Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Could Europe’s top basketball sides compete with the NBA?



The above question is one that comes up now and again around Europe and my colleagues were at it again after CSKA Moscow beat Partizan Belgrade to reach their seventh consecutive Euroleague Final Four.

A lot of them think CSKA and the like could indeed pose a threat to many NBA teams today because the era of great players in the world’s toughest league is gone.

It was interesting, then, to hear CSKA coach Ettore Messina flatly deny it even after watching his well-drilled do so well.

“We are too slow, not athletic enough and not one of our players is outstanding by NBA standards,” he said. “We have done a good job of playing within our limits in Europe but that’s not enough for the toughest basketball league in the world, so we would find it very difficult to compete.”