Barcelona headed into the off-season with a lot of questions surrounding their roster, coaching position and past failures to win the Euroleague. Most of them would be answered over the course of the summer. With their last Euroleague title coming in 2010, the expectations are always very high for the club. Barca made the Final Four in Euroleague for 3 consecutive seasons but fell short each time, losing the final in 2021 to Anadolu Efes and coming up short in the semi-finals in 2022 and 2023.
This shortcoming led to Barcelona cutting ties with coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, who led the team for 3 seasons from 2020 to 2023. The new Coach will be Roger Grimau who led Barcelona to it´s last Euroleague title in 2010, as a player.
Grimau coached Barcelona´s 2nd team from 2021 to 2023 before making the jump to the first team. As a player he was Barcelona´s captain and now he will be in charge and tasked with leading the club back to the Euroleague title.
With the coaching change there was also a roster transition over the summer. The club lost it´s best scorer Nikola Mirotic (15.4 PTs) to Milano as well as their 4th best scorer Cory Higgins (8.7 PTs). Other departures included Sertac Sanli (6.2 PTs) to Fenerbahce, Mike Tobey (5.9 PTs) to Red Star Belgrade and Kyle Kuric (5 PTs).
What Barcelona managed to do very well is keep a lot of their key players which can be an advantage early on in the season. Laprovittola, Vesely, Satoransky, Abrines, Kalinic, Jokubaitis all return along with Oscar da Silva and Charlotte Hornets 2023 draft pick James Nnaji. This gives the Spanish team a lot of continuity that should come in handy with some key additions and a new coach.
Key New Arrivals
Dario Brizuela, G, 6-2
The 28 year old arrives from Unicaja Malaga where he played in BCL last season and averaged 11.9 PTs, 1.4 REBs and 2.1 ASTs while shooting 42.2% from the 3-point line. The guard comes off a Fiba World Cup appearance for Spain, averaging 7.6 PTs. Dario is a combo guard who can facilitate and score the ball. Coming off screens or shooting off the dribble are two of his biggest strengths on the floor along with moving well without the ball. He is someone that the defense has to keep an eye on at all times as he can get hot quickly.
Joel Parra, F, 6´8
A strong forward who is just 23 years old and played for Joventut Badalona last season where he averaged 12.9 PTs, 3.9 REBs and 1.2 ASTs in Eurocup. The left-hander was also part of the Spanish National Team at the Fiba World Cup this summer. Joel is an inside-outside forward who can post up, operate in the mid-range or shoot the 3 really well (49.3% last season). He has shown consistent improvement over the past seasons and will be someone who still hasn’t reached his peak yet. As a spot up option and cutter he will fit nicely in Barca´s new system and is also a player who is effective without getting much touches, important in a balanced and stacked roster.
Jabari Parker, F, 6´8
Parker is a big name in the Basketball world and was the 2nd pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. His career has been shaken up by many injuries but was still a stellar one in the NBA. Over the course of 8 NBA seasons he appeared in 310 Games (190 starts) with career averages of 14.1 PTs, 5.5 REBs and 2 ASTs. His last playing experience was in the 21-22 season with the Boston Celtics, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he gets back to full force. When healthy Jabari will provide a modern inside-outside presence at the forward spots who can do a bit of everything. Parker is a decent 3pt shooter, rebounds well and is physically strong. In his best NBA season in 2016-17 he averaged 20.1 PTs, 6.2 REBs and 2.8 ASTs and if he can get back to near that level he could be a force in Euroleague.
Willy Hernangomez, C, 6´11
The Spanish Center returns to the Euroleague after 7 seasons in the NBA. He last played in Euroleague in the 15-16 season with Real Madrid. He spent last season with the New Orleans Pelicans averaging 7.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 0.9 APG in 13 minutes per game. The 2022 Eurobasket MVP will be a great addition to Barca´s frontline. Willy is a modern center who can operate in the post and mid-post areas, is really good as a roll man in ball screen situations and finishes very efficient around the rim. At 6´11 he is a presence in the paint and a force on the offensive glass, where in last year’s Eurobasket he averaged 2.8 offensive rebounds per game while finishing 64% of his 2-pointers, creating tons of 2nd chance points.
It’s a recurring theme in our previews and Barcelona has also built a deep roster with a lot of quality on each position. There are not many Rosters in Euroleague outside of Barcelona who have this kind of quality in their depth. They are stacked from 1 through 12 on the team with National Team players for their respective countries. There is not much drop-off in quality, even when going deep into the bench and rotation. Having this many players on the same level is a luxury.
Barcelona has to be considered as a team that will have to make the playoffs in direct qualification via one of the top 6 spots and looks primed to fight for one of the top spots and home court advantage in the playoffs. The Catalans should be a strong contender for one of the top 4 spots after the regular season.
Overall they kept a nice core of players around from last season and added some high level new players who will fit nicely into coach Grimau´s plans, making Barcelona primed to fight for a 4th consecutive Euroleague Final Four appearance.
Equipped with 3 point guards in Laprovittola, Satoransky and Jokubaitis, Barcelona will have no shortage of creation and organization on the court at all times. Dario Brizuela will fill in as a score first option, potentially off the bench. There are a lot of lineups that coach Grimau can experiment with, such as all 3 point guards together or playing a bigger lineup that sees Alex Abrines shift down from the wing to put more size on the court at the shooting guard position.
Nikola Kalinic and Alex Abrines will be the main small forwards for Barcelona who add size, shooting and are a threat cutting without the ball and finding open spots. Jabari Parker and Joel Parra will likely be the main power forwards who can stretch the floor with Oscar da Silva also helping out off the bench. This group has one thing that not many other teams have, size and length. Barcelona is a very tall team outside of Laprovittola as one of their point guards which will allow them to be physical and also switch a lot on defense.
A very talented group headlined by Jan Vesely and Willy Hernangomez who will hold down the paint and be effective scorers in pick and rolls with Willy being a post up option as well. James Nnaji gives Barcelona an outstanding athletic and defensive presence off the bench who will still develop and improve along the way. Oscar da Silva can help out here as well and so can Jabari Parker or Joel Parra in certain small-ball lineups for more speed on the court. Overall there will not be many coaches outside of Roger Grimau who have this many options at their disposal and are able to give so many different looks to opposing teams.