It’s Not All About the NBA! The 10 Best European Basketball Teams Right Now

best european basketball teams

Do you take an interest in basketball teams overseas?

If so, you may have found yourself looking up the best European basketball leagues so that you can scope out some action. Knowing which are the best European basketball teams to look out for is important when doing this.

So, which are the best basketball teams Europe has to offer? Can they compete with the quality the NBA has to offer? 

Check out this guide to Europe’s basketball elite and find out more about who’s making waves across the continent right now.

Want to take your best shot at joining one of Europe’s elite basketball teams? Get in touch with EuroProBasket today to learn more about how our basketball camps in Europe can help you go pro.

Where is basketball biggest in Europe?

If we had to pick out the most basketball-crazy countries, then Greece, Spain, Lithuania, Serbia, and Slovenia would be top of the list. In Lithuania, it’s the national sport with its biggest team, Zalgiris Kaunas, attracting a huge following. 

Basketball also enjoys great popularity in France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Croatia. All of these countries have a competitive basketball league, even if some don’t contribute any of the best European basketball teams to the rankings. 

What is the equivalent of the NBA in Europe?

The American NBA league is the most popular basketball league in the world, but the Euroleague offers a compelling equivalent for European basketball fans. 

It features the top clubs from across the continent, boasting star players who often transition to the NBA and showcase a tactical, team-oriented style of play.

Just like the NBA, the Euroleague delivers high-stakes competition with passionate fanbases, making it the prime showcase for the best of European basketball.

Which is better, the NBA or EuroLeague?

In a straight fight, the NBA beats the EuroLeague in terms of star quality, roster depth, and investment. 

However, the quality of the EuroLeague has improved over recent years, due to several factors.

  • Increased revenue investment from wealthy benefactors allows the best European basketball teams to have higher salaries, although still not at the level of the NBA                            

                                 The EuroLeague’s rising revenue levels since 2013

                                             Source: Forbes (Via EuroHoops)

  • Rule changes that encourage a faster pace of play and offensive skills add to the excitement of games
  • Development pipelines that allow EuroLeague teams to source young talent from European training academies. 

With continued progress, the EuroLeague could become a truly global rival to the NBA in the years to come.

What are the biggest European basketball tournaments?

The EuroLeague is the biggest European basketball tournament, but there are other competitions in various countries that hold a lot of prestige within the FIBA system.

One that’s always near the top of the “European Basketball League Ranked” lists is Spain’s Liga ACB, which has produced the NBA All-Stars Pau and Marc Gasol. In 2016 alone, there were 39 former ACB players in the NBA. 

The ACB, however, is dominated by its two best teams – Real Madrid and Barcelona – which have won eight of the last 10 titles between them (Valencia Basket and Kirolbet Baskonia being the two exceptions). 

Other notable mentions should go to the Turkish Basketball Super League (BSL), which has received an avalanche of recent investment, and the Basketball League of Serbia whose clubs Crvena Zvezda and Partizan Belgrade are regular EuroLeague competitors. 

The 10 best European basketball teams in 2024

When listing the best European basketball clubs, it’s easy to glance at the EuroLeague team rankings and simply go with those at the top, but we can add another factor to the equation: longevity. 

We’ve looked at their performances not just this season, but over the last three years, to help us arrive at the most accurate results for top-quality teams in Europe. 

Using a weighting system skewed toward recent performance, here are the top ten basketball teams in Europe since 2021

10. Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz

best european basketball teams

Baskonia in preparation for pre-season game vs London Lions Source:

Put simply, Baskonia’s a rollercoaster ride. 

They have defied budget limitations in recent years, pushing EuroLeague giants like Real Madrid, but a rough patch saw coach Penarroya fired in 2023. 

Key players left, but new coach Duško Ivanović was able to bring in fresh faces to keep Baskonia doing well in the EuroLeague in which they qualified for the first-ever play-in. 

Can their “run & gun” style upset the odds again in the near future?

Fun fact: Codi Miller-McIntyre made 20 assists in one game for Baskonia vs ASVEL Basket in 2024, the most ever in one EuroLeague match.

9. Partizan

Photo of pre-season game vs Partizán and Fuenlabrada Source: Baloncesto Fuenlabrada

Amid talk of Partizan or Serbian rivals Red Star being left out of the EuroLeague hasn’t impacted the former’s performances over the last couple of seasons.

Although they missed out in 2024, they put in a good showing in the previous year’s playoffs, going down to eventual champions Real Madrid in a tightly fought series. 

With their short-term future in doubt, we may not see Partizan on this list for some time, but it’s certainly been a couple of years worth remembering for the team’s fans.

Fun fact: Parizan’s Štark Arena (which they share with Crvena Zvezda) is the biggest in the EuroLeague with a capacity of 20,094 spectators.

8. Maccabi Tel Aviv

european basketball teams

Photo Lorenzo Brown Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Tel Aviv Winner League finals game Source:

Maccabi is the most successful team in Israel with an incredible 56 domestic titles during its illustrious history (second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv has just five). 

Their form over the past few years has been solid, with consecutive play-offs followed by entry into the first-ever play-in in 2024. 

Their play has been marked by resilience, with the team’s standout player, Wade Baldwin, being instrumental in their success.  Support from Josh Nebo and Bonzie Colson, who have delivered standout performances throughout the season, has also helped their performances.

Known for their fast-paced style of play, Maccabi Tel Aviv has been a good watch and deserves its place on this list.

