If at the beginning of the season somebody told you that after 10 rounds Maccabi will be 6th with a 5-5 record and wins against Fenerbahce at home and Olympiacos away while Bamberg has hit rock bottom in the standings table with a 2-8 record and devastating performances in the last seconds of most games, chances are you wouldn’t go all-in with such a prediction.
I wouldn’t either. For one, if I had to make a bet involving Tel Aviv and Bamberg with the positions 6 and 16 I would most probably go for Andrea Trinchieri’s side to be 6th and Erez Edelshtein’s and Rami Hadar’s one to be last. However, it seems like the Italian coach has failed to inspire his players that they can do it in the end and, it also seems like the players of Rami Hadar enjoy playing for him much more than they did for their previous coach.
But the (regular) season is still young. Maybe not baby-young but 20 more games are certainly enough for things to be turned around. And at the beginning of these two last thirds of if these two teams that have surprised us, each in its own away, are facing each other: Maccabi wants to maintain its status as a team that’s a favourite for Top8 qualification and Brose wants to, well, start winning some games maybe?
The situation in Tel Aviv
Maccabi stunned Fenerbahce with an explosive performance from Sony Weems, avoided a “bad loss” against Unics Kazan – not failing victim to Keith Langford, and continued by also stunning Olympiacos – in Piraeus! – with its players making all the big shots and executing perfectly all the key plays they had to. Last week saw another defeat for them, against Efes, but it wasn’t in a game that we could somehow consider “must-win”. Playing with the last team in the standings, however, creates such a situation. Offensively, Maccabi is a better team than Bamberg and slightly worse defensively but they are certainly a better team athleticism-wise. There is going to be a lot of space for Andrew Goudelock, Sonny Weems, Victor Rudd, DJ Seeley and Devin Smith to operate while all Bamberg has to demonstrate on this field is the likes of Elias Harris and Darius Miller. Not two players to be discarded but quite possibly not enough to win this battle for their team.
What’s going on in Andrea’s head
Brose is Dr Jekyll in Germany and Mr Hyde in Europe: 12-0 in BBL but 2-6 in EuroLeague. If they lose tomorrow it will be their 6th straight loss in the competition and as much as Trinchieri’s position might not be under any threat considering they still haven’t played Efes, Real Madrid and Olympiacos BC a loss tomorrow will most probably mean they will have to start preparing their goodbyes to Top8. For that not to happen there is some pretty fundamental things that need to be done:
It always comes to this Bamberg's timeout. Like Sisyphus #BROCSK
— CourtSide Diaries (@courtside_drs) December 1, 2016
Coach Trinchieri needs to find the right language to use so his players understand what they should do in the last possession. It’s hard to imagine that he is giving his players wrong orders about how to execute their last play:
- There was really no play performed in the last possession against Fenerbahce in Round 1 as Stelnieks carried the ball, passed to Zisis after a simple screen who then desperately-passed to Melli after another weak screen, sort of.
- Bamberg went scoreless for more than 3 minutes in Round 3’s game against Panathinaikos allowing “the Greens” to come back from a 10-point deficit, then allowed Nick Calathes to grab an offensive rebound and put his team ahead and finally only went for a mid-range shot from Miller after a time-out.
- They seemed afraid of attacking the basket in the last possession against Darussafaka even if Adrien Moerman did everything wrong for his team’s defense, fouling at just the worst times. Eventually Melli attempted a destined-to-fail shot that he missed.
- Brose’s choice for the last play against Crvena Zvezda was a me-against-the-world drive from Darius Miller that only resulted to Trinchieri (with every right, for everything to be said) being furious at the referees for not calling a foul.
And it’s difficult to believe that a coach with such a modern perspective of the game has instructed his players to perform like that. Surely, Wanamaker’s absence has proven to be a big deal for the German side but it’s not like they are losing games because they can’t win them: They just can’t seal them. And while one could argue that they need a leader, Bamberg has been doing the whole drive up to these moments as a team of individuals rather than as a group of people around a “go-to” man so they must learn how to win games as such a group and in that way.