After the end of Zeljiko Obradovic’s era at Panathinaikos BC, everyone believed that the team would not be able to continue playing at the same high standards.
A new, Greek and inexperienced head coach, Argyris Pedoulakis, took over Panathinaikos.
No one expected anything from the Greens last season. But the season went surprisingly well and the team regained the two domestic titles and did not make it to the Euroleague’s final four after being disqualified from FC Barcelona Regal on a tight playoff series.
Panathinaikos started without the home advantage, managed to reverse this situation but finally Barcelona took back the home advantage and eventually the last final four ticket.
Last season is considered an extremely successful campaign. This season the target was set high. Dimitrios Giannakopoulos, the team’s owner, stated that Panathinaikos - as well as maintaining its domestic domination - have a target to win the Euroleague title.
Towards this direction the team was enhanced with important signings. Panathinaikos signed the legendary veteran center Mike Batiste in his return to his European home. Also they signed Antonis Fotsis, another one who has returned to his home team. They added Loukas Mavrokefalidis to the roster, a Greek power forward-center who can add diversity in the inside game of Panathinaikos with his shooting from mid range.
They maintained all the key players of last season’s roster like Rammel Curry, who the last one to join last year Panathinaikos but his contribution to the team was more than important. Furthermore Panathinaikos added two Greek youngsters, Vladimiros Jankovic and Nikos Papas, to give the team a little some more sparkle.
But things are not going well. Panathinaikos has already had three lost games, two of them for Euroleague. But what is the matter?
Firstly, last season no one was expecting anything from Panathinaikos. Their opponents faced Panathinaikos as any other team. This season everyone is aware of Panathinaikos’s abilities.
Secondly, Panathinaikos may have maintained all the key players of last season’s squad but this season’s signs have to be a part of the team’s rotation. They have to have an active role in the team and that is demanding time. Team needs time to acquire automatisms again and perform them in the court.
Third, Panathinaikos during preseason had to deal with a lot of injuries. Stephane Lasme, James Gist, Roko Leni Ukic dealt with injuries. Stephane Lasme and Roko Ukic have not yet fully recovered from their injuries.
They need about a month each in order to be 100 per cent fit again. All the players mentioned above have extremely important roles in the rotation of the team and until they are fully fit the team will have ups and downs to its performance.
As explained above there are reasons for this bad start of Panathinaikos this season and everyone must give the privilege of time before judge them. So far no worries or doubts have been heard from anyone and the team is surrounded with trust.
If this trust continues to surround the team, I believe this team will offer to the rest of the world a genuine and extremely exciting spectacle this season. So let’s give them some time.
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