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David Pick - Teil 39

There's a saying I've heard countless times in my 32-years of existence: "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." But there's a continuation as well: "Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you'd lose it."

My life, well 97% of it, because the other 3% is split between my wife Sharon, my five-year-old son Liam, and my two-year-old daughter Aria, is #BALLISLIFE. I sleep with a basketball by my bed, but honestly that's just because I have no where around the house to put it, and my wife goes nuts when the kids throw it around the living room, knocking over photos, lamps and other random items.

I can appreciate how much the 2019-2020 season reup in Germany, Spain and Israel meant to so many people. How much the NBA bubble is a lifeline to millions around the world. I see an encouraging turning point for fans in Poland, the VTB League, Germany, Spain, and the ABA regarding fans access. The FIBA Champions League Tournament in Athens at the OAKA Arena was set to host roughly 9,000 fans, according to various media reports (I'm not media anymore so I can't confirm this report), but I heard that might be revoked due to a potential spike in COVID cases in Athens.

Re: Israel, excuse my language, the situation is SHIT. Our country is on lockdown for three weeks - no schools, child daycares, malls, hotels, bars, minimizing public transportation, and shutting down all social gatherings. There's been a serious spike in COVID cases, so much that I had to quarantine my entire family for 14 days because another kid in my son's daycare tested positive to COVID. My mother also tested positive to COVID on September 14, so we are unable to come together as a family these next few weeks to celebrate the Jewish holidays.

The government, however, has permitted soccer and basketball to continue to prepare for the upcoming season. It's the only thing that keeps us going mentally engaged here.

Quick transition. Enough depressing COVID talk. Let’s digest some of the German ballers overseas ahead of the 2020-21 season.


ROBIN BENZING (2.08, 31, Zaragoza)

QUICK STATS: Zaragoza, ACB: 10.7ppg, 2.1rpg

EVALUATION: It’s safe to say that RB found himself a home away from home. RB is entering his fourth season with Zaragoza, and his second straight of two seperate tenures. It’s a great confidence boost for him going forward, and I’ve watched some preseason film and thus far he looks really good. RB played an instrumental role in Zaragoza’s Cinderella run during the 2019-2020 regular season finishing 3rd in the ACB (16-7) before COVID. The challenge I want to see them overcome - much like MIL and IND in the NBA, after being a great Regular Season team, is bringing that same success to the postseason. During the 2019-20 reup in Spain, Zaragoza were terrible, and finished LAST in Group B with a 1-4 record, behind all the teams they topped throughout the season: Valencia, Burgos, Gran Canaria and Andorra.


DANILO BARTHEL (2.08, 28, Fenerbahce)

QUICK STATS:2019-2020: Bayern München: BBL: 11.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.0apg. Euroleague: 7.9ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg

EVALUATION: I raised an eyebrow (or both) when Fenerbahce acquired DB. No knock on the former MVP of the BBL Finals, but Igor Kokoshkov isn’t looking to compete vs the ALBA Berlins or Bambergs of the world. Rather the Real Madrids, CSKAs and Barcelonas of Europe, and most importantly, crosstown Istanbul rival Anadolu Efes. IMHO, Fenerbahce built a poor team without enough shooters, and to strengthen this argument - they scored just 60 points vs Karsiyaka in a preseason run. While DB shot 43% from beyond the arc in the BBL, he dropped to 31% in the Euroleague. That is a loooong way from Gigi Datome’s 45-50%. I think DB is in a win-win situation, because if he doesn’t prove himself, he is headed back to the BBL. If he  surprises, he can stay at the top level. Let’s be honest, I don’t think many people saw Daniel Theis become the only notable center for the Eastern Conference NBA Finalists.


ISMET AKPINAR(1.93, 25, Bahcesehir)

QUICK STATS:2019-2020: Besiktas: BSL: 10.9ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.3apg. BCL: 8ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg. Bayern München (COVID-19): BBL: 3ppg, 1.5apg

EVALUATION: Akpinar is still before his prime and developing a great resume after EuroCup stints with ALBA and Ulm. Although he had good numbers in the Champions League with Besiktas, he is back in the EuroCup with Bahcesehir. Ismet will be good this season and I hope he can cement himself as a German talent in the Euroleague in the future, because his COVID tenure with Bayern Munich was disappointing.


JOHANNES VOIGTMANN (2.11, 28, CSKA)

QUICK STATS:2019-2020: CSKA: Euroleague: 7.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg. VTB: 8.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.8apg

EVALUATION: CSKA Moscow has unofficially become mini-Baskonia. Check out the roster:

JV, DARRUN HILLIARD and TORNIKE SHENGELIA - that’s Baskonia right? While JV's rookie season in Moscow hadn't gone as planned, the Russian's opted to bring in NIKOLA MILUTINOV at the 5, and TOKO at the 4, on top of SEMEN ANTONOV and a rehabbing WILL CLYBURN. JV will likely forever be a Euroleague talent because of his size and abilities to stretch the floor, but it’s getting crowded at his position, and I’m not sure if CSKA vision him being there longterm.


TIBOR PLEISS (2.17, 30, Anadolu Efes)

QUICK STATS:2019-2020: Anadolu Efes: Euroleague: 9.5ppg, 4.3rpg, FT: 92.6%; Turkish BSL: 11.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 3PT: 42.9%

EVALUATION:Pleiss is in a great place with his club. After signing a 1+1 deal in 2018, Efes has since picked up their option on Pleiss and rewarded him with a new contract. Pleiss' numbers have been fantastic for a big off the bench, and with Ergin Ataman rolling with the same players and system into the 2020-21 season, I have high expectations for Pleiss to continue to be phenomenal for the Turks.


MAIK ZIRBES (2.08, 30 - United Arab Emirates)

QUICK STATS: 2019-2020: Cedevita Zagreb: Adriatic League: 5.8ppg, 3.1rpg. Eurocup: 4.2ppg, 3.9rpg

EVALUATION: There are a lot of comparisons between MZ and John Bryant. Both developed in the BBL, both played for mediocre Euroleague (Bayern Munich & Red Star Belgrade) clubs before making the big jump to Maccabi/Valencia, and both froze under pressure and got cut. The Q for MK is where does his career move from here? When JB hit a career-block, he looked to revive his love for the game and joined Giessen, doing well over the last three seasons. For MZ, other than making a quick check, there's no logical reason to bolt to UAE for Shabab Al Dubai. Zirbes should’ve been at the PEAK of his career. I think he should've taken a route similar to JB’s and return to a smaller BBL club, surround himself with loved ones, and become a dominant force again for a smaller team with no pressure to enjoy the game. There’s no upside going to the Middle East. The basketball there is terrible, no one in Europe cares for those leagues.




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