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Who wins the National Basketball League (NBL) 2020/2021?
NBL season 2020/21 - teams to watch
The 2020/21 season of NBL, the top-tier level professional basketball league in the Czech Republic, will start on September 12, 2020. Twelve teams will compete for the title, playing in the round-robin format home and away before splitting into two groups - A1 and A2. Top two teams from the A2 group will then join A1 teams in the play-offs. At the end of the season, the bottom two teams will be relegated directly to the second league.
Even though ERA Nymburk, the most successful team of the past decade, is expected to win their 18th consecutive NBL title next year, the previous season has shown how devastating the current global economic crisis can be for sports clubs. The coronavirus pandemic has affected every part of the NBL value chain, from players and teams, to the media that cover games. Many clubs had to cut their budgets and started their pre-season training with incomplete rosters.
ERA Nymburk is without a doubt the best NBL team today. However, facing the financial crisis, the club's management had to make a series of difficult decisions during the summer break. The club wasn’t able to retain its key players. Both Jaromír Bohačík and Martin Peterka left the team, key American pivot Zach Hankins is gone too. Also, the contract with the current team captain Pavel Pumprla has been terminated and at present, it is not known yet whether he will ever rejoin the team. On the other hand, coach Oren Amiel has signed the contract for next season despite the fact that due to the global pandemic crisis, the club could only offer him a reduced salary compared to last season. Oren's plan is to put together a new team of young creative players, one of whom is the American quarterback Jerrick Harding, who just graduated from Weber State University.
BK Opava, the runner-up of the previous season, was perhaps the only team in NBL with players who could seriously think of challenging invincible reigning champions from ERA Nymburk. Despite the difficult economic situation, the salaries of players and other staff had already returned to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels and according to the club’s director, the team’s budget should be the same in the upcoming season as last year. As for the roster, in addition to the trio of Bujnoch, Dragoun and Bratčenkov, Radim Klečka will also be missing for a relatively long time due to injury and it is possible that he will miss the whole season.
Although Basket Brno finished at the bottom of the table last season, it is still the most successful team in the history of NLB. Despite the difficult conditions, the club managed to attract new co-owners, such as Yedidia Rapaport (co-owner of one of the most famous and largest clubs in Israel) and True Player Group, which is half-owned by the family of David Blatt (former LeBron James coach). With these industry giants supporting the team, many people hope Basket Brno will be able to dethrone ERA Nymburk this season.