That would be Barcelona, Team Ricky Rubio (and Juan Carlos Navarro, and Fran Vasquez), versus Olympacios. What's notable here is that you get a real cross-section of EuroLeague talent: Childress, the most expensive, and most valuable, American import in years; Rubio, the wunderkind that the NBA will one day remind itself to start salivating over; Europeans like Kleiza and Navarro who just plain decided to play closer to home -- and got better offers -- and Vasquez, the cop-out 2005 lottery pick who remains an eternal mystery.
For our purposes, though, the real news is that Childress might soon be headed back to the NBA. He can opt-out, with no cost or penalty and head back to America -- where the Atlanta Hawks still hold his rights.
From The Washington Post:
Okay, so Childress loves it there, and even though the Greek economy is about the dwindle to a pile of rubber stamps and canceled checks, and the streets a place of great unrest, basketball might well live on. Or maybe Childress just hasn't considered the domestic unrest in his adopted country right now. He is, after all, in Paris at the moment."I'll decide by July 15," he said, referring to his deadline for terminating his contract. "But right now, I have a lot to accomplish still -- this tournament, and then the rest of the season in the Greek league."
He acknowledged that he has been following the Hawks in the NBA playoffs, though he quickly added, "because of the time difference, not all that much." And when a persistent questioner pressed Childress on the chances he might remain in Greece, he showed no trace of irritation.
Back to the NBA. Of course we'll all want to see what Rubio looks like. After all, he remains them most-hyped prospect from last year's draft class, a class which has turned out to be its fair share of formidable. Childress, though, could be a key (re)acquisition for the Hawks, or another NBA team. The simple version: Childress can jump, shoot, and defend, plus sees the game well, plus isn't afraid to sublimate himself for the sake of team. In short, he's exactly the kind of player that the Hawks need. Mike Bibby was only ever going to do so much to hold them together, and now he's growing old.
No disrespect to Marvin Williams, who does some things well and is a very good supporting player, but plug Childress into that starting three spot and Atlanta becomes a far more cohesive, or at least less precarious, squad. At the same time, that holds true for pretty much any team. Josh Childress will only make you stronger. He's restricted, which means the Hawks can match. The question is, will he be expected to put this current team over the top (again), replace some of what Joe Johnson leaves behind, or get an offer he can't refuse from another team.
It's looking to be a players' market, and Childress is just the kind of piece teams want to tie the room together. Like James Posey, when he was supposed to be the secret ingredient. Except with Childress, it's not just a good story strung together. He really is that kind of contributor.