Bojan Dubljevic (Valencia, Minnesota Timberwolves)
In the first meeting between these teams, young shooting guard Marc Garcia (No. 5 in the DraftExpress international ’96 rankings) played just 3:38. He scored zero points on two shot attempts and had one rebound.
That’s been the typical output this season for the skinny 19-year-old. He’s still a great prospect to watch going forward, but right now, he can’t handle the physicality of professional hoops. He gets man-handled whenever he’s on the court and he’s too much of a liability to see extended minutes for a team that’s fighting to avoid relegation.
Unfortunately for Manresa, Garcia may face some baptism by fire tonight.
Manresa is injured all around the perimeter — Marius Grigonis, Ben Dewar and Mario Little will be sidelined, while Davin White and DJ Seeley are banged up as well. Pedro Martínez may have no choice but to give Garcia some real playing time.
Against Valencia wings like Pau Ribas and Romain Sato, the kid is likely in for a rough night.
Baskonia (17-12) at Fuenlabrada (7-22)
Tip-off: Sat., April 25 at 20:00 CET (2 p.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Baskonia won 77-71
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Moussa Diagne (Fuenlabrada), Colton Iverson (Baskonia, Boston Celtics), Ilimane Diop (Baskonia), Rolands Smits (Fuenlabrada), Mike James (Baskonia)
I’m still firmly on the Moussa Diagne bandwagon.
Not only is he long, athletic and hyper-competitive, but you can see his basketball IQ growing throughout the season. I’ve mentioned this before in regards to his passing ability.
Now check out this three-minute sequence two weeks ago against Gran Canaria.
First, he crashes the weak-side glass and slams home a putback dunk.
Then he sets a screen, dives to the rim and finishes a contested alley-oop.
Then (and this is my favorite play) he recognizes the defense rotating to stop him as he dives after another pick-and-roll. He makes a quick read and fires a perfect pass to the open man in the corner.
On the defensive end, he helps aggressively on the pick-and-roll. He is quick and long enough to recover and swats his man from behind.
Diagne’s length and activity allows him to affect games in ways that don’t appear in the box score.
Four times against Gran Canaria he was able to either a) tap a rebound to a teammate, b) deflect a pass that resulted in a steal, or c) poke away a dribble that resulted in a steal.
Diagne just declared for the 2015 NBA Draft, which is a smart decision. He should absolutely be a second-round pick.
On the Baskonia side, Diop has a lot of potential but unless he plays very well at the Adidas Eurocamp in June, he should probably wait until next year to enter the draft.
Meanwhile, Colton Iverson and Mike James should both get NBA Summer League invites this offseason.
Unicaja Málaga (24-4) at Sevilla (9-20)
Tip-off: Sat., April 25 at 20:00 CET (2 p.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Málaga won 82-76
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Kristaps Porzingis (Sevilla), Willy Hernangomez (Sevilla), Nikola Radicevic (Sevilla), Mo Soluade (Málaga), Mindaugas Kuzminskas (Málaga)
Porzingis is the headliner here, as he should be a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. His teammates Willy Hernangomez and Nikola Radicevic declared this week as well, per Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
You can check out my breakdown of Radicevic’s skill set about halfway down this page.
Gipuzkoa (9-20) at Joventut (16-13)
Tip-off: Sat., April 25 at 20:30 (2:30 p.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Joventut won 66-63
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Daní Díez (Gipuzkoa), Alberto Abalde (Joventut), Alex Suárez (Joventut)
If you want to watch some young, quality Spanish small forwards, this is the game for you.
The 22-year-old Díez is a top-5 rebounder in the ACB (6.8 per game) and shoots 40 percent from 3.
On the Joventut side, Abalde (who may or may not play) has hit an insane 70 percent of his threes (12-of-17) in his last seven appearances.
Suárez, after three straight scoreless outings, played well last week against Valencia. He finished with 11 points on 100 percent shooting (1-of-1 on twos, 3-of-3 on threes).
Bilbao (18-11) at Real Madrid (23-5)
Tip-off: Sun., April 26 at 12:15 CET (6:15 a.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Bilbao won 89-79
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Marko Todorovic (Bilbao, Houston Rockets), Sergio Llull (Real Madrid, Houston Rockets), Dejan Todorovic (Bilbao)
It’s the Daryl Morey Bowl in Madrid, as the Houston Rockets’ top draft-and-stash players square off.
Bilbao and Marko Todorovic won their first meeting despite 16 points from Sergio Llull. Don’t be surprised if Sito Alonso’s club pulls off another win. Llull and Real just qualified for the Euroleague Final Four, but they looked very shaky throughout their series with Anadolu Efes.
Todorovic has been a monster all season. Despite not receiving any MVP love from the players, he would get my vote if the season ended today.
Todorovic, who just turned 23 this week, leads the league in win shares and offensive rebounding. He’s second in PER (24.6) and total rebounds per game, third in two-point field goal percentage and fifth in blocked shots per game. He’s also averaging one steal per game and he’s led his team to a 18-11 record.
He’s the only player to win Player of the Week three times this season, and his team has a legitimate chance of overtaking FC Barcelona for third place.
Shame on you, players.
Andorra (10-19) at Murcia (14-15)
Tip-off: Sun., April 26 at 12:30 CET (6:30 a.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Murcia won 74-68
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Raul Neto (Murcia, Utah Jazz)
Neto has had an up-and-down season, but paired with Augusto Lima, he’s one of the most exciting players in Europe.
FC Barcelona (19-9) at Zaragoza (15-14)
Tip-off: Sun., April 26 at 12:40 CET (6:40 a.m ET)
Last Meeting: Barcelona won 90-67
Why NBA Fans Should Care: Mario Hezonja (Barcelona), Tibor Pleiss (Barcelona, Utah Jazz), Tomas Satoransky (Barcelona, Washington Wizards), DeShaun Thomas (Barcelona, San Antonio Spurs), Ante Tomic (Barcelona, Utah Jazz)
The first meeting between these two was forever immortalized when Mario Hezonja stole the ball, covered half the court in one dribble and threw down a gorgeous windmill dunk.
It will be interesting to see how Barcelona responds after Olympiacos eliminated them from the Euroleague this week in heart-breaking fashion. Will they come out flat against Zaragoza or simply kick the shit out them again?
My feeling is it will be the second option.
Obradoiro (13-15) at Estudiantes (11-18)
Tip-off: Sun., April 26 at 18:30 CET (12:30 p.m. ET)
Last Meeting: Obradoiro won 60-59
Why NBA Fans Should Care: There’s no blue-chip prospects in this game, but Jaime Fernández (Estu), Juancho Hernangomez (Estu) and Maxi Kleber (Obradoiro) are definitely worth checking out.