BallinEurope is previewing all 18 Euroleague Basketball teams over the next 18 days. Yesterday it was the turn of Bayern Munich. Today we look at their rivals in Germany, it’s Israel Gonzalez and Alba Berlin
Things can only get better. Right? That’s what the song said. There may be some sour tunes played in the Mercedes-Benz Arena this season. Israel Gonzalez and Alba Berlin are in for a painful campaign.
Euroleague record: 11-23
Regular season position: 16th
Basketball Bundesliga record: 31-3
Regular season position: 2nd
Playoffs: Lost first round 3-1 (ratiopharm Ulm)
Other: Lost BBL Pokal semi-final (Bayern)
Luke Sikma (Olympiacos), Tamir Blatt (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Jaleen Smith (Virtus Bologna), Maodo Lo (Olimpia Milano), Yovel Zoosman (Hapoel Jerusalem), Rikus Schulte (Davidson, NCAA), Nils Machowski (UCF, NCAA), Ben Lammers (Gran Canaria), Marcus Eriksson (Fre agent).
Who is new?
Sterling Brown (Raptors 905, G League), Matteo Spagnolo (Trento), Matt Thomas (Panathinaikos), Justin Bean (Memphis Hustle, G League), Kresimir Nikic (Bayreuth), Ziga Samar (Hamburg).
Israel Gonzalez (Coach), Louis Olinde, Chris Koumadje, Jonas Mattisseck, Elias Rapieque, Gabriele Procida, Johannes Thiemann, Yanni Wetzell, Malte Delow, Tim Schneider.
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Need to know
This is not the Alba Berlin we once knew and there are two big reasons for that. Luke Sikma spent 6 seasons at the club and Maodo Lo spent 3 but both had already felt like decade-plus lifers there. It’s not too far to say that the soul of the Alba side that entertained so much in Euroleague Basketball has been ripped out.
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What the bookies think
The sportsbooks are low on Alba Berlin in basketball betting and it’s easy to see why. Their odds of 250/1 are the longest of any team to be named Euroleague Basketball champions. The changes in the off-season have been clearly viewed as a net loss by oddsmakers.
What we think
This is going to be a long season for Alba Berlin and a brutally tough one at that. It’s a city that is easy to love with a team that’s equally likeable. While the city has regular winning teams in ice hockey and volleyball, and Union are rising in football, basketball feels like a natural fit here.
I’d love to say that lots of good things are going to happen with Alba Berlin this season. I just can’t. It’s going to be grim.
On the upside, I genuinely believe there is one considerably worse team in the competition this year. Other than that, it’s hard to see them even getting to double digit wins over the course of the Euroleague Basketball campaign.
Pick: 17th place in the regular season