2022 Offseason grades
By Turk Moran
USA EAST DIVISION
Brooklyn Rage 63-17
Ofsseason grade : A
Returning : Mario Bailey, Jarius Miles, Trenton Adams, Tyris Mayes, Steven Frazier, Colin Jones, David Walker
Incoming : Mel Chong, Dominic James, Jerry Bullington, Rubin Campbell, Nenad Davidovic, Mack Patel, James Jones, Marvin Lofton
Outgoing: Justice Grant, Anthony Davis, Antonio Davis, Dick Pelham, Cordell Parks, Austin Bangerter, Lenn Marella, Yoshikazu Tawaraya
This is weird, not having the Brooklyn Rage as champions coming into the offseason. Everyone was waiting for Mario Bailey and Jarius Miles to slow down, for Brooklyn to maybe slowly transition into a rebuild or retool. But both Bailey (34) and Miles (32) are still playing at an elite level and the Rage are still a top contending team. The only notable rotation player the Rage lost was point guard Anthony Davis but he was quicly replaced by a younger, better player in Mel Chong. With the 19th pick in the draft, GM Rondall Reynoso grabbed an elite rebounder in Dominic James, a player who won’t do much else but will get you tons of rebounds and not make many mistakes. Very good pick here. They also added some nice depth in the frontcourt with Mack Patel and Nenad Davidovic, which will help shore up the center position where Justice Grant was the incumbent starter. Brooklyn should be a better team this season and will challenge once again for a ring.
New York Firestorm 40-40
Ofsseason grade : C+
Returning : Shelton Britton, Timoteo Gangotena, Aaron Llanes, Hassan Pomeroy, Abel Debuisne, Dave Valentine, Brian Miller,
Incoming : Evan Bobbins, Nicolai Hansen, Don Cardwell, Jonah Bullard, George Redding, Lamar DeAngelo, Baczo Paliciuc, Frank Ryan
Outgoing: JoJo Edwards, Ahmed Dougherty, Victor Pearson, John Adams, Earllee Jackson, Maury Coleman, Zachary Wise, Stacey Williams
GM TJ Smith was thrown into a very messy situation when he chose to become New York’s lead architect, a team without its own first round picks and a mediocre roster. The savvy Smith had a good ofsseason last year and has started to rebuild this team slowly, going younger and not trying to win at all costs despite not having its own picks. 23 year old JoJo Edwards was sent to London despite being young and arguably the second best player on the team. They got London’s first in return and the promising Evan Bobbins, along with Don Cardwell and a couple of veteran big men. The problem here is that soon to be unrestrited free agent Bobbins has shown an aversion to losing and has been vocal about wanting to win, It will be hard to sell him on resigning in New York. We have fait in the Firestorm’s management, they will turn things around but this will be a long season and we look forward to see how it unfolds here.
Miami Xtreme 29-51
Ofsseason grade : C
Returning : Jesus Morrell, Scott Farmer, Cleveland Steffens, Venceslas Portocarro, Donald Wyman
Incoming : Al Levy, Jarrod Roe, Errol Bierman, Arlan Epps, Bertrand Deleaucourt, Abram Player, Eric Aguila, Donato Farfan, Todd Kelly, Edward Luttrell
Outgoing: Omar Rozier, Almantas Talacka, Brice Bell, Jim Woods, Alexej Peska, Shawn Jones, Steve Carter, Kolby O’Rourke, Timothy Bradley, Bob Bodnar
The Miami Xtreme played a dangerous game during this offseason, trying to chase big name free agents before using their bird rights on their own guys. The risk was understandable and we like gambles but unfortunately, players like Matias Gutierrez chose not to come to Miami. And then point guard Omar Rozier got impatient, signed in Cancun and the Extreme also lost Almantas Talacka, Brice Bell and Jim Woods. But all was not lost as GM Brent Bangerter coverred himself nicely during the expansion draft by selcting Al Levy, who will come in and replace Omar Rozier. They also managed to sign the best center available in free agency in Jarrod Roe, who was cut by Los Angeles. Roe and Jesus Morrell are going to be fun to watch, we expect both to start alongside each other, forming a big twin towers lineup. Miami also got a couple of quality players in the second round of the draft, selecting Abram Player and Eric Aguila. This team will need their young trio of players Portocarro, Stephens and Farmar to step up to reach 30 wins this season.
