Way too Early Power Rankings
By Mike Begley
It feels like the future, doesn’t it? When Marty McFly travels to the future and that is now the past it certainly feels we are in an overtime game. I mean the Honey Bees are the defending champions. The Bees did not even exist two seasons ago. The Brooklyn Rage and their eternal championship run seems but a distant memory. The wild west days of the Outlaws are gone. Giants are now peaking their heads on the horizon. All the while the Burning Hell are simmering.
Strange times indeed as arguably the best player in the league, Benet De Gama opts to prioritize his development balling up second-round selections and leaving London to burn. It may be too early to tell which teams will be the best this WBA season but since every team has now won at least one game that means every team has hope, at least theoretically.
So, it is now time for our first edition of Begley’s best.
- Albacete Burning Hell (13-0)
Albacete has been finding a way to win every single game so far this season. Whether it’s through elite defense or offense or through sheer cunning or luck. They’ve won every game. Much improved play from Ryan Rogers has been key as well as the addition of Matias Gutierrez as the team now proudly boasts two Spanish speakers. The schedule has not been easy either as most games have been on the road and they have already defeated their Parisian nemesis twice. The pits in Hell have never been hotter but doesn’t Lucifer find a way to screw it up in the end?
- California Fighting Cocks (14-1)
Hassan “Never been to the Finals” Watt is enraged i.e., tired of getting beat by the Rage. So, he’s on a mission to secure home-court (again) only to lose game one (again). Okay okay it wasn’t his fault he was injured in the last playoffs. But, so was Brooklyn. These Fighting Cocks are like last season only a year older for better or for worse, that means Watt is better but the old timers are a step slower, still an elite offense and the best defense in the league. Another MVP type season for Hassan Watt, and an Achilles heel that won’t go away: Mario Bailey.
- Brooklyn Rage (10-3)
After a slow start to the season the Rage have now won five in a row, and the scores were not even close. This is all considering former #1 overall pick Trenton Adams is still not ready to play in the WBA. The twenty-year-old has been downright stinking it up. That’s right. Even with a subpar point guard, the Rage can still be dominant. Which is scary! Imagine, if the Rage trade Adams for an elite old timer we could see Brooklyn’s championship window as big as ever for another two or three seasons before Mario Bailey eventually rides into the sunset.
- Paris Honey Bees (8-4)
Paris did not get off to a good start opening the season losing their first game at home in over a year. Maybe it all started in the offseason when Jervan Timmons decided to re-sign before Paris could sign any notable free agent. Though never considering Timmons could have decided to sign elsewhere and leave the hive entirely. So, the Bees are just fortunate to be able to bring back most of the championship team. Gone are Hall of Famers Ahmed Dougherty and Parker Mason, along with backup center Albrecht Herzing, did their departure sap the magic away? We will see how the honey tastes this season with Bobbie Mason and Kevin Whitlock churning the hive with more prominent roles.
- Boston Massacre (11-2)
The Massacre got off the Dao train fast! They now welcome Andrew Holmes in what now seems like a Win-Win trade with the Counts. Boston is off to a fine start at 11-2 even knocking out the champs in Paris to open the season. However, when we read the fine print we see Boston has mostly played in Boston and have yet to face top competition, even the defeat of Paris was without Klemens Eberle. Once they go 22-2 I will eat my words.
- Gabon Giants (9-3)
GM Simon Drapeau has verbally stated he is “All in” this season. Even drafting 28-year-old Isidore Masquely with the #2 overall pick. Gabon is doing well at 9-3 but with recent losses to Paris and Albacete, the questions arise around the league whether Gabon is at the level to compete for a WBA championship. With Abdiel Gordon and Charlie Meyers at the twilight of their careers, the championship window in Gabon seems to be narrowing as we speak.
