Maccabi TA celebrating Winner Cup .
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Despite the prospect of completing a perfect preseason, Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Guy Goodes insisted he is far more concerned about utilizing the upcoming games against Olimpia Milano in Chicago and New York to continue and fine-tune his team ahead of the start of the BSL and Euroleague campaigns.
Maccabi faces Milano at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday night, with the sides facing off once more three days later at Madison Square Garden in New York. It will be the first time ever that two Euroleague teams play against each other in two preseason games on North American soil.
Maccabi improved to 7-0 this summer with the 87-80 victory over Hapoel Eilat in the final of the Winner Cup on Monday after previously also claiming the Pro Stars tournament in Angers, France.
The yellow-and-blue is expected to face its sternest test of the preseason to date against Milano and Goodes plans to make the most of the opportunity to ensure his team is as ready as possible for the new season.
“Our goal is to continue and gel as a team,” said Goodes ahead of the team’s departure for Chicago. “We began gelling in the tournament in France and the Winner Cup games also helped us to get to know the players better. In the games against Milano we will want to see where we stand and use players who haven’t played much so far. I also want to try different lineups because this is the right time to do so before we begin playing the really important games.”
Maccabi opens its BSL campaign against newly-promoted Maccabi Kiryat Gat next Saturday, October 10, before visiting CSKA Moscow in its Euroleague opener five days later.
Maccabi underwent a complete overhaul during the summer, with only five players coming back for another campaign (Yogev Ohayon, Devin Smith, Sylven Landesberg, Guy Pnini and Brian Randle).
The club brought in five new names, including former NBA guard Jordan Farmar, who spent a twomonth stint in Tel Aviv during the NBA lockout in 2011. Last season’s Euroleague top scorer Taylor Rochestie, Trevor Mbakwe, Dagan Yivzori and former Boston Celtics center Vítor Faverani were all also added to the roster, and other than Faverani, they have seemed to have all settled very quickly at the club.
The Brazilian big man averaged just 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game over three contests in the Winner Cup.
“I feel good and I’ll continue to work hard to prove myself,” said Faverani, who was sidelined from March 2014 until joining Maccabi following surgery for a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee.
“Sometimes I’m in more pain and sometimes I’m in less, but I hope that the team will use me whenever necessary. I’ll be ready to play when my name is called.”
Goodes believes the team is still a work in progress.
“I want us to be more consistent. We need to be more balanced in our shot selection. We are a new team which is learning on the run and at the moment we are heading in the right direction,” said Goodes. “I still don’t know if I want to add another player. We are always looking into things and always want to strengthen the team.
“There is nothing in the market at the moment, but we are waiting to see who drops out of the NBA camps in October.”