WRITTEN BY: PROFESSOR X
Welcome new GM’s and players to the first inaugural ETBL 'Competitive Division'. For those of you that played before you know Professor X tells it like it is and deals only with facts. Here is a little preseason gift for the ETBL world. The Power Rankings will try and establish what the true order of the league will be. I believe there will be a hierarchy of tiers but we will get into that later as the season progresses. It’s always fun to look back at mid season and see how many teams were slotted correctly. Some teams are a question mark as the players are new to the league and a complete wildcard when trying to assess skill and chemistry level. It will be controversial but if you feel slighted...then get busy when the season starts. The race to be in the top 12 is going to be incredible and some teams will be heavily disappointed in missing the playoffs. Best of luck to everyone!
1. WARRIORS: The team to beat in the inaugural season. I debated between 2 other teams but settled on the Warriors as they have the scoring, size, depth, and an experienced GM. Chris, Jah, Ryan and Aagash is a formidable foursome and then they got some decent depth of the bench. If they can figure out the chemistry early then they will be in great shape when it counts.
2. BULLS: GM Brett aka “Hit Manz” has put together a SOLID SOLID SOLID team. Very skilled at all positions and with built in chemistry due to number of them being friends. I can’t see many weaknesses and they will surely be a contender in the end. They could use their speed to run in transition and also use their IQ to run half court sets. They got versatile defenders and a lot of depth. The chip could be going to the Windy City.
3. MAGIC: GM Randy just came off a finals run in the Elite League and came up just short. He will take his revenge on the Competitive Division with Javed and Kris who should be highly motivated to get back a final. Except this time they look to close the job and win it! The pieces are there for a serious run. Great backcourt. Great bench. Good experience and IQ. Not much size overall and that might be their achillies heel. Will they be able to close out possessions and get the boards when it matters? When you got Kris G...you are in every game.
4. BLAZERS: On paper this team doesn’t look threatening and I can see why some would not rank them this high. However, I have seen first hand what Duzan is able to do with lesser talented teammates and this guy is a straight up killer and my early vote for MVP. It will be fun to watch how other teams are going to game plan for him. Can Ahash and Anson be the supporting stars on this team to make them a contender? Can the new guys bring some energy and hit timely shots to alleviate the pressure off Duzan? If not it will be Duzan time all the time.
5. CLIPPERS: This selection is based off what I heard from other players around the league. They could easily be the best team in the league if the rumors are true. Time will tell. The GM and players are unproven but equipped with great size and athleticism. GM Sajeethan is new on the scene and we shall see how quickly he gets this team ready for action. Avery looks like the star of the squad and he is going to be filling it up this season. Clip City, Chip City?
6. CAVALIERS: These kids really showed me something as the Tier 1 Season was ending. Much of the season they were unsure if they belonged in the top tier and played nervous. When the MVP of the league gets hurt 5 minutes into the game you have 2 choices as a team - fold, make excuses and look for a way out...or...pull together and dig deep. The young players stepped up and almost pulled off the upset in the playoffs. Very excited to see the growth of this team in the Competitive Division and I expect them to make some major strides this season.
7. SUNS: Not going to lie. They’re placed here because they have a 6’6” guy (Sabit) who will change all shots in his radius. Scoring will not be easy with him on the court. What holds this team back is their ability to score themselves. Kapi is the only one that can create his own shot. He will need to be in facilitate mode to get the best out of the rest of the guys. Eric and Adrian are the x-factors and they could be the biggest reason why this team contends or flops.
8. RAPTORS: How far can chemistry take you. Well, we’re about to find out. They lack star power but play an unselfish game that is pleasing to the eye. They will be a tough out for any team but ultimately, I don’t see them as one of the legit contenders. GM Treveen will have to really scout other teams and have his team completely focused for them to really make some noise.
9. NETS: Word on the street is that the Commissioner is a Republican supporter and hates the idea of reparations. What does this have to do with the Nets? If you know, you know. This is a team I root for. Great set of guys and a GM you want to play for. This squad has good depth but much like the teams mentioned before...they are missing “the guy”. Team ball will have to be their calling card if they want to make a deep run. A different guy might step up every game and that could be a powerful weapon down the stretch.
10. GRIZZLIES: GM Gogs will try his luck in the Comp division and if anything he will deserve some breaks this season. He had a rough one in season 6 and 7 and so let's wipe the slate clean and start fresh here. Mustafa and Marquise will be solid for them and we will see what the new guys will bring to the table. New season...new team...new beginnings.
11. KINGS: Their roster leaves me with more questions than answers. The team is made up of primarily players that played in division one and they ended up finishing second last. Two of their top players are not returning (Yanick and Cole). They do have a deep roster full of guys who can play some basketball but how will GM Lloyd balance the playing time and all the personalities. They will automatically do better in this division but sorry to say I can’t see them lighting the beam too often.
12. NUGGETS: Much like the Kings, I find the roster of the Nuggets lacking. Most of the players underpreformed badly when we last saw them. When your best players have zero playoff experience and consistanly finish last in the standings...you are in for a tough year. The 3 time GM of the year (Ray Surjubally) will have his work cut out for him as the roster lacks basketball IQ and skill.
13. WOLVES: Relatively unknown but we got some familiar faces. Alvin and Jamshed are guys who have played in the higher division and they should have enough experience to help this new team. GM Terrence is going to have his hands full trying to figure out the league and let's see if he is a quick learner. He may want to lean on the vets to help him early on.
14. HORNETS: There is no buzzzz on this team and that is what they probably want. Stay under the radar and sting some teams during the season. Sugee is solid and he will have his chance at leading a team of his own for once. Let's see if he brought some players with him though. The size looks good and let's see if they can get organized quickly and build up some momentum.
15. HEAT: Just don't know enough about them to justify them being higher in the rankings. I don't hear a star name except for Malcolm King who will definitely have a huge impact on this team. But one guy isn't going to carry a team in what looks like a competitive balanced league. This is the time for these Heat players to make a name for themselves and prove me wrong!
16. LAKERS: Got some youth and guys that could possibly ball out but I don't think they are ready for a mens league quite yet. I envision a lot of turnovers and low quality shots. It is usually the type of basketball you get from a newer younger squad. Jonathan Erua looks like he will dominate on the boards and give them some defence but who is going to get buckets on the offensive end? Lakersssss...can you do somethin for meeee?