Boston Massacre 63-17
Ofsseason grade : A
Returning : Andrew Holmes, Michael Askins, John Keating, Claude Weidner, Kaniel Hobbs, Sleepy Johnson, Kieth Cottle
Incoming : Walter Walter, Stephen Harrelson, James Boone, Jeremy Aarons, Thomas Pharr, Zachary Wise, Joe Clark
Outgoing: Timi Rambuka, Gervais Calloart, Nicolai Hansen, George Faup, Andy Michelson, Bertrand Deleaucourt, Joe Vanlandingham
We did not get the usual offseason fireworks in Boston! Coming off a strong 63 win season, Boston still has a strong quatuor of stars all under 27 year old and they will all come back to push the team to better their 63 win total from last season. They managed to flip Timi Rambuka, whom they acquired late last season for three D league caliber players, for two first round picks and a good solid center in Walter Walter. Signing depth players Jeremy Aarons, James Boone and Stepen Harrelson seems like an upgrade on George Faup, Bertrand Deleaucourt and Nicolai Hansen. A small but important win for a team looking to take the next step. Things can change quickly for the Massacre and we will keep an eye open for upcoming moves but its been a succesful offseason for GM Quinten Lawrence.
USA CENTRAL DIVISIONirst round
Colorado Pioneers 37-43
Ofsseason grade : B-
Returning : Tony Henderson, DaRond Lyons, Tom Kinsey, John Devine, Kirk Lansing, John Houston, Isaac Edmondson, Lucien Poirier, Wilmer Zamora
Incoming : Stephen Kroupa, Jayson Teran, Omar Jefferson, Vincent Miles, Ed Rhodes
Outgoing: Napoleon Carter, Thomas Pharr, Felton Rosa, Edward Jefferson, Stephen Digiovanni, Da’wan Jackson
Are the Pioneers headed towards a complete rebuild? Stars DaRond Lyons and Tony Henderson could not bring Colorado to 40 wins last season. The team is getting older and may be at a crossroad. John Devine was brought back but he is getting up there in age and thats why 7’4 Stephen Kroupa was drafted 12th, as he should start to eat at Devine’s minutes. Napoleon Carter was lost to free agency but was replaced by another aging star, Omar Jefferson. Second year player John Houston might be better served by playing another season in the D league, so Colorado might roll with Jefferson and Issac
Edmondson at the point? Jayson Teran could be a darkhorse for the point guard duties in Colorado. If only this was 2017! It will be interesting to watch what happens in Colorado, Marc Hameleers is a hall of fame general manager and we trust him to steer this ship in the right direction.
Salt Lake City Fanatics 30-50
Ofsseason grade : C
Returning : Shermar Mahara, Kevin Whitlock, Matthew Turgeon, Leonard Sedelmaier, JuJu Wambaugh, Andrejs Kovalovs, Gavin Persons
Incoming : Darryl Whittaker, Hugo Gutierrez, Neville Donner, Macario Montavez, Donnie Jasso, Frank Harris, Evan Alton
Outgoing: Guy Welty, Bobo Reynolds, Ike Swift, Alonso Staton, Ermin Zeleznik, Blaise Godin, Ajani Valentine, Bishop Stein
The Fanatics were in a bad spot coming into this season with ownership not willing to spend any more money on free agents and a roster devoided of any centers. They drafted a Frenchie that shall not be named that decided to stay over in the IBF for the upcoming season, A good pick but its unfotunate the player wished not to play in the WBA for SLC. The team lost its best five free agents, including centers Guy Welty, Alsonso Staton and ultra talented Bobo Reynolds. GM Brad Bangerter was able to swing a last minute deal before training camp, getting veteran centers Hugo Gutierrez and Neville Donnner for the extremely raw Ike Swift and over the hill Ajani Valentine. Also coming over in the deal is Frank Harris, a rookie big who projects a solid rebounder and inside scorer, This deal balances out the roster and now the Fanatics must look to the next offseason as point guard and ultra talented JuJu Wumbaugh will be a free agent. Will he get playing time in SLC or in the D league? Walk away for nothing at the end of the season?
