25 August, 2023
10 September
44 David Kramer (GER)
to read

How deep and how good are Germany?

OKINAWA (Japan) - Franz Wagner's ankle injury shortened Germany's rotation up front in the ongoing FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The incoming third-year NBA forward had a solid outing with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in their opening day win versus Japan at the Okinawa Arena, but it was in that same game where he got hurt. He has since been on the sidelines, reduced to a spectator.

Also spoiled by the injury was his first team-up with brother Moritz for Germany in a FIBA competition. Already together in the Orlando Magic for two seasons now, they did play alongside each other versus Japan, but they've yet to unleash their full potential together in such a stage.

"It's part of the game, unfortunately," lamented Moe, who signed with Magic last April 2021 - months before his younger brother got drafted eighth overall by the same team.

Doubts began to cloud over Germany when they fell a man short. Coach Gordie Herbert and the rest of the team definitely would love to have Franz competing but so far, they have been winning, big thanks to the 11 other guys more than making up for his absence.

The 2022 EuroBasket bronze medalists are unbeaten through five games. After mauling Japan, they defeated Australia and Finland to clinch the top seed in Group E, then took down Georgia and the erstwhile-unbeaten Slovenia in the Second Round to sweep their way into the Quarter-Finals in Manila.

Of course, it also helps that Dennis Schroder has been nothing short of magnificent until now. Prime Germany Dennis has been one of the main attractions of this World Cup so far.


But Germany is not a one-man-show and their record is based on a very-well balanced attack. In their 100-73 conquest of Georgia, a total of six players scored in double figures - Maodo Lo (18), Dennis Schroder (16), Wagner (14), Andreas Obst (12), Daniel Theis (11), and Johannes Thiemann (11). That win also saw the squad nail 20 triples, the second-most by a team in a World Cup game.

Their wins versus Slovenia and Finland, meanwhile, saw five players finish in twin digits. Four did so against Japan. The only exception was when Schroder and Lo carried the load with 30 and 20 points, respectively, versus the Boomers, although seven others scored at least two.

It has been that way on a nightly basis and they're doing it with efficiency. Germany are shooting 52.4-percent from the field, including a 39.1-percent clip from deep. They've been making 73.2-percent of their free throws, too.

And definitely a huge part of their spread-out attack has been the way they've been sharing the wealth. They're averaging 25.4 assists per outing, which is third-best in the ongoing tournament.

It's their solid mix that's bringing wonders, Franz believes.

"A lot of these guys have been playing together for a bunch of years now," offered the 22-year-old. "We have a couple of young guys like myself and a lot of experience at different positions and guys that have played together at the highest level for a long time.

Whatever uncertainty should be quashed by now but Germany, particularly Moe, are still hoping to be a complete 12-man team once more, most especially now that they would need all the help they can get in the Final Phase that starts on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"We're happy that we can win without him, but we can't wait for him to be back," he said.