by Timmy Frenchy
This is it. The two best teams in the league have overcome every obstacle in their path to basketball’s biggest stage… The WBA finals.
Cancun Outlaws vs Brooklyn Rage
(Brooklyn won season series 2-0)
The Rage didn’t stumble at all against the Fighting Cocks in the Conference Finals. Even though this California team was loaded with talent, they were unable to win even one game, losing all 4 contests by an average of 18 points per game. If you add the regular season head-to-head record for these two teams, that’s 8 games in a row that Brooklyn has won over California. Although there is no shame in losing against this epic Brooklyn squad, changes will be required for the Fighting Cocks if they want to challenge the Conference champions. Brooklyn comes knocking at the WBA finals door with a playoff record of 12-1 and have looked simply unbeatable this season.
The Outlaws came out on top in a thought battle against the Zulus. Moves and adjustments were made every game by coaches who are masters at their craft. It needed 7 games to determine who the winner was and at the end, it was the best player in the league that made the difference. Stellar all series long, Clément Trentesols took his game to another level for game 7, scorching the Zulus with 37 points while playing amazing defense. The Outlaws arrived in the Finals healthy and ready for their biggest challenge yet.
For this year finals preview, I will make my prediction based on some of the most important aspects to keep a look at.
With the best and most efficient offenses in the league, the Rage has a huge advantage here. The trio of Bailey, Miles, and Jefferson are giving them 75 points per game this post-season, which is very impressive and almost impossible to guard. On the other hand, the Outlaws’ offense is mainly focused on their leader, Clément Trentesols who’s averaging 27 points per game in these playoffs. There is a huge gap between these two team talent wise offensively.
Event though Brooklyn’s defense is incredible and the second best in the league, it’s still inferior to Cancun legendary defense. This team was built around defense as almost all impact players have elite defense skills. Whether you want to attack Cancun with your Big man inside or shoot the long-distance bombs, the Outlaws have the tools and the capacity to shut you down.
Both teams are using something close to a 9-men rotation, composed of the star players, solid veterans and specialists. The addition late in the season of scoring small forward Chad Archer by Brooklyn really add quality to their depth. This guy was scoring 23 points per game two seasons ago when he was the main guy in Seattle. Now Brooklyn gives him 24 minutes of playing time to help strengthen the bench. This shows you how good and deep this Brooklyn squad is.
Cancun has only one true star in Trentesols, as Justin Hill is more of a well rounded player who specialized in defense. Summerall and Rogers are very efficient, but they are no star in this league. Parker Mason was great not so long ago, but at this stage of his career the future hall of famer can be streaky. On the other hand, Brooklyn is loaded with Starpower with Bailey, Miles and Jefferson, all at the peak of their careers. Brooklyn easily win this category.
While Mario Bailey had the honor of being named league’s MVP a couple of weeks ago, we all know who the real MVP is: Frenchman Clément Trentesols. Don’t get me wrong here, Mario is a hell of a player. He’s a scoring machine, a very talented perimeter defender and a gifted athlete who doesn’t seem to slow down even at age 30. He guided his squad to the best regular season record ever. But he had plenty of help to do it. Trentesols is a rare breed as a player. He’s by far the most complete defender ever and the main reason his squad has the best defensive in the league this season and arguably the best defensive ever in WBA history. He’s also a beast on the glass and a much better scorer than predicted before he arrived from the International Basketball Federation. Trentesols is a bigtime gamechanger.
You don’t win three championships in four seasons without excellent personnel behind the bench. Both of those teams have accomplished that feat since the beginning of the WBA. Brooklyn coaching staff has learned from previous early playoffs collapses in the past. They are now steady and confident. Cancun coaches have so much playoffs experience and won many epic battles (like the duel against Capetown they just won). They are masters at adapting matchups and strategies to exploit opponents’ weakness.
Almost every general manager in the league thinks Brooklyn is in route to win all championships until 2020, and it’s difficult to think otherwise. Thus far this postseason they look invincible. But a real challenge awaits them in the Finals. This is a savvy Cancun squad that doesn’t get scared easily. This will be closer than most people expect. But in the end, Brooklyn has simply too much offensive firepower.
Prediction: Brooklyn over Cancun in 6 games