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Dutch Basketball League (DBL) Odds

Who wins the Dutch Basketball League (DBL) 2017/2018?

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Basketball in Netherlands dates all the way back to 1945, with the first season started immediately after the end of WW2. Since 1960, the national league’s name has been changed to Eredivisie, and it has stayed that way until 2010/11 season, when the name has changed to DBL (Dutch Basketball League). In 1977/78 season, Playoffs were introduced for the first time, as national basketball started to get stronger.

The Dutch had a strong basketball organization and basketball school at the period, and in 1977 EuroBasket, it was Kees Akerboom, Dutch national team player, that got scoring title. The 80s were the absolute pinnacle of Netherlands basketball, with national team finishing fourth in 1983 EuroBasket in France, and qualifying for 1986 World Cup in Spain, finishing 14th.

However, 1989 was the last EuroBasket for Dutch for a long time. In fact, in 2012, the national basketball federation dissolved the basketball team, due to lack of interest of the public and national league’s teams unwilling to help the team financially. The team missed next 13 competitions after 1989, and came back on the big stage in 2015 tournament.

Dutch basketball league managed to survive all the bad periods for national basketball. The league managed to attract fans and media attention by bringing former NBA players and American college players in the league. While the league allows the teams only four players in the roster with non-Dutch passport, it was enough for the teams to raise the quality of the league and survive difficult times for basketball.

The Americans raised up the quality of the league a lot. In fact, in the last 43 years, since 1974/75 season, American players have won MVP honor on 33 occasions, with Dutch winning 10 in the same period. And some of the Dutch players had NBA careers, with Rik Smits leading the way. Francisco Elson is the only Dutch player with the NBA ring (Spurs, 2007).

National league in Netherlands changed its structure a lot throughout the history. The league had 20 different champions so far, which is great amount of variety for a small league. Five of eight teams that participate in the league now were national champions at one point. Also, since the 2000, there have been five different champions, which is something not typical even for the biggest basketball leagues in Europe.

Prior to 2003/04 season, the league was organized by teams divided into two groups. After regular season, four best teams from both groups were heading into playoffs, and the team with overall worst record was relegated in second league.

After 2003/04 season, the league applied closed system, with no relegation. The conditions for participating in the league are financial stability and potential. This secured strong, stable league with more competition. The number of teams participating was constantly changing, varying from eight to eleven.

Since 2014/15 season, there have been eight teams in the league. Two teams with best regular season record qualify directly to playoff semifinals, teams placed from 2-6 spot are playing quarterfinal matches, and the last two teams skip the playoffs for that season.

As mentioned before, in the last 17 seasons there have been five different teams as league champions. 21st century started with Amsterdam Basketball domination, with four consecutive titles. The coach of the team was Ton Boot, recognized as the best Dutch basketball coach of all time, with 14 national league titles.

It was precisely Boot that started emergence of Donar Groningen in mid-2000s, with their first title after 20 years in 2003/04 season, and with Boot as the main coach. Since then, the league witnessed repeat titles from Den Bosch and again Amsterdam. Since 2009/10 season, three teams were interchanging at the league’s throne. BS Leiden and Den Bosch won on two occasions, and the defending champions Donar made it four times in the last seven seasons.

While, judging by the last year appearances, Donar remains the main candidate to defend the title for 2017/18 season and become the first team since Amsterdam in early 2000s to win three consecutive titles, there are a couple of other teams that can enter the mix. So let’s see who has the chance to win the 2017/18 Dutch basketball championship.

1.     Donar

The most popular basketball team in Netherlands is a two time defending champion. In the last four seasons, Donar won the league three times and were runner-up once. The team also competed in FIBA Europe Cup last two seasons.

Donar has the largest fan base in the league, and the biggest arena (4,350 seats), which is regularly sold out during playoffs. The team started its rise to the top with Ton Boot taking the head coach spot in 2003/04 season, immediately bringing the title to the club, and establishing the team as the relevant force in national championship.

After experimenting with coaches and only to titles over the eight years, Eric Braal was established as the main coach in 2015/16 season, and brought the team two consecutive league titles and one cup and supercup title along. 

Today, Donar is the dominant force in the league, as they finished 2016/17 regular season with 26-2 record, and went 8-1 in playoffs. They led the league in points (83.2 per game), assists (21.7), steals (9.8), blocks (3.5), field goal (49.9%), three point (35.9%) and free throw percentage (72.7%), while committing least turnovers (13.7) and personal fouls per game (16).

Lance Jeter is a dominant player in the league over the past couple of years, as he was regular season MVP last season, and playoffs MVP a year before. This season he led the league in assists with 6 per game, while averaging also 13.4 points and shooting 47.8% from the field and great 41.6% for three points. Jeter along with another USA player, Chase Fieler makes the most dangerous duo in the league, with Fieler named playoffs MVP for the last season.

With these two players as the core of the team, along with other quality players like Jason Dourisseau and Drago Pasalic, and with Eric Braal remaining the head coach for the third straight year and two consecutive titles, Donar is without any doubt the main candidate to win third title in a row.

2.     B.S. Leiden

Although they finished Playoffs in semifinals with 4-3 defeat in the series against Landstede, Leiden is a basketball club with great tradition and success in past couple of decades, and that is the reason why they should be given slight advantage to other teams.

Laiden’s last league title came in 2012/13 season, but they managed to reach playoff semifinals in each of the previous four seasons, finishing last campaign with 19-9 record, third overall in the league.

What could give Leiden slight advantage over Landstede in the next season could be the fact that they managed to display performances very similar to Lanstade’s result, but with less USA players in the roster. In fact, only one American player played integral part in Laiden’s team last season, team’s leading scorer Daviyon Draper.

So it could be expected that, if they manage to add one or two USA players, Laiden become more competitive and improve their performance next season. This is why thay could have that edge over the other teams bellow, and it comes with champion pedigree that team possess.

3.       Landstede 

It could be very possible that this team continue to improve next season. Landstede finished second only to Donar last season, with overall record 20-8 in the regular season. They defeated Leiden in playoff semifinals 4-3, and were no match to Donar in the finals.

What gives this club advantage is an established system. Head coach Herman van den Belt is entering his eight season with the team, and he is the coach with the longest tenure in the league. This stability gives security to players and new arrivals, and Landstede could land good additions in USA players. In fact, two players from this team (J.T. Tiller and Clayton Vette) were members of All-DBL team for the last season, with three remaining players coming from Donar.

However, what places this club in slight disadvantage comparing to Laiden is lack of championship experience. Landstede was never a champion of the league, as they failed to win the title in their previous three final appearances, two of them in the last two seasons.

4.     Den Bosch

The most decorated basketball club in Netherland has been struggling in the last two seasons. With 16 league titles, Den Bosch is the most successful club in the league, and the last title came in 2014/15 season.

But over the last two years, team faced a lot of problems with performances, and finished last campaign with 14-14 overall record, which is the first time in a very long period that the team didn’t have overall positive record.

They finished playoffs in semifinals with 4-0 defeat against champions Donar, and looking forward it could take some time before Den Bosch comes back on the top. But with their tradition and championship pedigree, no one can underestimate them and it can be possible next season that improve their game and enter the title chase.