One can easily say that both impact players Derrick Williams and Deandre Lansdowne have seen it all in their professional basketball careers as they both belong to the top players in the easyCredit BBL, but their paths have been as completely different as night and day or the NBA and the Czech Republic professional first division. Deandre Lansdowne is a guy that has truly lived the Cinderella basketball life and would warrant making a movie about with a Denzel Washington type actor playing him. Only three years ago he was about as far away from the easyCredit BBL as the Boston Celtics are from a NBA title after their mind boggling pathetic display of basketball in the Milwaukee series. The American had just come off a brilliant Pro B rookie season with Pro B team Herten where he was second in league scoring 22.9ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, 2.6spg, but he hasn´t been the only guy in the past that have dominated the league as two years ago it was a Kameron Taylor or this season a Tucker Haymond, but it is simply not only rare to make the jump form that league to the BBL, but to become the third best scorer in the league is an unbelievable feat, but one that Lansdowne mastered. His amazing rise in the last three years in the Pro A with the Hamburg Towers and the last two years with Braunschweig just shows that there are players off the radar in lower leagues and those talented guys should never lose faith in the process. With nonending hard work and having that healthy self confidence and continued drive to get better has brought him to the level of player he is today. Early in the season he explained why he is where he is today. “I have an obsession of being great. I’m never satisfied with where I am, I always want to keep climbing. I want to continue learning more, getting better, and playing basketball at a high level. But I also never lose sight of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve enjoyed the ride”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. The path of Derrick Williams has been totally different and one where he was never doubted, but was a star already at La Mirada High School and needed only two NCAA years at Arizona where he averaged 19,5ppg,8,3rpg as a sophomore and then prompt was drafted at #2 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then played parts of six NBA seasons totaling 377 games for teams like Minnesota, Sacramento, New York, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers. He put up solid stats and was teammates with guys like Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Dwayne Wade and played against the best players in the world. This playoff series has to be the biggest challenge and most enjoyable for a guy like Lansdowne while for Williams it will be just another day at the office and not rate anywhere as big as what he saw in the NBA. The FC Bayern Munich-Braunschweig series has that David vs Goliath effect, but so does the Lansdowne-Williams careers.
Despite some turbulence during the end of last season with the coaching change, FC Bayern Munich came together and won the BBL title and this season cruised through the BBL regular season to a commendable 31-3 record. Their two sore spots in the season was getting ousted in the cup competition and not getting farther in the Euroleague competition. In the BBL the club didn´t suffer their first loss until Valentines Day losing a bitter 83-82 contest in Oldenburg after winning their first 20 games. After a non spectacular 91-80 win at home against the floundering Eisbaeren of Bremerhaven, they prompt suffered their second loss in three games on the road against Cinderella team Rasta Vechta. They then closed out the regular season winning 11 of their last 12 and go into the playoffs having lost in Bonn 102-98. The team is without a doubt the best team in the league with the best players and deepest and most versatile bench. They may of only had the fourth best offense that averaged 88 points per game, but glittered on defense allowing the fewest points in the league at 76. The club have five players that average in double figures and when they need a rest have a second five that could start for any other team. It was amazing to see the kind of quality the team had on the bench, but only normal for a team with the highest budget. The potent offensive attack starts at the guard position with top pick and role player Stefan Jovic(6,4ppg,4,4apg), speedy Maodo Lo(7,1ppg,2,8apg) versatile Braydon Hobbs(6,0ppg,2,4apg) in only 13 minutes per game and a guy who should have had more minutes and sharp shooter Petteri Koponen(8,9ppg,40%3pt). At the forward position Danilo Barthel(12,1ppg,4,6rpg,2,5apg,44%3pt) has become the best German forward playing in the BBL, versatile Vladimir Lucic(10,3ppg, 4,0rpg, 45%3pt), the energy machine and sniper Nihad Djedovic(12,4ppg,3,0rpg 45% 3pt) and ex NBA player Derrick Williams(12,0ppg,3,4rpg,45% 3pt). Devin Booker(10,0ppg,3,4rpg) who played only 15 games due to injury and experienced Leon Radosevic(5,9ppg,2,2rpg) round out the center position. All in all so much fire power scoring 80 points or more in 32 games, and three point accuracy shooting 41% as a team and but also that willingness to defend with heart and passion as they gave up 70 points or less seven times. The club simply has all the ingredients to defend their BBL title with their amazing athleticism, length in the back court and can at anytime dominate little teams like Vechta with their inside game or demoralize big teams with their quickness.
