No team is running it back this season the way that ALBA Berlin is. Head coach Israel Gonzalez has 13 of his 15 first team players returning from last season in which the team finished two wins shy of a EuroLeague playoff berth before going on to win its third successive German League crown.
The point guard duties will be shared by Maodo Lo and Tamir Blatt. Lo comes off the best season of his career and, at the prime of his career, could be the most important player on the floor for ALBA. Blatt, the son of EuroLeague-winning head coach David Blatt, was third in the league in assists per minute last season and should continue to set up his teammates nicely this season as the backup point guard. Jaleen Smith will also aid with the ball handling. A former German League MVP, Smith made great strides in the second half of the season, his first in Europe’s premier competition, and more will be expected of him. Marcus Eriksson is one of the premier shooters in the game and a full healthy season from him would go a long way for ALBA. After carving out roles last season, Jonas Mattisseck and Malte Delow are even hungrier and will put more pressure on Coach Gonzalez to juggle his rotation. Swingman Yovel Zoosman, an elite defender who can guard a multitude of positions, also made 44.4% of his three-pointers last season. Rookie Gabriele Procida, one of the top young talents in Italy, signed a multi-year deal over the summer and will be challenged to take on as much as he can handle.