FC Bayern Munich will have a new look this season after appointing Sasha Djordjevic as its new head coach and signing six new players, including an almost-entirely new frontcourt. The trio of Devin Booker, Ondrej Balvin and Danilo Barthel will give Bayern a group to build around in the paint, while former EuroCup champion Vladimir Lucic can play either forward spot. Small forward Alex King gives Djordjevic an elite three-point shooting option that is much needed with the big men inside. And former All-EuroCup selection Reggie Redding’s versatile game plays up at any perimeter position.
All-around threat Alex Renfroe figures to be Bayern’s floor leader, just as he was last season, but now with Redding alongside him, the team has a taller player in the same selfless mode, which will make Bayern tougher for all opponents. In Anton Gavel the team has a point guard in the more traditional mode. One player certain to benefit from the playmakers is Nihad Djedovic, who could develop into the team’s go-to scorer. Veteran Bryce Taylor’s aggressive game helps him rise to the challenge of stopping the opposition’s best scorers, while contributing in big spots on offense, too. With King on the floor, Bayern could easily spread the floor for its big men to work inside. Young point guard Sebastian Schmitt and teenage swingman Karim Jallow round out the perimeter squad.
The reigning French League MVP, Booker is another versatile piece, who can help Coach Djordjevic devise clever schemes due to his ability to play as an undersized center in a smaller, quicker lineup or as a dominating power forward. There is no mistaking Balvin’s natural position; at 2.17 meters, he protects the rim and disrupts opponents at both ends of the floor. EuroCup newcomer Barthel’s physicality is another reason other teams will be weary of going inside against Bayern. Lucic could prove to be the difference maker for Bayern; an all-around player with experience at the top levels. A break-out season from Lucic could propel Bayern to new heights. Power forward Maxi Kleber took another step forward last season and figures to be a key part of the rotation, while promising teenager Dejan Kovacevic will learn from the talent around him as he awaits his chances.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Nihad Djedovic has been around top flight basketball since his teens, when he debuted for FC Barcelona in October 2007. Over time, he turned promise and potential into results, both strong stats and team victories. As the team’s joint-top scorer in the EuroCup last season despite coming off the bench, who knows how far Bayern might have gotten if Djedovic were healthy for the elimination round games? Djedovic brings an aggressive style that sees him attack the basket or knock down threes. He is not afraid to gamble for steals on defense, so he always has his counterpart on his toes. With Coach Djordjevic’s backing, Djedovic could be in for his best season yet.
With a head coach who led a team to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs last season and a roster that features seven players with past EuroLeague experience, Bayern has the leadership in place to fight for big goals this season. This squad boasts depth, size, speed, versatility and a strong fan base. After reaching the EuroCup eighthfinals two seasons ago and the quarterfinals last season, the stage is set for Bayern to keep climbing and to make history.