By Ron Chambers
I’ve decided to take some time and write about who I think are the top stars in the WBA today. I will also do a follow-up piece on the players who I think will be the top players in the next few years. But, lets start with who are already the Super Stars.
1) Walt Jackson (SF)- Toronto Dinos
This is kind of a no brainer. In most peoples minds Jackson is clearly the best player in the league. He is a great scorer, averaging over 24 points a game so far this season, and a great rebounder, averaging over 11 rebounds a game. He has an inside game and range. He can defend, pass and take care of the ball. The scary part is that he is only 25 so he will be the toast of the WBA for years. If he has a weakness it is his strength. He is a skinny young man. But, his on curt IQ is off the charts and he really is more of a finess player. Still he could bulk up a little.
2) Wayne Taylor (SF)- Long Island Mayhem
It is hard to believe that this 28 year old is in his twelf season. He is in his prime and is playing like it. He has a career average of 27.3 points per game and is averaging over 30 so far this season. That is nothing new. He has averaged over 30 points three years in the past. His worst year ever was last year with only 22.1 points but it looks like he has adjusted to life out of Nebraska. He is als a good rebounder with a career 7.6 average. He, like Jackson, has great range. He is also an efficient scorer with a career points per shot of 1.23 and 48.5% Field Goal percentage. His weakness is defense. He really is more of an offensive player. If he were a better defender he would probably rank above Jackson.
3) Mario Bailey (SG)- Brooklyn Rage
Bailey didn’t come out of the gates a super start like Taylor. It wasn’t until his fifth season that he averaged more than 20 points a game. After going undrafted, he set himself to be the hardest working player in the league and it is paying off. He has finally become the best shooting guard in the league. The last two seasons he has averaged 22 and 23 points and this year, so far, he is averaging 30 points. He is also a good rebounder for a shooting guard with a career average of 5.1. He is also a star on both sides of the ball. He is committed to his defense and is averaging 2.5 steals this year and has a career average of 1.7 blocks. At age 26 he is just entering into his prime. Most impressive about him though is his efficiency. He seems to have corrected his 3 pt weakness and is now averaging almost 60% from the field, his career average is over 51%. His career points per shot is 1.23 and so far this year it is 1.8.
4) Omar Jefferson (PG)- Brooklyn Rage
It is amazing that this guy is in anyones shadow. Jefferson is the best scoring point guard in the league. He spent his first three years on three different teams but when Brooklyn got him they saw his potential. He has found a home beside Mario Bailey as the best back court inthe league. His career assists average is only 5.7 but he averaged over 8 the last two seasons. Early in his career he was not an efficient scorer but he has worked diligently on that over the years and last year shot 48% from the field and 44% from behind the arch. This year he is at 56% and 48% respectively. He is also a solid defender but not a shut down defender like Bailey.
5) DaRond Lyons (SG)- New York Liberty
Twenty-three year old Lyons is going to be a super star for years. This year he is averaging over 27 points. He will likely be the most improved player of the years since last year off the bench he only averaged 9.3 points. He still has room to improve. His shooting percentages need to improve, his defense can improve, as can his all around game. But, he may be the most creative player in the league at creating his shot. He is amazing now and will only get better. Not to mention that he is as fast as a speeding bullet and can leap a building in a single bound. His athleticism is flat out impressive.
6) Abdiel Gordon (C)- Capetown Zulus
There are two things to notice here. First, Gordon is the first player on this list not in the Northeast Division. That division is just stacked with talent. Second, the WBA is currently orriented toward the Smalls. That is a big change from a few years ago. But, Gordon is the first Big…um only Big… to make the list. Interestingly, despite being a big man and a very good rebounder he also has a great 3-pt shot and he likes to shoot them. He is the best scoring Big in the league will average near 10 rebounds and is a good, though not great, defender. He is also only 26 so he will continue to be a stud for years.
7) Jay Dickenson (SG)- Baltimore Pirates
This pick is probably a surprise for some. This is a first year he has really gotten much attention and he still hasn’t broken 20 points a game. He started his career as a valued reserve for Brooklyn but Baltimore was able to payhim starting money and pulled him away. He is a big time shooter and a tough rebounder. He is also a solid but not great defender. Because of all the great scoring around him he may not put up some of the top numbers. But, don’t let that fool you. He is a star.
8) Arturo Fonzarelli (PG)- Baltimore Pirates
This is aother young Baltimore stud. He is playing point guard but if he could ever make the shange to shooting guard he wouldstand out even more. In alot of ways he is like Omar Jefferson. A great scorer and a good ball handler and passer. But, he is not as good of a passer. He is also a little behind Jefferson on the defensive end. But, this athletic kid can score andhe is smart with the ball.
9) Dave Williams (SG)- Rochester Raiders
We are back to the Northeast! Willaims is the oldest player on the list but at 30 he isn’t exactly over the hill. He has a career scoring average of 27.2 and has never scored less than 25 a game in any season. He is the model of a great scorer. But, he isn’t as rounded as players like Bailey and Dickenson. He actually rebounds better than one would expect given how scouts view him but he have a career average of 5.5 which is pretty solid.
10) Marquez Houston (SF)- Oregon Bears
Houston is the only player on the list to not be a scoring beast. Don’t get me wrong. He can score. But, what he really does is rebound. He is a monster for a small forward at 6’8″ 257 pounds. He is strong and athletic. A good all-around defender. He can also pass and makes goo ddecisions with the ball.