Atlanta Bloods 27-53
Ofsseason grade : A+
Returning : Hervé Bourgeois, Vito Paredes, Valentin Muntean, Scooter Baylor, Brian Armstrong, Clyde Summers, Richard Nicholas
Incoming : Jeremy Sims, Bonifacio Montoya, Mihalis Zizilevs, Davey Chisholm, Vito Sanchez
Outgoing: Roylen Fillum, Darrell Goldsmith, Djoka Andjelic, Curro Campos, Jamal James
What an offseason for GM Patrick Abrams. With a young core led by France’s second best, Hervé Bourgois, Atlanta seemed to be a player or two away from being a teams that battles for a playoff spot. Atlanta won the lottery and used that pick, in a draft devoid of top end talent, to acquire Jeremy Sims from Cancun. Sims is a top five talent who can do it all and play all three frontcourt positions. With Sims they also acquired another first round pick which they flipped for the 9th pick in the draft, nabbing arguably the best center available in 27 year old Bonifacio Montoya. The Spaniard, if he can stay out of foul trouble, is a great inside scorer and will be a solid contributor right away. They also added a solid young power forward in the expansion draft in Davey Chisholm and got a potential rotation player in the 2nd round of the draft in Vito Sanchez. Bringing back veteran center Brian Armstrong was also key. As perfect an offseason as can be for a franchise who won 27 games last season. The present and future is very bright in Atlanta!
Chicago Hitmen 36-44
Ofsseason grade : B-
Returning : Lon Johnson, Dong Hanying, Ben Frisbee, Jared Torrey, Diego Blizzard, Larry Copeland, Labradford Stone, Chico Dillinger, Asdrubal Aristia, Korey Earle, Daryl Whisenant
Incoming : Casey Pointer, Gabriel Leclerc, John Price, Dudley Martine
Outgoing: Wimpy Critchfield, Sheldon Gorman, PJ King, Paco Astacio
Chicago is another team that was limited budget wise coming into the offseason. The team chose to select Casey Pointer during the dispersal draft, a very good player but who is owed more than 80 million in the next three seasons. This would end up costing the Hitmen during free agency. The draft was quite a win, Chicago selecting Gabriel Leclerc with the 10th pick. Many viewed the 23 year old wing as a top five talent in this draft, so great value here for the Hitmen. Wimpy Critchfield is a good young center and many expected him to come back to the team that drafted him. Unfortunately, Cancun came in with a ridiculous offer that Cincinnati could not match or exceed because of budget limitations. Can’t blame management here for an unreasonable contract offer that Critchfield had to accept. They also lost veteran big man Sheldon Gorman who followed the veteran star exode to Paris to go ring chasing. Good news is Dong Hanying will now get every opportunity to develop, and the Hitmen will hope that youngsters Leclerc, Frisbee and Torrey have the space to improve and bring this franchise one step closer to the playoffs.
USA WEST DIVISION
Los Angeles Gargoyles 33-47
Ofsseason grade : B
Returning : Tyrre Dudley, William Curry, Rchie Redyy, Valerio Ascension, Elton Koonce, Don Jones, Jamie Lynch, David Poland
Incoming : Karsten Ebert, Alexis Kirby, Arne Ott, Sammy Pitcher, Kermit Alley
Outgoing: Jarrod Roe, Chad Nolan, Brandon Duggins, Frank Tso, Randal Ramirez, Tommy Pederson, Jeremy Aarons
Team management decided to go with its young core at the beginning of free agency, parting ways with veterans Jarrod Roe, Chad Nolan and Jeremy Aarons. The problem is, the Gargoyles don’t have their own picks next season and now have one of the weakest rosters in the league. The three players let go do not make this team a playoff team but its a risky decision. At least now the youngsters will get all the playing time needed to develop. They had a good draft, selecting gaurd Karsten Ebert at 18 and center Alexis Kirby at 22, two great picks. Kirby will prove invaluable as the Gargoyles have only three players 6’9 and taller, which means a move is probably coming? Arne Ott was a solid free agent acquisition, the young veteran should get opportunities to play a lot this season. We feel this is incomplete because we expect a lot more movement to happen in LA this season.
