I have been getting a lot of questions about how the European Leagues work and how many games you play. So thought I would take this blog and explain a little bit of how it works.
Each country in Europe has their own basketball league to begin with. Some of the bigger countries like France and Germany for example, have more teams than other countries such as Israel. Typically you will find between 16 to 18 professional teams within a country. It varies from country to country about how many americans are allowed on the team, but it is either two or four. The league I just explained to you, we call the the local league cause you only play within your country. You play one game a week(usually on Sat. or Sun.) and you play each team twice, once home and away. After the end of both rounds, you have a playoff that consist of the top 8 teams to see who will be crowned champions. Also, the top three teams qualify for the right to play in the Euro League and Euro Cup for the next season.
Next, you have Euroleague and Euro Cup, which are leagues composed of the champions, second place and third place teams from each country. Euroleague is the top league of europe because it mostly consist of the champions from each country. The Italian League and Spanish League, arguably the two best leagues in europe, have 3 or 4 teams in Euroleague along with Russia. The strength of the league and the traditional powerhouses teams in these leagues are what give them more teams in the european competition. In the other countries, that don't match up in league strength, only the champion of that country gets the right to play in Euroleague. The Euro Cup is pretty much the exact same league as Euroleague, except that it consist of the runner-up champions from each leaague. But back to league strength, the Italian, Spanish and Russian league have their top 3 or 4 teams in Euroleague so they have their 5th and 6th place teams in this league.
So now if you play on a team that plays in one of the european competitions, you play two games a week. Euro Cup games are played on Tuesdays and Euroleague games are played on Wednesday and Thursdays. In the European competitions, you are placed in pools. Each team plays one another twice and the top four teams from each pool go to the playoff rounds. In the playoffs you play a two game series with the team you are matched up with. If both teams win one game apiece then the team with the biggest margin of victory advances. For example, if my team lost the first game by 8 points and then won the second game by 9 points, we would advance because we have a one point advance in margin of victory. If we ended the second game only up 8 points, then the margin would be the same and we would play overtime to determine the outcome. Once you reach the final four for the playoffs, then it becomes single game elimination until you have a champion.
Usually the teams make you report at the end of August for training camp and the preseason games start the first week of September. Regular season typically start first or second week of October and last until middle of May. The european competitions last until the first of April and then you just play local league after that. In a given year, I would say you can play up to 70 games if you play in both leagues, thats including the preseason games as well. Its a long season...TRUST ME!
Well, I'm about to head out to practice, its the last practice before the game tomorrow so got to make sure I'm sharp! Peace....God is Good!
Son of The City