2020-21 DBL Season Preview
2 oktober 2020
The coronavirus has changed everything, and it’s been a long 7 months since the DBL season was cancelled. But finally, we’re back. And in spite of the economic recession the globe has seen, 12 teams will be taking the court this season to compete for the right to hold up the DBL Trophy at season’s end. So what should we expect this year?
I’m just impressed by how quickly Almere was able to get a team secured. When the Pioneers’ board backed out it looked like the bid for Almere was finished. But thanks to a partnership with Almere City FC and a bunch of sponsors, Almere has become one of three expansion teams to join the DBL this season. They’re not going to be good, the fact they got a team together in a first place is a victory enough for this season. They’ll be an organization to keep an eye on for the future, but I expect them to be at the bottom for this year.
A rollercoaster doesn’t even begin to describe Apollo’s offseason. They went from declaring themselves unable to compete for this year, then attempted crowdfunding, got sponsors, looked like they would be just short, but then got just enough for a team this year. Much like Almere, the fact they’re here is incredible, and is a victory just in and of itself. Other than Floris Versteeg returning from injury and what will be Sergio De Randamie’s last season, there won’t be much to look forward to for fans of Apollo. But much like Almere, it’s just great to see the club in the DBL this season.
Don’t expect much Friesland, Aris is still going to be mediocre. Ferried Naciri has yet to impress me as a coach and based off the preseason I’m not expecting that to change. If Aris is to make steps to compete for the 6th spot in Elite A they need to improve the defense. The talent is there, but will the scheme be? Personally I doubt it, but I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.
Basketball Academie Limburg
This team will be one to keep an eye on. I don’t know if they’ll make it to Elite A but BAL has really been taking massive leaps year by year to become more competitive, last year showing flashes of potential. There’s something to be said about building your team around young Prospects, much like a college team in the United States. How far they’ll go is to be decided, but BAL has certainly shown how a smaller club can thrive in the DBL. Varagic has always been known as a great developer of youth talent and with the prospects they’ve brought in this year, I expect they’ll make great strides, especially in the second half of the season.
Den Helder Suns
I really want this team to be good. They made a lot of intriguing moves and have shown to be a very competitive team in the preseason. I think they can be a team that will compete for the 5th or 6th spot in Elite A. Bringing in an import like Bolden Brace should help, and of course they still feature intriguing youth like Boyd Van der Vuurst de Vries. If their chemistry can mesh early I think they’ll have a great shot at getting to a hot start.
A sleeping giant has been awoken. Despite the disappointment of missing the Champions League again Donar looks to be as formidable as ever. With Erik Braal out they brought in Croatian Ivan Rudez who was last with Karlsruhe Lions in Germany. How well Rudez can implement his system was always going to be key for Donar and so far it looks like the player fit into the system like a hand in a glove. They’ve really performed well in preseason play. They’ve beaten Bakken Bears, split a preseason series with Belfius Mons-Hainaut, and made it to the finals of their bracket in Champions League Qualifying, dominating Dhinpo before falling narrowly to Keravnos. Reclaiming the title will be the goal this year, Groningen won’t be too happy if they fall short again.
So what’s the goal with this team? You brought in some great talent last year, a big name coach like Toon van Helfteren, looked like you could challenge Donar (hell you beat them twice last year) only to start slumping due to injuries. Now the roster is thinner. Even with bringing in a talent like Mo Kherrazi at the last second, I just don’t expect you’ll be replicating last season at all. But who knows? Maybe my Ajax bias is showing.
Heroes Den Bosch
The Championship drought might finally be ending for Heroes. After several years of playoff disappointment and not making it past the semifinals, the club has assembled a team that is very reasonably expected to challenge Donar. Although losing Jalen Nesbitt was unfortunate, they still have a dynamic guard duo in Jacori Payne and Miha Lapornik. Demario Mayfield should be a good scoring wing, and of course they have great size down below. I expect this team to be a very fun one to watch, and it will need to achieve its potential in order to keep Coach Jaumin off the hot seat. Otherwise, I think a coaching change is very plausible for Heroes.
The defending champs have a second chance to repeat. They were off to an impressive season before Covid, a league best 17-3 and making it to the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup for the first time in club history. It was very likely they would repeat as champs. But now with Mohammed Kherrazi and Dorsey-Walker gone, Landstede has had to shake up the roster a little bit. Mike Schilder and the Van Oostrum brothers remain, but now have brought in imports like Jhonathan Dunn and Yasiin Joseph. As long as Herman Van Den Belt is coach, they will remain competitive and more than likely stay close to the top. But with the additions Donar and Heroes have made to try and compete, the path to repeating is looking to be a tough road.
The Hague Royals
Much like Almere and Apollo I’m just glad The Hague was able to secure funding and make their DBL dream a reality. This team won’t be good either, but for these new teams just making it to the league is an incredible victory. Good luck Royals, I at least think you’ll be better than Almere this year.
I hate this name. I understand the sponsorship but I dislike the name regardless. Name aside though Gelderland basketball fans have a lot to look forward to with this team. They really have the best shot of being the best expansion team this year. Are they gonna make Elite A? Hell no, but they should be competitive for the 8th playoff spot. And hey if Shane Hammink stays around all season, all the better!
My how you’ve fallen. Leiden will be a top 5 team probably because they have the money, but honestly I just don’t see them making it past the first round. I hope they can prove me wrong. Please prove me wrong.
Elite A Predictions
For me the top 3 spots are no question with Donar, Heroes, and Hammers. The real question is who will have the last 3 spots in Elite A. But ultimately I’m going with Feyenoord, Leiden, and then BAL rounding out the top group. But with 22 games before then, it’s going to be a fun next few months.