California Fighting Cocks 70-10
Ofsseason grade : A
Returning : Hassan White, Kurt Beck, Dan Kincaide, Erdmann Schuepf, Marc White, LeSean Allen, Trevor Tomlin, Al Rozier, Jesse Szcygiel, Richard Bowers
Incoming : Olivier Hervé, Hancho Durant, Jim Woods, Chad Nolan, Kyle Hawkins
Outgoing: Wally Birkhead, James Boone, Daniel Stevenson, Matthew Norwood, Richard Bowers, Huey Perry
Boring offseason fot the Fighting Cocks, which is a huge win when you are the defending champs! Bringing back the same core and not losing any important rotation players is a rare feat for a championship team. Not only that but California was able to sign two quality players with exceptions. Hancho Durant still has lots of untapped potential and Jim Woods is a solid veteran and proven WBA contributor. I expect Durant to shine in the D league while Woods could be a key player off the bench.
They also made a great pick at number 14 in the draft, acquiring a rebounding and defensive minded guard from France, Olivier Hervé. The Frenchman is expected to join Durant in the D league since California has plenty of options at backup guard. A quiet yet very successfull offseason for Justin Lawrence as his team will look to repeat this season.
Arizona Dragons 36-44
Ofsseason grade : A
Returning : Inge Adlgasser, Toussaint Leclercq, Humberto Saez, Allen Donaldson, Jarius Sullivan, Severino Moscoso, Meechy Jennings, Francis Murray, Larry Christner
Incoming : Karl Schowalter, Almantas Talacka, Xander Smith, Lacy Toomer, Lovas Marcinkevicius, Heriberto Bardem
Outgoing: Mel Chong, Arlan Epps, Kyle Hawkins, Marvin Lofton, Stephen Johnson, Brian Sewell,
GM Dan Dingleberry is lowkey slowly building something special in Arizona. They always seem to have a knack for convincing talent to sign minimum or lowish deals to come to sunny Arizona. It seems weird that a special talent like Alamantas Talacka signed a minimum deal but the Dragons added a very good player who had a down season in Miami in 2021. Xander Smith and Lacy Toomer are both 26 year old talented scorers too. The only blemish is that Norbert Frosch, whom the club traded up to draft, decided to spend one more season in the IBF. With all the young talent and surrounding depth on this team, they should improve on those 36 wins and convinced Frosch to join next season. Karl Schowalter ai another young talent that was brought in from the dispersal draft. They added four very good pieces to the puzzle and only lost one in Mel Chong, thats some good math.
Las Vegas Gamblers 49-31
Ofsseason grade : A-
Returning : Clément Trentesols, Vester Friedrich, Keenan Holter, Polikarp Dragunas, Justin Hill, Dimitrije Erkocevic, Arcangelo Risetto, Ed Summerall, David Nesbit, David Tooley,
Incoming : Clayton Peterson, Brandon Duggins, Stumpy Goodrich, Moises Melendez, Matthew Norwood
Outgoing: Coleman Johnson, Benjamin Deletombe, Stanton Alvarado, George MacMillan,
The Gamblers were the unanimous 2021 offseason champs and big things were expected in Las Vegas. The team somewhat underwhelmed depite winning 49 games. The biggest offseason challenge was resigning young veteram point guard Keenan Holter, the second best point guard in a strong free agent market for point guards. Holter was brought back for a bit less than 54 millions over fours seasons, a great contract. The exceptions scored two very good rotation pieces for the Gamblers as they convinced power forward Brandon Duggins and swingman Stumpy Goodrich to move to Vegas. Duggins scored 21 poins per game in 28 minutes last season, an unorthodox player who is quite underestimated to us. Athletic Moises Melendez will join from the IBF and Clayton Peterson was a great pick late in the first round. A great offseason and if Clément Trentesols can keep up his level of play, the Gamblers could improve on those 49 wins this season.
