This is the biggest midseason title in European basketball, played for from Thursday to Sunday in Madrid. Imagine a small NBA midseason tournament that features the four best teams each from Western and Eastern Conference, while actually meaning a lot to the players. Not quite as big as an NBA championship, but not too far behind either. That's what Copa del Rey is in Spain.
Participants are the ACB's top 8 teams, which include 4 current Euroleague Top16 clubs.
Players to watch from a NBA perspective:
- Ricky Rubio, obviously. He's playing against his former team Joventut in the quarter finals on Friday. Barcelona is heavy favourite.
- 1991-born Nikola Mirotic (Real Madrid), played in the Nike Hoop Summit, now taking the Euroleague & ACB by storm. Plays basketball mature well beyond his years. Super high ball IQ, flawless jumpshot, great stretch four in the making. Draft eligible, but unsure what his plans are.
- Victor Claver (Valencia), Trail Blazer draftpick, is playing the best season of his young career.
- Fran Vazquez, the famous Orlando Magic pick, is a free agent next summer. He took Copa del Rey MVP honours last year.
- Ante Tomic (Real), Utah Jazz draftpick, 7'1 center who can score in the post with either hand. Soft as tissue though.
- Joventut with Franch, Jelinek and Tomas. Remember this is the club that had 3 players (Rubio, Eyenga, Norel) in the 2009 NBA Draft, second only to UNC.
- Nemanja Bjelica, role player for Caja Laboral. Tough season for him, but having some better games lately. He'll have his first game on Friday as well.
Additionally, some former NBA players (Sergio Rodriguez, Navarro, Alan Anderson, Mickeal, Esteban Batista, etc.) as well as more draftpicks (Stanko Barac, Erazem Lorbek, ... ). Plenty of talented players as well who never have and probably never will play in the NBA.
Official ACB stream is showing all games for free, the Final game even in English commentary. This is probably the best tournament organisation and media performance outside the NBA. Most likely plenty of NBA scouts present.
Schedule (local time) here