Fun fact: Nikola Vujcic is the only player to have scored a triple-double twice in the same EuroLeague game.

7. Panathinaikos Athens

Photo Panathinaikos vs Alba-Berlin Source:

Panathinaikos made a dramatic improvement in 2023-24 following the appointment of Anadolou coach Ergin Ataman.

Frenchman Mathias Lessort was the driving force behind the team’s runners-up spot as the team showed signs of cohesion with their new coach’s ideas. 

The team’s nine wins on the road in 23-24 set a new club record, which has Panathinaikos fans dreaming of a new era of success.

Fun fact: Mike James, who has turned out for Panathinaikos in two spells, has the highest average points per game (16.45)

6. Fenerbahce Beko

Photo source:

Fenerbahce has bounced back strongly from missing out on the play-offs in 2022 by qualifying for the knock-outs in successive years. 

2024, in particular, has been a strong 2024 EuroLeague season. They boast the best home scoring average in the league, led by sharpshooter Tyler Dorsey and Nigel Hayes-Davis. 

Coach Jasikevicius has done a great job in keeping the Turkish giants up with the cream of Europe since the pandemic.

Fun fact: Nando de Colo, with Fenerbahce until 2022, has the highest average Performance Index Rating (PIR) with a 17.18 score.

5. Anadolou Efes Istanbul

best european basketball teams

Photo: Anadolu Efes vs Partizan Euroleague 2023 Source:

Anadolu Efes has not just cemented its status as a basketball powerhouse but has emerged as a beacon of Turkish sports excellence since 2021. 

Capturing the EuroLeague basketball championship not once but twice in consecutive seasons – 2020-21 and 2021-22 – they’ve succeeded in giving the European heavyweights a bloody nose. 

Performance levels have dipped since with the team missing out on the playoffs two seasons in a row, but their historic achievements coupled with strong domestic regular seasons means they still deserve to be placed among Europe’s elite.

Fun fact: Anadolu player Shane Larkin scored an incredible 49 points in the team’s 109-86 victory against Bayern in 2019, a record for the EuroLeague in its current format.

4. Monaco

Photo: Monaco Eli Okobo, Mike James and Donatas Motiejunas Source: EuroLeague Basketball

Monaco’s rise in the EuroLeague has been meteoric. From EuroCup champions to Final Four contenders in two seasons, they’ve defied expectations. 

Coach Obradovic took over mid-season 2021 and led them to a playoff series win, while they secured home-court advantage in 2023 and ultimately a thrilling Game 5 victory to reach the Final Four for the first time ever, beating FCB to third place.

The team is built around ambition and the will to win. Their aim must surely be to continue surprising everyone.

Fun Fact: Monaco became the first French club in 26 years to reach the Final Four in 2023 and only the third-ever, after Limoges and ASVEL.

3. Olympiacos

Photo: Olympiacos Kostas PapanikolaouSource:

Greek champions Olympiacos have been steadily improving under Georgios Bartzokas, building on a fourth-placed finish in 2022 to push Real Madrid all the way in a thrilling final a year later. 

The team’s unique style, a blend of stifling defense and explosive offense, is a crowd-pleaser that is also extremely successful. The squad plays with fire in their bellies and if they keep it up, despite the loss of MVP Sasha Vezenkov, then they’ll stay near the top of the rankings for some time.

Fun fact: Former player Vassilis Spanoulis has played the most minutes in the competition’s history with 9,379 to his name.

2. FC Barcelona

the best basketball team in europe

Photo: Tomas Satoransky, Jan Vesely, Laprovittola, Nikola Mirotic, Kalinic Source:

Alongside its soccer team, FC Barcelona Bàsquet is a global superpower that has been the starting point for superstar NBA players Juan Carlos Navarro, Ricky Rubio, and the Gasol brothers. 

The team’s strong EuroLeague showings since 2021 put it in a firm second place in the rankings, although there has been plenty of heartbreak along the way. Both 2022 and 2023 saw them crash out to bitter rivals Real Madrid (although they did recover to win third place on both occasions), while they slipped to defeat in the ‘21 final vs Anadolu Efes. 

The team has shown plenty of character under Coach Grimau, however, so the best of them may be yet to come.

Fun fact: Barcelona still boast the best season record of 20-2, which they recorded in 2009-2010.

1. Real Madrid 

    the best basketball team in europe

    Photo: Tavares, Campazzo, Yabusele, Llull, Real Madrid Baloncesto 2023-2024 acb Source: M Jimenez

    The famous name of Real Madrid transcends sports. 

    Its two teams sit on top of the European soccer and basketball rankings with a record number of UEFA Champions League and Euroleague titles respectively.

    In basketball, Real Madrid is well ahead of second-placed Russia’s CSKA Moscow in terms of all-time Euroleague wins and they show no signs of slowing with the likes of Guerschon Yabusele and Facundo Campazzo ranking high on the Performance Index Rating in 2024. 

    The question remains, though: can they retain their status as the best basketball team in Europe toward 2030, or will a new European superpower emerge?

    Fun fact: Aside from all their titles, Madrid also smashed the league’s points in the one-game record when they notched up 130 vs Anadolu in 2024.

    So, there we have it, a comprehensive guide to the top European basketball teams currently making waves across the continent. 

    If you’re a basketball fan looking to expand your horizons beyond the NBA, then Europe’s elite teams offer a compelling alternative with their own unique brand of exciting basketball. 

    Ready to fast-track your game development at an affordable price? Contact EPB right now to find out how our basketball training camp will help you go pro.