Previewing the Playoffs- Round 1
By Ron Chambers
Cancun (59-21) vs. Mexico City (42-38)
The Outlaws are a beast of a team! A lot of observers thought they were really going to falter after Clement Trentesols got injured but they kept steaming ahead. They are a great defensive team and I don’t see Mexico City as being able to stop them. But, without Trentesols they are vulnerable. He was their leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker. Mexico City is a team on the rise. Chris Dao is a star in the making as is Inge Adlgassar (currently in the developmental league). But, they currently don’t have the depth or top-end talent to topple Cancun.
Prediction: Cancun 4-1
Gabon (56-24) vs. Albacete (46-34)
Albacete is coming into the playoffs on a slump 4-6 in the last 10. Gabon, on the other hand, was 8-2 in their last 10. The big problem in Albacete was the suspension Lonny Jordan after 24 games. He is their star and that can’t win it all without him. The question is if they can win this round without him. Ahmed Dougherty is still a prolific scorer and they have good talent. Gabon on the other hand is healthy and well balanced. They don’t have any superstars but they are solid at every position and have some really good depth.
Prediction: Gabon 4-2
Barcelona (57-23) vs. Cape Town (43-37)
Everyone is used to Cape Town being a powerhouse. They still rely on superstar Abdiel Gordon who is as good as it gets. Chance Crowley is also an excellent player. But, there is a big drop off in talent after that. They have good role players, they just need more talent in their starting lineup after their top two. Barcelona, on the other hand, has a ton of talent. Primo Bugeja is a top-notch scorer. Ira Redwine is an excellent second option. Marc White is an interior beast defensively. And depth…this may just be the deepest team in the league. Plus, they are the best team in the league at getting to the line and have the top PPS in the league. If they were only better defenders they could be an elite team.
Prediction: Barcelona 4-2
Milan (56-24) vs. Moscow (45-35)
Honestly, I think Milan overachieved. They are a solid team and a deep team but they need more top-end talent. Bohm is a stud and on the verge of being a superstar. Silvino Eufrazio and Jarrod Row are also very good but really the team needs another player at this level to push for elite status. We are all shocked to see the Snow Bears with a good team. They are young and very impressive. Chris Acklin and Kenyatta Davidson are the future of the league. Charlie Meyers is a productive PG and Simeon Hill is exactly the type of Center this team needs. If this team had another strong big they would be a real threat this year. I have no doubt they will be able to get one to add to their young stars. They are the future. But, this is now.
Prediction: Milan 4-3
Brooklyn (74-6) vs. New York (36-44)
The fans will really enjoy having this hometown match-up. New York has some good players but no real stars. Brooklyn is currently the pride of the WBA. The team everyone loved to hate. With their second straight 70 win season, they are closing in on the legendary status of the early Colorado team. But, they have had more success in the playoffs and have won four fo five championships. They have not fallen in the first round in recent memory. Add to that the pending return of Travis Mayes and well…
Prediction: Brooklyn 4-0
Kansas City (51-29) vs. Boston (44-36)
KC is on fire. They are entering the playoffs on a 10 game winning season and the joy of having the league MVP. Walt Jackson and Jeremy Simms are right up there with any duo in the league. Ed Rhodes, Antionio Gleason, Matthew Turgeon, and Daren Benson are all excellent role players. The only weakness of this team is depth. A single injury in any position could undo them. The injury to Michal Askins is devastating to Boston. He is their star. Him missing 17 games was just too much. The good thing is that he will likely be back during this series and that could make things interesting. Frank Mathieu had an excellent season winning most improved. Unlike KC this team has a lot of depth. They just don’t have as much talent at the top.
Prediction: Kansas City 4-2
California (66-14) vs. Seattle (39-41)
The injury to Kurt Beck is huge for California. But, it won’t matter this round. This team has the best 8 man rotation in the league. They will easily be able to cover the absence of Beck…but the next round which will likely be against Colorado is a different story. It is nice to see a good Seattle team. They have a ton of depth but no stars. I like Scooter Baylor but he should not be the top player for any team. They have hope in the future if they are able to attract a star…until that happens they will be a respectable middle team.
Prediction: California 4-0
Colorado (64-16) vs. Las Vegas (41-39)
The four top teams in the USA conference all have incredible duos. DaRond Lyons and Tony Henderson are no exception. Devine and Kinsey are also very talented. To some Kamara looks like a weak link but he is exactly what this team needs at the point. Very similar to how Benson complements the stars in KS very well. The weakness of this team is depth. A bad injury could end them. Las Vegas has a similar formula to Seattle. It is a very deep team. Almantas Talacka is a great talent but they need more top talent.
Prediction: Colorado 4-0