- Barcelona Counts (11-2)
Yes, it’s true Barcelona is 11-2, an elite scoring team who can get to the line at will, rebound and play solid defense. Cory Daubanton has done it again, and again, and again, and… yup same old story. The Counts do fantastic during the regular season then will lose in the second round until proven otherwise. Are these Counts any different? Perhaps they are the most talented Barcelona team ever assembled (not including franchises with Lionel Messi) so we will see how the ball bounces for them the rest of this season as they ride a rejuvenated Chris Dao.
- Shanghai Pandas (8-3)
As we welcome China into the WBA we also welcome Heinrich Rarich as one of the league’s new top talents who has now taken his game to another level so far shooting 54% from three-point land. Turns out these Pandas can score, rebound, and defend! Which is why they have winning records both at home and on the road so far this young season. Please get this team some more bamboo!
- Las Vegas Gamblers (5-7)
After landing Clement Trentesols, Justin Hill, and Ed Summerall, in the offseason the Gamblers certainly expected to have not only a winning record but to be among the league’s elite. So far this season they are below .500 and possess a mediocre defense. This is not the position David Morfeld imagined. But that’s precisely why these Power Rankings are titled “Way Too Early” but they still make the top ten because I would not want to see the Gamblers on the schedule as an opponent.
- Moscow Snow Bears (4-7)
The underperforming Snow Bears are the most talented team to be abandoned twice by a GM as the ghost of Robert Williams continues to haunt the franchise. Interim GM, Miguel Del Monte Solari has so far struggled to surround Kenyatta Davidson and Chris Acklin with the necessary talent to compete even above .500 let alone for a championship. As the team continues to experiment with a different lineup every game nothing more to say than this team is truly cursed and will never find its way. Unless of course Pablo returns and can walk on water.
- Milan Mayhem (6-7)
The Mayhem are officially the oldest team in the league to be officially rebuilding. How they do it don’t ask me it must be a magic trick learned by Michael Esposito on Coney Island. Off to a tough start the team has struggled in scoring and seems to be missing Heinrich Stoebener who was swapped for Albrecht Herzing during the offseason. It seems that deal has benefitted neither team up to this point. So trade backs are in order. Perhaps it’s time to go full rebuild and part ways with the pair of thirty-year-olds, Eufrazio and Everidge. But don’t send them to the Rage please.
- Colorado Pioneers (7-4)
GM Marc Hameleers signed a point guard in Napoleon Carter this time around during free agency. But that Devine injury will cost the team. Well, any injury will sink this team. It seems depth has been the fracture the last few seasons. With no young talent developing in the D-league the Pioneers are extra reliant on free agency where it has been hit or miss. These proud Pioneers should be back in the mix this season but not even Napoleon can command this team far into the playoffs.
- Miami Xtreme (6-4)
It’s quite rare to see an injury free Miami Xtreme team take the floor. It seemed this team had been cursed with the injury bug since the dawn of mankind. And now we are seeing that Brent Bangerter can field a winner when the injury gods are benevolent. The Xtreme are led by Omar Rozier who has blossomed averaging nearly a triple double! And don’t forget about Jesus.
- New York Firestorm (5-7)
The revamped Firestorm have an assortment of personnel who can score efficiently but it seems the chemistry will take time. It’s funny that Ahmed Dougherty started for one of the best teams of all time last season but is now coming off the bench in New York. Please make this hall of famer a starter! After some tinkering to the lineup and team style this team should find its way to the playoffs.
- Los Angeles Gargoyles (6-7)
The Gargoyles have suffered on the road (1-5) but have done well at home (5-2). They are big and play slow but that’s the way they like it. They struggle to score but make it tough for the opponent to score as well. They are a playoff team for sure but when it comes to scoring they are on a horse with no name. This analysis makes no sense because it gets weird out in Los Angeles.
