Assessing the Prospects of Five Germans in the NBA Playoffs: Expert Insights

Five Germans are starting the NBA playoffs this weekend. Expert Alex Vogel assesses the quintet’s prospects in an interview with our editorial team. For one, the title is even realistically included.

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The last time a German won the NBA title, Sebastian Vettel became Formula 1 world champion for the second time. In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund won the title, and FC Schalke 04 won the DFB Cup. That was in 2011.

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No question: It’s been a while since Dirk Nowitzki won the finals of the North American professional basketball league with the Dallas Mavericks. The playoffs of the current season start on Saturday, and the eight best teams in the Eastern and Western Conference will determine the new champion in several rounds until June.

Defending champions Denver Nuggets are among the favorites, but the Boston Celtics, the best team of the regular season, can also have legitimate hopes. The Los Angeles Clippers around Daniel Theis and the Dallas Mavericks around Maxi Kleber are also highly traded. A total of five Germans made it into the playoffs. NBA expert Alex Vogel assesses the quintet’s season and playoff chances in an interview with our editorial team.

Daniel Theis (Center, Los Angeles Clippers) – Opponent: Dallas Mavericks

How did the season go for them? Clippers?

The Clippers finished fourth in the Western Conference and finished with 51 wins and 31 losses. “The Clippers played a very, very good December and January; in this phase they were an absolute top team in the NBA. But overall they are too inconsistent and even a question mark for their own fans,” says Vogel.

How did the season go for Theis?

He went from the Indiana Pacers to the Clippers during the season. Things are going much better for him there and he plays a really big role. “He played his part in the success. He is a very good role player who can fit in very well alongside stars. He played an average of 16 minutes and has always delivered really good performances, he is an important part of the team Rotation. However, he is a free agent after the season and has an exciting summer ahead of him.”

What’s in them? Playoffs?

The team remains a surprise bag, Vogel believes: “Everything is possible for the Clippers, from the first round to the finals. Because the potential is incredible due to the star power,” says the expert. But a crash is also possible if, as in the last few weeks, no identity can be recognized, says Vogel: “There are injuries, problems, and the distribution of roles is perhaps not as strong as one imagined. So anything is possible .”

Franz Wagner (Small Forward, Orlando Magic) and Moritz Wagner (Center, Orlando Magic) – Opponent: Cleveland Cavaliers

How did the season go for the Magic?

Very good. The playoffs weren’t actually expected, but thanks to world champions Franz and Moritz Wagner, the post season worked out, finishing fifth in the East (47 wins, 35 defeats). “They had a strong start, a small hole and then they recovered impressively and went on a good run. The bottom line is it’s a great season, they are the third strongest defensive team in the league. A very young team, a very exciting team “It will be interesting to see how they deal with their inexperience in the playoffs,” says Vogel.

How did the season go for the Wagner brothers?

“Mo Wagner usually brings a lot of energy from the bench, he has had a really good season,” explains Vogel. This also applies to his brother Franz, who averages 19.7 points per game, making him the best German scorer in the NBA and a top performer for the Magic. “He had a bit of trouble after his injury. He didn’t hit the three-pointer well, but he’s still well on his way to becoming an All-Star,” says the NBA expert.

What’s in them? Playoffs?

Vogel: “They definitely have a good chance in the first round with the Cavaliers. But overall, definitely no more than the second round, because it would be against Boston.” The Celtics are the best team in the regular season and a hot contender for the title.

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Isaiah Hartenstein (Center, New York Knicks) – Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers

How did the season go for the Knicks?

The Knicks had a strong regular season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference with 50 wins and 32 losses. There was no slump, but impressive stability, despite major injury problems.

How did the season go for Hartenstein?

Also strong, he has 25 minutes of playing time and 7.8 points per game. “He’s an incredible competitor, so he’s a perfect fit for coach Tom Thibodeau. The injury to Mitchell Robinson gave him more minutes, and he did it well. He’s a worker, a good rebounder, who’s developing defensively “It’s already been a very good season for him offensively,” says Vogel.

What’s in them? Playoffs?

“It will be very difficult to beat Philadelphia in the first round without Julius Randle. But the team is full of incredible competitors and has a valid MVP candidate in Jalen Brunson as its leader. Plus there are incredible fans in Madison Square Garden “There are always surprises,” says Vogel.

Maxi Kleber (Power Forward, Dallas Mavericks) – Opponent: Los Angeles Clippers

How did the season go for the Mavericks?

Very good, 50 wins compared to 32 defeats, which brought Dirk Nowitzki’s former team fifth place in the West. “The Mavs are going into the playoffs as one of the strongest teams in form. Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic work together excellently. They have become significantly stronger defensively through clever trades and offensively there are few teams that have so much quality at the top,” says Vogel.

How did the season go for Glue?

He averages a good 20 minutes of playing time and 4.4 points per game. The 32-year-old once again had to struggle with injury problems. “He is still incredibly important for the Mavs. He understands the game, you can’t let him go on the three-point line. He also gives a lot defensively in different ways,” says the expert.

What’s in them? Playoffs?

Vogel sees a wide range of possibilities here too: “Everything is possible for the Mavs, from the first round to the finals.”

Dennis Schröder has to watch

A big German name has to watch from his living room: Dennis Schröder. For the world champion, however, the matter is clear: he also wants to play for the Brooklyn Nets next season. “Of course I want to stay,” he emphasized in the New York Post: “I always want to be there where my work is valued. I’ve felt that here since day one.” In February, Schröder moved from the Toronto Raptors to the “Big Apple”, but with the Nets he clearly missed the playoffs with a 32:50 record.

Schröder played 29 games for the Nets. He was on the floor for an average of 32 minutes, with the 30-year-old averaging 14.6 points and six assists per game. “It was an average season for him,” says Vogel. “At the Nets, he improved his performance after his move, hit the three-pointer very, very well, scored more points, and in the end won the team a few games where you could see his qualities.”

But the bar was higher after the World Cup title last fall, also because Schröder was voted MVP back then. “That wasn’t the season that many German fans were hoping for after the World Cup,” says Vogel.

Schröder still has one year left on his contract, but changes are coming in Brooklyn and a new coach is being sought. So Schröder cannot be completely sure what will happen next for him. “It’s a business, I realize that, and that’s why I don’t take anything personally. I met the owner, his wife and his child and I want to build something here,” he said. Vogel thinks the Nets are a “very good place for Schröder. He can be the leader there in the still young team. And with minor squad changes, the play-ins will also be an issue next year.”

Until then, there will be a lot of playoff basketball played and a new champion crowned. Maybe with German participation – it’s about time again.

About the interlocutor

  • Alex Vogel is the sporting director at the Bundesliga basketball team MLP Academics Heidelberg. In addition, the 32-year-old has been working as a basketball expert for various TV channels for broadcasts of the NBA, EuroLeague, BBL and the national team for years.

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Updated on April 19, 2024, 7:22 a.m

The hot phase in the NBA begins on Saturday. What does the mode look like? How many Germans are there? And who are the favorites? We answer the most important questions before the start of the play-offs.

This is how the editorial team works” informs you when and what we report on, how we deal with errors and where our content comes from. When reporting, we adhere to the guidelines of Journalism Trust Initiative.

2024-04-19 15:14:44
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