By Mike Begley
One unique aspect of the WBA, one detail that sets it apart from any other basketball or sports league in general is that by its very nature the league spans the entire global spectrum. This unparalleled diversity adds a richness to the league but also brings certain concerns into question, especially for visiting teams, for example: logistical travel issues, jet lag, culture shock, culinary adaptation, just to name a few. These circumstances perhaps shed some light as to why home court advantage is so advantageous.
Indeed, home court advantage is so helpful that out of thirty teams only six teams hold winning records on the road. Based on my playing experience I will bet the WBA champion will emerge from this elite pack. You can look at any stat but this distinction is what sets apart the chumps from the champs. This is the true indicator of a team’s maturity, cohesiveness, and ability to thrive under pressure. This is the furnace from which the WBA champion will emerge.
The road must be taken seriously. Anyone can defend one’s home but to conquer another is a different matter. From the moment these six teams land in foreign territory they arrive with one purpose – to win. Either these teams have found ways to improve their players performance through scientifically engineered diets, sleep schedules and training regimens or they possess something else entirely.
What that is this article will examine by looking at which players are leading the charge for these six teams who can rightfully call themselves the kings of the road. The following lists corresonding road records and league leaders per league rank:
Rage: 19-14 – Disruptive defenders
MPG: Al Herbert (2) / Omar Jefferson (23)
PPG: Mario Bailey (4) / Omar Jefferson (23)
APG: Omar Jefferson (9)
RPG: Al Herbert (12)
SPG: Mario Bailey (3) / Al Herbert (9) / Omar Jefferson (18)
BPG: Al Herbert (8) / Jarius Miles (25)
FG%: Mario Bailey (7)
3P%: Omar Jefferson (20)
Although currently tied for the league’s best record the Rage are only 6th road wins. Heavy minutes may tend to favor the home floor in this case. Though there is no question a defense this disruptive can do damage on any floor. Regardless, if the Rage can retain home court advantage they may be able to slide into a championship while resting on the road.
Bears: 19-14 – Paint enforcers
MPG: Bishop Stein (9) / Simeon Hill (22)
PPG: Bishop Stein (14)
APG: Bishop Stein (12)
RPG: Simeon Hill (1) / Marquez Houston (5)
SPG: J.J. McCauley (16)
BPG: Lou Gonzalez (1) Simeon Hill (14)
FG%: Lou Gonzalez (19)
3P%: Bishop Stein (25)
Enforcing the paint is as consistent a trait as it gets, and for the Bears it travels well. Though already a solid rebounding team the trade for Simeon Hill has given the Bears the most dominant rebounding duo with Marquez Houston. This is a scary matchup if Stein can capitalize on all those extra shot attempts. He more than likely will.
Juggers: 19-14 – Championship pedigree
MPG: Scott Lio (25)
APG: Scott Lio (22)
BPG: Jay Vasquez (7) / Jim McCarthy (13)
FG%: Jay Vasquez (24)
Who said the defending champs had fallen off? With the 4th best road record in the league this team is primed to upset a top seed be it the Dino’s or Rage. With no remarkable league this team rides on chemistry and it appears to be back in full force. Primed for another run you can count on this team figuring out a way to win.
Outlaws: 20-11 – Dominant starters
MPG: Parker Mason (11)
PPG: Ahmed Dougherty (16) / Parker Mason (17)
APG: Paul Carroll (14) / Parker Mason (15)
RPG: Reed Moses (16) / Kent Mercer (20)
SPG: Parker Mason (3) / Lonnie Gerson (11)
BPG: Reed Moses (5)
FG%: Reed Moses (4)
3P%: Parker Mason (10) / Ahmed Dougherty (14)
Perhaps the most dominant starting lineup in the league, each starter is indeed a league leader in one or more categories. With this engine, and the glue off the bench, this team is a well oiled machine, and when all parts are running there is not a more dominant team. Tied for the league’s best record the Outlaws are primed for a championship run.
Fanatics: 21-11 – Balance
PPG: Eugene LaMaitre (23)
APG: Austyn Williams (7)
RPG: Wally Birkhead (9)
SPG: Austyn Williams (19) / Cordell Parks (20)
3P%: Austyn Williams (6)
The Fanatics have no player among the league’s leaders in minutes played. This makes one wonder, is the team’s success attributed to their depth or will this team be even more dominant in the playoffs when the starters see increased minutes? Yes, stay tuned, this question will be revealed in the playoffs.
Dinos: 22-11 – 3 and D
PPG: Walt Jackson (6)
APG: Jervan Timmons (2)
RPG: Walt Jackson (11)
SPG: Jervan Timmons (2) / Brandon Morfeld (15)
BPG: Mike Bennett (12)
3P%: Walt Jackson (12) / Pat London (17) / Jeremy Sims (22)
Though a dandy of GSPN highlights, the Dinos have been criticized for their erratic playing style and mid-season deals, yet despite all this, hold the league’s best record on the road. When you have arguably the league’s best player you will likely be not too far behind from being the league’s best team. Though adding elite shooters, tenacious defenders, and a unique playing style will certainly help the cause. Are the Dino’s the favorites to win the Championship? Who knows but they are the favorites to steal a game on the road.
So what do the kings of the road share? Dominant scorers? No, not necessarily. Efficient scorers will do. One gold star to whoever can see the common denominator. Bingo! Who’s that in the back? Zagrieb? Yes, sir each of these teams, without exception is anchored by a dominant defender or 2, or 3, or 5 if your the Rage. It also helps to have some of the league’s best shooters raining down massive amounts of 3’s. So far 3 and D seems to be the unifying factor unless your the Juggers who just somehow impose the will to win. Feel free to draw your own conclusions, at the end of the day the winning formula may be as simple as daily exercise and going to bed early.