Best of the Rest – Eastern Conference

-Zagrieb Zano

Just like we have done with the Western Conference, we now visit the Eastern Conference. We know that Toronto, Miami, Brooklyn, London and Paris are pretty much a shoe-in. Although These teams are not as dominate as their western counterparts. Paris, squeezes in with a measly .600 winning percentage.

Long Island is a respectable 15-11. Anytime you have Wayne Taylor’s 31 Points per game you should always be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Followed up with Danny Hainge’s 25.9 points a game, and one has to ask themselves shouldn’t they be competing for a division title? I believe they are outmatched by Toronto, but they could easily compete for 2nd place.  If they can figure out how to play a bit better defense, and allow a mere 3 points less a game, they instantly are competing for 2nd place.  If they can some how increase their perimeter defense, while keeping Taylor/Hainge, then this team becomes dangerous very quickly.

Speaking of teams that would be dangerous if they could play defense. The highlanders are one of the most exciting teams in the WBA. They lead the league in scoring, but then they also are dead last in scoring allowed. Having top draft pick Ira Redwine has proved to be a great selection.  With Law, Rice and Mr. Free Throw Atrides averaging over 20 points a game. They are a team that nobody wants to face. The Referees love them and give them every call. If they could move Corrigan to pick up some quality defensive players, that could have them competing for a division title. Although he is their best rebounder. They simply need players who can slow opposing players down. If they can do that, then this team becomes not only exciting to watch, but they are a danger to win nearly every game they play which is a little bit better than the 0-82 that GM Daubanton claimed would be their record.

I really like what joe LoMonaco has done with the Cincinnati hitmen.  While they lack a true star on their team. Former Top 3 pick Dennis Evans leads the team in scoring, but their starting 5 are averaging double digits in scoring. They are averaging being outscored by two points a game and yet they have a winning record. They have beaten some of the league’s top teams, Miami, London, Capetown. Their blue collar approach may not be having them compete for a championship. They seem willing to bide their time as they have 5 picks in the upcoming draft. They are not an easy out by any means. They are going to have a lot of cap space to work with. As they are one of the least expensive teams in the league.

When you talk about Rochester, it always begins with the prolific scoring of SG Dave Williams. He has been averaging nearly 33 points a game. Although lately with a dislocated shooting shoulder, he hasn’t been scoring at all.  They have been playing 50-50 ball for the most part. It seems to me that the rest of their team simply goes into watch mode when Williams has the ball. While they have some solid players in Van Brandy and Phelan. It appears they just don’t work well together. They are not a cohesive unit. They have been plagued with poor defensive play in the 2nd half of games. One can only guess if they will try to make a splash to move a player or two out and get role players that fit the system better. And that system is give the ball to Dave Williams, and let him do what he wants.

Albacete, is one of those teams that has been devastated by injuries. As they celebrate Harry Jarvis scoring over 20,000 points in his career. When Tyler Kane went down early, the thought was, once he was back then this team would quickly move towards a competition with London for the division title. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone that way so far. Facing a three game losing streak where Miami was padding his stats in back to back games.  In fact, Miami has beaten Albacete all three times, and that becomes important because there is a high likelihood that they will meet each other in the first round of the playoffs if Albacete makes it to the post season.  Tyler Kane has played in 10 games out of 28. And he is averaging 4 points, and 3 assists a game. In fact, Pete Nelson and Geoffrey Caldwell are playing significantly better, one wonders why Kane is even g4etting playing time. This team needs to find a point guard that can pass. While Jarvis keeps walking through the door on game night, he is one the lone bright spot on a team that has no identity.

Baltimore struggles with the art of rebounding. And if they don’t solve that problem, they will not be making the playoffs. They have the former #1 draft pick in Fonzarelli whom they are still waiting to see if he will jump the shark. If he can make that leap, then it will encourage other players to come live in Baltimore. Like the other teams on this list they have battled with injuries. When Don Laine broke his ribs, they lost their top rebounder. They are good enough to shock a good team on an off night, but its more of an exception to the rule. They are started to play .500 ball the last two weeks. If they can continue to do so they may be able to close in on some of the other lower teams.  Fortunately, they have their own draft pick, so if they are not able to compete for the playoffs at least they will have a lottery pick that could be a big piece to the puzzle.

I predict the following teams will end up in the playoffs:

Long Island Mayhem
Andorra highlanders
Rochester Raiders

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