Albacete Burning Hell
Those who don’t know Pedro Alcaraz learn very quickly, that if you are not careful he will take you to the cleaners and force you to pay for your own cab home. He will do whatever it takes to improve his team regardless of the tears you will cry later. He’s a real devil. It is for that very reason that Albacete has 11 playoffs appearances in twelve years. With a blistering 63 winning percentage that culminated in a Championship over Cancun 5 seasons ago. He’s one hell of a GM. With the third highest winning percentage behind Cancun and Brooklyn. Pedro’s teams always play at the big boy table.
Harry Jarvis has been the face of this franchise for more than a decade. Signed to a single year contract, its clear Jarvis isn’t chasing money but rather building a legacy that other super stars don’t have the option too, which is to play for one team their entire career. Ruben Sax could be the next Burning Hell poster boy. He’s primarily a defensive stopper. You come into his area you best be ready for rejection. Raphael Park is expected to make a jump in his development. He should take up most of the minutes at forward despite all the forwards currently under contract. Overall I’m not particularly impressed on paper with Albacete, but I know that Pedro will make the needed adjustments that I’m willing to give his team the benefit of the doubt. They will be in the playoffs for the twelfth time.
Formerly ran by the precarious David Song, new comber Jorden Lawrence has been given the controls. It seams like anybody with a Lawrence name gets a franchise. Here son, you get your very own WBA franchise, have fun. Last years #4 pick Shermar Mahara appears to be the real deal. He has the ability to torch other guards at will. He has a great eye for passing, hopefully he will find a good balance between being a shooter and a distributor. Otherwise some of his teamates may not take too kindly to the youngster.
Bert Haug is a new addition and a welcome one. He is a slicing guard that despite his age, he commands the respect of opposing teams. Applegate and Danilov are a nice combo down low, they don’t require the offense to run through them, the focus on collecting rebounds. They know their role and embrace it. Lawrence has may have jumped the gun too quickly on offering Wu dian-fan a max contract. While he’s a nice player he is no where near worth that kind of money. Such a premature decision to sign Wu for that kind of money will likely be a painful learning experience. London has a balanced team, and if they can get their chemistry right, they will surprise some people.
As a franchise Frankfurt (formally Chacarita and Birminham) has not found a lot of success with only one visit to the playoffs. GM B.J. Hadley knows hes still into the rebuilding process. He has a thought out methodical plan. First order of business how to phase in talent youth so there isn’t a need to count on the elder statesmen of the league. Branko Filipovic seems to have the talent but his stats have gone down each year he’s been with the team. He can score well but he doesn’t like to defend. Which is a problem the Fury have in particularly with their back court.
Shawn Jones is a young center but he will mature over the next year or two. He is one to watch for. B.J. At some point will need to find a power forward. Currently he has place holders, and while they can defense sufficiently, the fury would do well to find a power forward that can take it too the rack. Harold Gil never blossomed into the player many thought he would, but he can still provide some offensive points when asked. I think the direction the team is going is positive, but a dedicated approach will allow this team to become a playoff team in the next year or two.
Paris is one of the leagues spotlight franchises. Eight playoff appearances with 4 division ties, 2 conference titles not to mention the leagues defending champion after the colossal victory over Oregon last season. GM Gustavo Follana is one of the leagues savviest executives, Baltimore wishes they had him. Led by former #1 pick Jay Vasquez. All this kid does is dominate opposing front courts. He just wins … all the time. Anthony Curtis who will have his 2nd season with the club looks to expand his role. He’s a poor man’s Cordell Parks, despite making more then Parks. The Jugglers don’t to be as strong as they were last season, but they are not some pushover.
Scott Lio is a solid guard who is able to create his own shot. And perhaps that’s the biggest weakness is this years club is not exception skilled at passing the ball. In fact, I would go on record for stating they are magnificently bad at it. This forces a lot of isolation plays. I would suspect that Gustavo will work to rectify this glaring deficiency that Paris has, if he doesn’t, the teams results may be disappointing.
Corey Daubanton has gone on record stating that his team may be the first to go 0-82. When your top executive makes these kind of public statements one has to believe this will affect the psyche of his players in a negative way. They signed Isaac rice to a max contract and that is a great first step for winning at least one game. Nikos Atirides who has been with the team for 4 years expects to take a larger role in the offense. While he can score, he’s not much for creating good offensive chances for his teammates.
Andorra needs to do something about getting a legitimate center. Both of there centers are rookies, and they will be given the chance to prove themselves. It would probably be easier to simply trade for someone down low. If they are able to get a defensive presence on the blocks, that could change their season all around. Ira Redwine their top draft pick will get a lot of playing time. While we may not see him blossom this year, don’t be surprised if next year he starts to emerge as one of the younger generation of players that will be talked about among the greats.
1: Albacete Burning Hell 51-31
2: London Disco 45-37
3: Paris Jugglers 41-41
4: Andorra Highlanders 32-46
5: Frankfurt Fury 28-54