WORLD EURO DIVISION
Milan Mayhem 33-47
Ofsseason grade : A-
Returning : Silvino Eufrazio, Albrecht Herzing, Bennett Bangerter, Milton Michaels, LaKar Everidge, Michael Kramer, James Rothwell, Daniel Wright, Archemorus Verga
Incoming : Bobo Reynolds, Ermin Zeleznik, Gabriel Tudor, Cayetano Morayta, Matthew Standridge, Ronald Ledesma
Outgoing: Mack Patel, Dudley Martin, Marvin Lee, Rosendo Antoine
Milan seems to be slowly transitionning towards a rebuild. Yes, formally trigger happy GM Mike Esposito is taking things slow. There are rumours that the team is looking to move veterans like Brazilian star Silvino Eufrazio ut so far its only been noise. In line with the spirit of getting younger, the Mayhem selected 22 year old Gabriel Tudor in the expansion draft, a potentially great defender at the forward position. 23 year old 6’1 shooting guard Cayetano Morayta is coming over from the IBF and will be a great scoring punch off the bench. Matthew Stanridge was drafted at 24, one of the best picks in the draft. Stanridge could become a very good scorer in this league. Milan also did very well with their exceptions, getting two young players from the SLC Fanatics. Ermin Zeleznik is as athletic as a power forward can be and is only 23. We feel Bobo Reynolds was the best gamble taken in free agency. He is overpaid right now but could become something special if he develops to his full potential. An athletic 6’10 player with superior passing skills, Bobo might end up being the best move of this offseason down the road. But he will need time to grow and develop after suffering through SLC’s developmental system.
Paris Honey Bees 60-20
Ofsseason grade : A+
Returning : Jervan Timmons, Klemens Eberle, Fulgencio Lurdes, Bobbie Mason, Heinrich Stoebener, Marcus Rogers, Donn Sellers, Hilton Fulton, Darnell Kern
Incoming : Abdiel Gordon, Sheldon Gorman, Tony Patrick, Charlie Meyers, Ahmed Dougherty, Jeremy Bono
Outgoing: Donnie Robertson, Lane Saunders, Shawne Olson, Jeramy Puleo, Aiden De Schutter, George Bissett
Everyone wants to be part of Queen Adrian Arceo’s hive. The 60 win Honey Bees attracted many WBA legends during free agency : Abdiel Gordon, who has a long history with Arceo from their Capetown days, Sheldon Gorman, Charlie Meyers, Ahmed Dougherty (who won a ring with the Bees) and Tony Patrick. Paris even had to show Brice Bell the door. They have so much talent that rumours are Bobbie Mason will be sent down to the D league to work on hi point guards skills. They have the most depth in the league and could end up scoring more than the 120 points they put up last season. They also stole Jeremy Bono at pick number 20 in the draft, a 6’1 scoring guard wou could blossom in Paris elite developmental program. Only cloud hovering over this team are the rumors surrounding the best Canadian and best point guard to ever grace an NBA floor, Jervan Timmons. Will he stay or go? Why would he be on the block? Not to stir up controversy, but is it because he is Canadian?
London Disco 18-62
Ofsseason grade : A+
Returning : Benet Da Gama, Ajan Estay
Incoming : Geert Kain, JoJo Edwards, Timi Rambuka, Amadeo Zanon, Étienne Malfait, Friedrich Egg, Darrell Goldsmith, Djoka Andjelic, Keanan Carrington, Antonio Gleason, Sean Madera, Toby Johnson, PJ King
Outgoing: Evan Bobbins, Walter Walter, Don Cardwell, Frank Ryan, Jayson Teran, Charlie Meyers, Neville Blake, Elton Swart, Cetus Vlahakis, Quade Nash, Robert Houston, David Goines, Lacy Toomer, Morris Casteel, James Wahl
New London GM David Morfeld came into a difficult situation in London, with the team in disarray after superstar Benet Da Gama was sent down to the D league for unknown reasons, winning only 18 games, young players asking for trades and several rookie contracts ending, including Da Gama’s next season. This team needed to get better and start winning in a hurry. Morfeld burned almost everything to the ground, with only two players returning from last season. And that burning enabled a succesful regeneration and regrowth of the team. The expansion draft brought center Geert Kain, a solid defensive presence inside to complement Da Gama. 23 year old JoJo Edwards was brought in for disgruntled Evan Bobbins. Amadeo Zanon and Friedrich Egg came over from Toronto and solid veteran guard Rambuka was brought in from Boston. They also added a starting point guard with the acquisition of the 11th pick, Étienne Malfait. The dimininutive speedy French player is a great shooter and will contribute right away. The Disco have a young core, great depth and will look to make the playoffs and make some noise while also having a bright future. Phenomenal work by David Morfeld and expectations are now very high in London.