- Salt Lake City Fanatics (6-7)
It turns out that even after losing Abel Debuisnes and Alston Irving, these Fanatics are not that bad. GM Brad Bangerter as this team playing some pesky defense blocking shots galore and sometimes they even score enough to win when Shermar Mahara gets hot. They can win some games, all the while Brad works on his lawn. I think these young Fanatics will be in the playoffs, then lose all their free agents again. At least these future cornerstones won’t be traded to the Rage but still a sad story.
- Arizona Dragons (5-7)
These Dragons drew much praise from esteemed WBA chroniclers during the offseason but during this early season they just can’t seem to buy a bucket. I for one am not a fan of missed shots or ugly low-scoring basketball going on in Arizona. I am not a fan of the border wall either.
- Sydney Bloods (3-12)
True the Bloods have only won three games. But most losses have been on the road. Valentin Muntean should be able to shore up the defense upon his expected season debut next week. I believe these Bloods can still sneak in to compete for a playoff spot if they can stay resilient and win a few close games. Poise young bloods.
- Cape Town Zulus (5-7)
With Coomas Netar taking home player of the week awards the Zulus are showing some peskiness this season. However, since the loss of franchise cornerstone Abdiel Gordon it seems the team has not been the same. Leadership needs to come from somewhere. That and more talent. Klaas Binsenshaum has shown signs of promise but nowhere near being a franchise level player. Maybe the Zulus should flip Coomas to a contender and enter a full rebuild.
- Fort Worth Warriors (4-7)
The Fort Worth Texas, Mathieu-Starman offensive locomotive makes loud somewhat pleasant train noises but can only take Fort Worth so far, in this case, only to Tennessee. Despite having the best scorer in the league and the top 1-2 scoring punch, the total offensive attack in Texas is quite average at 44% shooting. And with a subpar defense that gives up 118 points, this results in a subpar season. This Fort is highly penetrable.
- Mexico City Hellcats (5-6)
Neither the return of GM Sergio Gutierrez nor the arrival of Jeremy Sims can shore up this defense, giving up 115 points per game, despite the twin towers of Sims and Ghesquier. No easy answer to this conundrum so perhaps another total rebuild is in order. This time by architectural design.
- Toronto Dinos (3-10)
Toronto is off to a tough start. Instead of trying to win a game the Dinos seem to actively be channeling every possible shot attempt to James Donovan to inflate his stats to increase his trade value, so despite Donovan’s 21 points per game, the team is second to last in scoring. Not good, no bueno, pas bon.
- Frankfurt Fury (1-9)
Fola Onibiyo the team’s brightest star is off to a tough start. But he is doing better than the number one overall selection, Pribislav Hecimovich, whose jumpshot has been as accurate as a simulated driving scene in a Hollywood movie while attempting to spell Hecimovich without Google assistance. Well, when Jim Koons is your offensive anchor your team is either in the D-league or at the bottom of the WBA standings.
- Cancun Outlaws (1-11)
Pat Fullum raised the white flag during the offseason. He shipped Clement Trentesols to Las Vegas and traded for his own first round draft selection. Now he is left with Gerhold “Half-a-season” Verholm, and Timi “Not Whitlock” Rambuka, along with an assortment of castaways who are good for last in the league in scoring at 99 points per game. The search for the next jaguar king is on.
- Cincinnati Hitmen (1-12)
The Hitmen have the worst defense in the league giving up 120 points per game. Tough to win a game when the team is also last offensively in assists and near the bottom in three point percentage. On the bright side, they are a tall team. Maybe they can opt to join the World Volleyball Association.
- London Disco (2-10)
The London Disco are at the bottom of these rankings because they have declared a cold war against the WBA. After an offseason mired in controversy surrounding the suspicious circumstances which led to Al Zarra reneging on a contract with London only to sign with California, GM Earl “The Pearl” Breese convinced Benet “De Game is Over” Gama to join the Dublin Irish on a reality TV show quest for the perfect Guinness Stout while competing for a D-league championship. Thus, London has officially left the WBA to keep up with the Kardashians.