Miami is a franchise that has been searching for an identity. They have flirted with the playoffs sneaking in 4 times. Truth be told they have benefited from being in arguably the weakest of the divisions. Regardless, you can only play who you have on your schedule. Miami is led by former #1 pick Dave Troychak. His ability to find ways to score is hard to match. He also is a stalwart defensive player. With his quick hands and overall first step speed there is a reason why the local sports call him Flash. Oman Fatafehi is the Arrow to Troychak’s Flash. His tactical way he plays the instead of simply trying to beat everybody with speed is something only experienced executives can appreciate. Fatafehi may be 28, but he looks like he can still improve substantially.
Miami is a team that doesn’t seem to have a tough time keeping their talent. It would seem that the lure of South Beach for men in their 20’s is appealing. 7’2” Jose Nobis fits right in as he has played for Miami since the beginning. His ability to simply baby hook over defenders can be frustrating causing teams to consider fouling him. However, unlike most Centers in the league, Jose is extremely good shooting from the line. Miami has a good team, but they lack the defensive prowess to truly compete with the big boys.
This franchise is in trouble. Nobody wants to play there, even throwing money at players will not bring the good free agents. A.J Shulz still curses the day that he was traded from Brooklyn to Washington that would then lead him eventually to Charlotte. He has lamented that three days earlier, he was reassured by GM Rondall Reynoso, that he would be playing for Brooklyn for as long as he was the GM. Life playing for Charlotte has taken its toll. Shulz was Mr. Consistency with 17 ppg and 7 rebounds a game. Now he’s down to scoring less than 10 points a game. One bright spot for Charlotte is Maury Coleman. The shooting guard is incredibly gifted offensively. But he has never taken a step towards greatness to improve his defensive abilities. Regardless fans pay to see Coleman light teams up.
Sadly there simply isn’t enough help as of yet to produce a winning team. It will be a long rebuilding process to bring back the rich winning tradition that Charlotte has seen from its college teams. Especially since they have several players for the next two years eating up most of their salary. How many wins can Coleman shoot his team too? And will Coleman still be playing in Charlotte when his 1.5 million contract is up in two years?
Rob Arnold has done a respectable job trying to turn this team into a winner. In his short time as the GM, the Pirates have slipped into the playoffs three times to date. They have Arturo Fonzarelli, who was the #1 overall draft pick. He is as good as advertised, I know Pirate faithful are waiting for him to “jump the shark” into super stardom. Jay Dickinson and Joe Watts are all very strong guards. Only time will tell if Arnold moves one of these three shooting guards to fill holes down low or at the point guard spot. Neville Blake is a young but quality rookie learning how to bang bodies with other forwards.
Currently the Pirates are hoping to simply outscore people. While they do have some suitable defensive players. They are not good enough to stop some of the big names in the league. They don’t have the ability to create turnovers. Should they make the playoffs expect them to be exposed in this area? Baltimore is not ready to go deep into the playoffs. Unless they do something to give them a point guard. They should be fun to watch in the meantime. Savvy?
The youngest GM in WBA history, Quinten Lawrence inherits a team with some quality players. Boston enjoys the leadership of Otto Hameleers. The veteran PG is hoping to lead his team deep into the playoffs. While he cannot play 40 plus minutes a game like in his younger days, Otto will still put up respectable numbers. While he is the floor leader he’s always been a shoot first guy, and that fact alone will be something the Massacre will have to overcome. Brenden Dawsone is a nice young shooting guard who likes to rebound. He could easily play some time at the small forward.
For better or worse, this Boston team is locked in for this season and the next. While it’s nice not to feel like you’re losing a veteran. They will also have very little chance of landing a big free agent. They do have a load of draft picks over the next few years. For any major improvement they are going to need to make a big trade. I don’t know if they have the talent that warrants a big trade. Other than Hameleers they don’t have any scorers that you need to be afraid of. Boston should make it to the playoffs, but they will still be able to hit the beach early.
Its been a couple years since Cincinnati brought Joe LoMonaco in to turn their franchise around. He’s still working on it, but there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. Tyler Durden is the journeyman scorer but you may not know it as it seems people refuse to talk about him. The Hitmen are filled with a lot of youth. Other then Durden, their oldest player is 27. Rondall Bartholomew looks to be a solid rookie that should play significant minutes.
Vuk Pesa is a player I’m interested in seeing how he develops. While he has holes in his game, most 18 year old’s do. Similar to Boston, most of the Hitmen players are signed until the end of next year. They will have some money to spend hoping to land a 2nd tier free agent that will really improve their team. It is unlikely that a top tier free agent will consider Cincinnati as they are now. Other teams are strapped by their cap issues. Cincinnati simply needs someone who is willing to take their money.
1: Miami Xtreme 47-45
2: Cincinnati Hitmen 46-36
3: Boston Massacre 45- 37
4: Baltimore Pirates 44-38
5: Charlotte Crusaders 25-57