Frankfurt Fury 39-41
Ofsseason grade : A
Returning : Fola Onibiyo, Pribislav Hecimovich, Asher Irving, Omar Raoumbe, Duke Norman, German Jacks, Jeff Heflin
Incoming : Curtis Starman, Jamses Donovam, Douglas Trice, Alsonso Staton, Pan Thum, Coleman Johnson, Vicente Cintron, Carey Graham
Outgoing:Guilhem Lamerand, Tony Patrick, Arne Ott, Alton Francis, Marquez Houston, Arturo Fonzarelli, Jim Koons, Mike Lewis
Frankfurt had a great offseason depsite losing talented big man Guilhem Lamerand. After the Frenchman signed a max contract in Gabon, the Fury turned around and brought in center Douglas Trice, a young talented center who should fit perfectly with Omar Raoumbe and Duke Norman and comes at near half the price. They also made a big splash during free agency, signing elite scorer Curtis Starman to a five year contract. Frankfurt now has arguably the best guard trio of the WBA in Starman, second year point guard Pribislav Hecimovich and Fola Onibiyo. Starman is coming off a career year in Fort Worth, scoring 33 points per game on a personnal best ,589 true shooting percentage. It will be interesting to see how the rotation plays out, will they start three guards? They also made a deal for James Donovan, the 6’9 scorer coming over from Toronto. The Fury are looking great, have plenty of assets to make moves and should vastly improve on those 39 wins this year.
WORLD CANADA/SPAIN DIVISION
Edmonton Eskimos 38-42
Ofsseason grade : B
Returning : Kenyatta Davidson, Stretch Armstrong, Terrence Massey, Kip Toney, Samuel Tibreghien, Morten Kjolbye, Jose Eldredge, Charles Fisher,
Incoming : Brendan Avery, Alfonso Griffin, Donnie Roberson, Harold Connor, Daniel Norvell, Samuel Blachford, Wu Dian-Fan
Outgoing: Chris Acklin, Douglas Trice, Ajibayo Owusu, Llewellyn Broermann, Justus Rhodes, Troy Belcher, Ronald Cole
The offseason started quite well for the Eskimos and their new management. They needed a point guard badly after going without one for a season and got one for young backup Ajibayo Owusu in Brendan Avery. They could then offer two max moeny contracts to their two free agent superstars Chris Acklin and Kenyatta Davidson. Unfortunately for them, Acklin decided to take his talents to Africa but they managed to get Davidson back. The team suffered another big blow when center Douglas Trice was offered a big contract that the Eskimos could not match, leaving them without a traditionnal center on their roster. Bringing back power forward Terrence Massey was a win as his yet untapped potential was drawing a lot of interest during free agency. Management was dealt a bad hand prior to coming over to Edmonton and will have their hands full trying to reshape this roster and bring it back to the playoffs.
Toronto Dinos 15-65
Ofsseason grade : A+
Returning : Damien Bohm, Andrew Jaimes, Simeon Hill, Jerry Laskowski, Charles Soares, Thomas White
Incoming : Frank Mathieu, Les Mask, Fernando Piedrahita, Samuel Western, Cetus Vlahakis, Javonte Bolk, David Goines, Chad Archer, Rufus Allen
Outgoing: Amadeo Zanon, James Donovan, Friedrich Egg, Brice Oliver, Keanan Carrington, Nenad Davidovic, Juwan Bixby, Vincent Miles, Angelo Bacchi
What an entrance for new GM Lamar Edwards. He stole the show at the draft, managing to acquire picks number 3, 4 and 5. In a draft that featured many good players but few game changers at the top, it seems it was the perfect timing to make those moves, They managed to get the player who many considers as having a top two ceiling in this draft, point guard Sebastian Western. With the other two picks, the Dinos selected two IBF players that are ready to play and start right now for the squad in shooting guard Fernando Piedrahita and center Les Mask. Toronto also scored big in the expansion draft, grabbing 23 year old Frank Mathieu. They chose to sit out free agency this season but this team is in a much better situation and should improve dramatically on its 15 wins while also having a promising young core.
Barcelona Counts 49-31
Ofsseason grade : B+
Returning : Chris Dao, Ira Redwine, Hamilton Robins, Demarcus Walton, Primo Bugeja, Merlin Lundy, Carlito Carmona, Anacleto Pinero, John Skaggs, Jere Hubble, Sammy Crayton
Incoming : Harmut Posl, Roylen Fillum, Randal Ramirez, Josh O’Connor
Outgoing: Walt Jackson, Richie Dipietro, Sam Hickerson, James O’Connell
The 49-31 Counts are a good team, heading into the offseason, they needed some frontcourt help and depth was the number one priority. Which was somewhat adressed through the draft. Even though GM Corey Daubanton was visibly disappointed to draft him, 27 year old Hartmut Pösl, an athletic 7’5 player who can play power forward, could come in and start right away, replacing incumbent starter Merlin Lundy. Career backup Randall Ramirez was also signed to adress some of the froncourt needs. Barcelona made good use of their MLE by signing Roylen Fillum, who projects as a very good scorer from the wing, a potential starter in this league. It seems the team is stacked with good players and young talent on the wing, we expect moves to be made to help Ira Redwine, Primo Bugeja and Hamilton Robins to make it farther in the playoffs.
Albacete Burning Hell 67-13
Ofsseason grade : A+
Returning : Lonny Jordan, Alston Irving, Matias Gutierrez, Edgardo Blanco, Ryan Rogers, Lazaro Hendricks, Pat London, Victorino Pinelo
Incoming : Rick McKeever, George Miller, Napoleon Carter, Llewellyn Broermann, Brice Bell, Arturo Fonzarelli, Brice Bell
Outgoing: Yuri Vilasny, Glen Rabon, Llewellyn Kinzer, Kelvin Spalding, Nestor Marugeiro, Austyn Williams, Adam Virgill
Albacete was coming into this offseason with three star unrestricted free agents and a limited budget to work with. GM Pedro Alcaraz Sanchez worked his magic and convinced all of Matias Gutierrez, Edgardo Blanco and big man Lazaro Hendricks to come back to avenge last season’s finals loss. Not only was Alcaraz Sanchez able to sign his three free agents but also convinced three solid veterans to add some much needed depth to this squad. Napoleon Carter and Llewellyn Broermann are proven contributors and Brice Oliver is coming off a great D league season. The team also did quite well in the draft, drafting two promising young players in point guard Rick McKeever and wing George Miller. A 67 win team did not lose any important player and managed to add solid rotation pieces and young talent? Impressive.
WORLD GLOBAL DIVISION
Cancun Outlaws 7-73 MANQUE 15e JOUEUR
Offseason grade : F-
Returning : Gerhold Verholm, Kenny Lobo, Apolonio Borrado, Hermenegildo Hernandez, Ira Thurman
Incoming : Omar Rozier, Wimpy Critchfield, Ike Swift, Ajani Valentine, Hector Cortes, Blaise Godin, Alexander Saavedra, Emmett McKoy, Daren Benson
Outgoing: Neville Donner, Hugo Gutierrez, Xander Smith, Macario Montavez, Mihalis Zizilevs, Stephen Harrelson, Slick Hawkins, LaMar DeAngelo, Evan Alton
Yes, its a F MINUS. Getting the top two picks in a draft is good. But this draft did not feature any players who projected as all-WBA talent. Cancun had to give up a top 5 player in 30 year old Jeremy Sims to get the number one pick. They also added a nice young veteran in Mihalis Zizilevs and a potential lottery pick on top. Why? Alexander Saavedra might be the worst #1 pick in WBA history so thats not looking very good. McKoy has talent but the unathletic 6’6 forward has long ways to go before making any impact at the WBA level. GM Pat Fullum had a shot at redemption going into free agency, having the most cap space of all teams. So he threw near max money on a decent center (decent players should not be offered max contracts) and signed point guard Omar Rozier to a maximum contract. The same guy who says he wants to win but signs with a directionless seven win team? Sure buddy, you want to win. If he is truly serious abount winning, he is asking for a trade in 3, 2, 1… This team won’t win seven games and will challenge the Tokyo Devils for the worst season ever (five wins). The buffoon GM needs to be let go, this team is going nowhere #FirePatFullum
Capetown Zulus 33-47
Ofsseason grade : C+
Returning : Klaas Binsenshaum, Coomas Neetar, Rufus Castellano, Conrado Gomez, Nicholas Evans, Eric Switzer, Bennie Lockridge, Buck Gee, Jim McCarthy Jr, Justin Crites,
Incoming : Justus Poulsen, Valentin Ghesquier, Rufino Clopes, George Weigan, Ronald Cole
Outgoing: Hancho Durant, Erroll Bierman, Samuel Blachford, Jasper Schmidt, Wu Dian-Fan
The Zulus drafted the best actual player in the draft in Finnish power forward Justus Poulson, en elite rebounder and a superior athlete. At 28, Poulson should definitely compete for the rookie of the year award. Losing a young asset like Hancho Durant hurts a bit as he was not replaced, the team only signing journeyman Ronald Cole in free agency. Rufino Clopes did come over from the IBF and solid backup center Valentin Ghesquier was added through the expansion draft. George Weigand was a great project selected in the second round, it will take a lot of patience but the 19 year old could become a rotation player in the WBA. The key of the offseason in Capetown is the development of Klaas Binsenshaum. The 24 year old is expected to take a key step this season after a very solid WBA rookie campaign. The sky is the limit for the German point guard and all hopes rest on his shoulders. No pressure Klaas.
Gabon Giants 65-15
Ofsseason grade : A+
Returning : Artie Duggons, Mathias Kurz, Kelley Brandon, Isidore Masquely, Urban Navratil, Sam White
Incoming : Chris Acklin, Guilhem Lamerand, Ajibayo Owusu, George Faup, Troy Belcher, Alton Francis, Yoshikazu Tawaraya, Tyrone Mason, Joe Vanlandingham
Outgoing: Brendan Avery, Abdiel Gordon, Javonte Bolk, Omar Jefferson, Vicente Cintron, Michael Dunn, Ian Tilmon, Lyman Coleman, Raphael Park
Wow. The Giants were planning for years to take a big swing this offseason and they nailed it, put the barrel squarely on the ball and knocked it out of the park. An already very good team was able to sign All-WBA talent Chris Acklin away from Edmonton in the biggest offseason move. Gabon had the 11th best offense last season and Acklin is the perfect fit to get them into elite offensive territory. Also coming over to Gabon is elite defender and rebounder Guilhem Lamerand. Both he and Acklin are superior defenders, which only makes the 3rd most efficient defense in the league last season even more dominant. It will be hard to score against the Giants and they will score at will, led by 7’2 phenom Artie Duggons and Acklin. Talking about Giants, Gabon might boast the biggest team in league history, going without a traditional point guard on the starting five and 6’7 Kelley Brandon starting there. The window for a title in Gabon is wide open and they might just get their first championship this season after winning the 2022 offseason.
Shanghai Pandas 40-40
Ofsseason grade : B+
Returning : Heinrich Rarich, Vitor Morales, Latrell McDyess, Jay Dickinson, Chance Crowley, Andre Rawlings, Curtis Allen, Senecca Redd
Incoming : Guy Welty, Waldemar Bergmeister, Roque Reyes, Walt Jackson, Pat Pulan, Poncio Delgado, Bernard Pak
Outgoing: Daren Benson, Lovas Marcinkevicius, PJ Gaffney, Wes Taylor, Scott Berger, Grant Gilbert
The Pandas look like they managed to get the steal of the draft when they selected shooting guard Weldemar Bergmeister with the 15th pick. The German rookie will compete for the rookie of the year award if given a big role in Shaghai’s rotation. The Pandas are somewhat deep at the guard and wing position but a starting backcourt of Bergmeister and fellow countryman Heinrich Rarich is looking like one of the league’s best. Wing scorer Roque Reyes will also join the team via the IBF and will be fighting for playing time or honing his skills in the D league. To keep progresing and play above ,500, the Pandas needed help up front through the draft or in free agency. They got a solid center in Guy Welty, a savvy inside scorer and solid shotblocker. Former all-WBA player and legend Walt Jackson was also brought in and might see some time at the starting power forward position if he has a litt
in the tank. The Pandas could win more than 40 games this season and they have the pieces to get that frontcourt player who could push them to the next level. Unfortunately quality bigs are scarce and expensive in this league and we will see how the Pandas manage with all those good guards and wings.