Las Vegas Gamblers 2021 Season Preview
By Stephon B. Smythe
The 2020 season was one of great disappointment for the Gamblers. After back-to-back seasons with over 40 wins, three consecutive trips to the playoffs, and spending the offseason making some significant changes to the roster, the team saw a major reduction in their win total. The Gamblers failed to win 30 games for the second time ever and finished towards the bottom of the league. It was certainly not the swan song that GM David Morfeld was hoping for in the final year at the old stadium.
After the 2020 season failed to yield any positive results, the Gamblers once again decided to complete a major roster overhaul during the offseason. Without holding their own pick (a top 5 asset), the team had to be creative on the trade market in order to get a deal accomplished. That deal ended up changing the entire trajectory of the Gamblers’season. Five-time WBA All-Star and All-League first
teamer Clement Trentesols was acquired, turning the Gamblers into instant challengers. Joining Trentesols on the Gamblers if fellow former Outlaw Justin Hill. While Hill is on the downward slope of his career, he is a strong defender that is capable giving the Gamblers a much needed defensive boost.
In the dispersal draft, the Gamblers selected PG/SG Keenan Holter, formerly of Tokyo. At only 25 years old, Holter has plenty of good years ahead of him. He has good passing ability, which should allow for him to take over the point and allow Vester Friedrich to play more SG. Holter averaged over 8 assists per game for Tokyo in the 2020 season, and the Gamblers are hoping he can improve upon that productivity when surrounded by scorers like Friedrich and Trentesols.
One thing that this Gamblers team has that last seasons did not is good depth. GM Morfeld has spent many wakeless hours trying to determine the best rotation to begin the season. Several versatile players are making it difficult, and providing each role player appropriate playing time will not be easy. The Gamblers expect to have one of the largest increases in wins over last season, potentially exceeding
the team record of 51 wins in a season. With the 2021 season being the first in the new arena, the Gamblers are targeted to have a major increase in profits as the team hopes to compete for a top playoff spot.
The players are as follows:
C – Dimitrije Erkocevic – Going into his second season, the 7 footer had a strong rookie campaign.
Averaging over 13 PPG, 8 RPG, and 1 BPG in 69 starts, Erkocevic looks to improve upon those numbers in
his second year. He is penciled in as the starting center for the 2021 season, and is predicted to be a
main part of the Gamblers organization for years to come.
PF – Benjamin Deletombe – Deletombe is a good example of the improved depth for the Gamblers.
Over the course of his 3 seasons in the WBA, Deletombe has started 240/240 games. During that time,
he averaged over 18 PPG, 7 RPG, and 1 BPG. The acquisition of Trentesols and Hill will push Deletombe
to the bench for the first time in his young career.
SF/PF – Justin Hill – The Gamblers are excited for Hill. A great defender, his floor leadership will give this
team a great boost. At 6’10” tall, Hill could easily play at PF despite having played SF in Cancun. He has
the ability to defend both post and perimeter, but is not overly athletic to push around bigger post
SG – Coleman Johnson – Johnson may become a trade asset early in the season. Playing time could be
scarce, despite having averaged over 15 PPG in only 25 MPG last season. Coleman has average scoring
ability and is a good bench player to have on a competing team.
PG – Ed Summerall – Another positive addition to this team via trade. Summerall can do a little bit of
everything. His passing ability is a little worse than Holter’s which will likely result in Summerall coming
off the bench, but he can rebound and defend. His battle with Holter will be one that the team watches
SF/PF/C – Clement Trentesols – Where to play Trentesols is a tough choice. The size, athleticism and
defensive skillto play any of the three positions, Trentesols would likely excel at them all. As a PF, he
has averaged over 9 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. The decision will be difficult, but a good problem
C – Polikarp Dragunas – A great addition to overall team depth, Dragunas will vie for the starting C role
from day 1. His rebounding and defensive abilities could give him an edge, but he lacks the stamina to
play 35+minutes per game.
PG/SG – Vester Friedrich – After having been acquired from Frankfurt, Friedrich has put together his two
best seasons of his career. He has averaged more points and steals per game than any season prior and
has averaged nearly 6 assists per game. Over the course of those two seasons, however, he has missed
35 games. While the team may have more depth this season, keeping Friedrich healthy into theoffseason will be critical.
PF – Cody Rucker – Rucker has an average ability to do just about anything. His ratings are middle of the
pack across the board. He is a deep bench role player that will likely play very few minutes, barring
SG – Arcangelo Rissetto – The Gamblers have high hopes for the young 20 year old. Rissetto has
potential to be a decent scorer and defender. His athleticism should allow him to score at the WBA
level. Rissetto didn’t do much in the D-League last season, but I would expect to see his numbers begin
to rise as he develops.
SG – David Tooley – Similar to Rucker, Tooley was signed as a safety net in case injuries would cause the
need for depth. Tooley will likely play limited minutes at SG/SF but not see any significant time.
PG/SG – Keenan Holter – Acquired to play PG, Holter could see minutes at both PG and SG. He has
scoring ability but is not prolific. If he can average 8+ assists per game, the Gamblers will be more than
thrilled. Holter will compete with Summerall for PG minutes, but right now has the edge. If Friedrich
gets hurt, Holter will likely transition to SG.
C – David Nesbit – A second round draft pick, Nesbit has strong defensive potential but will need some
camps if ever going to become a serviceable player in the WBA. Rebounding skills are not strong enough
to make an impact. Nesbit will be in D-league or cut
SF – George MacMillan – Below average to average defender with strong defensive rebounding skills,MacMillan could get some garbage minutes at SF or PF. He has terrible intuition offensively in regard to