For the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig just reaching the playoffs has been an amazing accomplishment. Just 48 hours before the start of the playoffs the hope wasn´t great to get there, but it was there. The small miracle happened due to beating the Fraport Skyliners at home with a big second half and a crushing 100-85 win against medi Bayreuth slipping into the playoffs with a respectable 17-17 record. However at first the playoffs looked like a serious reach as a few days before Halloween 2018, the team was 0-5 and reeling to find that first win. They finally found out of their seemingly growing hole rattling off 9 wins in 10 games. Everything seemed to work for them in this phase as they defended strongly as a team kept three teams under 70 points, won a 100-99 nail bitter against Ludwigsburg and surprisingly did the impossible beating Bamberg and Alba Berlin. But that was the end of their consistent success as they then lost 11 of 17 games, but didn´t always play that bad, but just suffered misfortune. They were the recipients of the short end in six games losing by 6 points or less and lost by three points or less in four games. Their biggest strength is their rebounding as they pulled down 33 a game best in the league and had pretty good team chemistry which helped them win their last two games and secure the playoffs. They have four players that average double figures in scoring. Even if no where in the league it will be like this, but in Braunschweig they have the best center with Scott Eatherton(17,1ppg,9,1rpg,2,2apg) who excels on the pick and role and best guard with Deandre Lansdowne(19,3ppg,3,6rpg,3,8apg) who´s versatile offensive game made him the third best scorer in the league. Austrian national player Thomas Klepeisz´s(10,5ppg,4,7apg,403pt) combination of playmaking and shooting has been instrumental on the offensive execution and German rookie Christian Sengfelder(10,7ppg,5,9apg) has been vital on the boards and with Eatherton getting more space with his lethal outside shot. American Brayon Blake(9,1ppg,4,0rpg) has given the team added scoring expertise and added muscle on the glass while Shaquille Hines(7,4ppg,4,1rpg) has been a defensive enforcer and contributed solidly on offense and American Joe Rahon(6,4ppg,4,6apg) has been that pass first guard that has shown flashes of skill on the offensive end. “Reaching the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for this club and everyone apart of it. No matter who we may play against it’s just a great feeling to be apart of the post-season. We’re the underdogs, we’re just going to go out there and continue trying to play our style. With a high amount of intensity, have fun, and just play basketball”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne.
The question isn´t by how many games FC Bayern Munich will win the series by since a 3-0 sweep is the best bet unless the starting five gets sick and three bench players lose their skills, then Braunschweig could have good chances to win the series. But the question is by how many points will FC Bayern Munich win each game by. FC Bayern Munich had no difficulty sweeping the season series winning each game by an average 16 points. FC Bayern Munich have no real flaws except their rebounding where they were only 17th best in the league grabbing 28 per game. Even if they have an off day shooting, they probably will still shoot better than Braunschweig as they have seven players that are shooting 40% or better from the parking lot. Braunschweig have a lot less options on offense as they live by the pick and roll and aren´t the best three point shooting team in the league. Braunschweig has a solid 7 man rotation, but after that they have many talented Germans that lack the minutes and experience in the playoffs. FC Bayern Munich will sweep this series with ease and be a warmup for their most likely semi-final meeting with Brose Bamberg. Even if Lansdowne pulls a Damien Lillard or Scott Eatherton makes like Anthony Davis and score 40 points apiece, Braunschweig still won´t win. Even if it will be a real big challenge for Braunschweig, Deandre Lansdowne is as optimistic as he can be. “Hopefully the series will be a fun, and full of good basketball, with us coming out on top. But we’ll have to be detailed on defense and be disciplined on offense, we’ll really have to rebound the ball though”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne.