LA Confidential: The Primetime Fireballs Season Preview; Welcome to The Fireshow
- By Jron Magcale, Day 1, 2025
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs didn't make a big splash in the offseason this year, instead they kept their core back and added a veteran wing that would be vital for the team's plans moving forward. This is a rather tamed move from GM Jron who is known to make moves every now and then. This season, it is pretty much been keeping the core players from last season intact. "I think I have said it a thousand times that we are committed to the plan we set last offseason about having a 3-season plan, like I said this is season 2 and the biggest move we can do is retain the core guys. It was Plan A1 and A2 and the rest is just filling the gaps." GM Jron said about their offseason moves or lack thereof. Let's see what moves that the Fireballs made this offseason shall we:
- Exercised Team Option for SG/SF Cortez Ellison
- Traded PG Ashley Winters and 2026 Barons 2nd Round Pick for SF Shandon James
- Signed Eddie Woods as an Assistant Coach for $10.5M for 3 years ($3.5M/year)
- Re-signed PF/SF Randall Dozier $32M for 2 years ($16M/year)
- Re-signed C/PF James Spencer $61.6M for 4 years ($15.4M/year)
- Signed C/PF Uduak Adenrele $1M for 1 year (Minimum Salary)
- Signed SG Ty Davidson $1.5M for 1 year (Veteran Minimum Salary)
- Signed PG Tyson Ferguson $1M for 1 year (Minimum Salary)
- Signed PG/SG AJ Aly $1M for 1 year (Minimum Salary)
- Signed PF/C Jawon Tyndell $1M for 1 year (Minimum Salary)
Basically the key move there was the re-signing Doze and Spencer followed by the acquisition of Shandon James and Eddie Woods signing as an assistant coach. The Woods acquisition was critical than most think, with the Fireballs heavy Pace and Space system, coach Woods fits like a glove on being the offensive coordinator of sorts for the Fireballs, fine tuning the Alton Wilkes-version of it and making it the most prolific offense coming into the season with dangerous and familiar weapons at their disposal. Woods is known as the greatest 6th man of all time, will also help the transition of young wing Cortez Ellison who is rumored to play the 6th man role this season. The rest of the moves were filling the roster with minimum salaries to keep the team's roster full at 15 players.
The team's top 3 players are now in their prime Chris LaCruz and Jamaine Curry both at 28 years old while James Spencer is 27 years old, that is an indication of the team's higher expectation this season. The Primetime Fireballs as the media calls them will be under a microscope and will be expected to win games. Last season they were a joy to watch as their run and gun offense was in full effect despite just building their cohesion, LaCruz and Curry was America's best backcourt pouring on a combined 55.1 ppg, 13.8 apg, 10.2 rpg, 4.07 spg and 1.12 bpg while shooting 47% FG, 35% 3FG and 81% FT, numbers that translates to wins and also helped to be the ranked #2 scoring team in the country at also #2 fastest pace as well. James Spencer's career year also helped as he notched 18.5 ppg and 13.5 rpg both career highs and was also tailor fitted to the Pace and Space system of the Fireballs as their 3rd star. The former #2 pick overall showed more than flashes of what he brings to the table and now is ready to continue where he left off. So, what can we expect from the Primetime Fireballs this season? Let us check:
PG Chris LaCruz - Primed for another MVP-worthy season, he improved his defense and shooting on training camp. Most notably his in-between game, there is an obvious improvement to his mid-range game that will take his offense to another level this season, with a year under his belt having cohesion with the team's core and the addition of assistant coach Eddie Woods there is no telling how good a season this is for LaCruz.
SG Jamaine Curry - Curry have enjoyed a solid season last year and is expecting to step up even further, he improved his defense considerably and also his shooting especially from the outside. The Fireballs employs Pace and Space system that was heavy on pick and roll, transition, iso and spot ups and those are they key play styles where Curry and LaCruz excels thus them being the best offensive guard tandem last season. Expect Curry to be the 2nd star next to LaCruz which he played real well last season.
SG Ty Davidson - Ty Davidson played 3 seasons with the Fireballs before so he is familiar with how the system up in LA works. He won't have much role with the team but will be a good insurance if needed be. He is an athletic scorer who can score either attacking or shooting from the outside, the Australian wing is also an underrated ball handler and can take pressure off the PGs given the chance.
PG Tyson Ferguson - Has made a reputation as a sharpshooter from the guard position, Ferguson has been signed to backup the PG position after a intense position battle vs AJ Aly and Jabari El-Amin, his experience and skill set blends with the Fireballs system and expect him to find minutes at the point position during the course of the season. His defense is concerning but he is a specialty player that plays is role well enough to merit playing time.
PG/SG AJ Aly - The 6'3" combo guard almost fought his way for a backup role but being away from the league for 2 seasons have shown during the position battle. He did improved his defense a little bit but overall Tyson Ferguson had the upper hand. He will likely be in a reserve role but for sure will be ready when his name is called upon.
PG Jabari El-Amin - The 2nd year guard is still too raw for the grinds of the JBL, although he showed some solid improvements on training camp overall. His scoring and defense have been impressive but the trend going into the season that he will be sent to the J-League to further hone his skills. But the management has been happy on his development.
SF Shandon James - A key acquisition of the Fireballs this offseason giving up veteran PG Ashley Winters and a future 2nd rounder for the services of the veteran scoring wing. At 33 years old, still a capable veteran that can start and contribute, known as a scoring wing that helped elite bigs like Kaiama Nyambi and Kelvin Hawes, this time he will help a dominant backcourt instead of frontcourt. He is listed as a starter from the media kits and will be a mentor to wing Cortez Ellison as well. Although obviously saw regression being a step slower than his usual he did improve on his defense and outside shooting which will be key on his position and role with the Fireballs.
SG/SF Cortez Ellison - The flamboyant wing out of USC had an up and down season last year but the Fireballs believes in the kid's potential and willing to give him a crucial role this season. He was the starting SF last season but with the acquisition of veteran wing Shandon James, he will need to slide at the 6th man position with minutes at both SG and SF positions. If he excels on that role, he might be a darkhorse candidate for 6th man of the year.
SF Davon McKay - McKay surprises a lot of people with his contributions last season as a reliable scorer off the bench and that is what he brings to the table, a 6'6" wing that isn't afraid to score when his number is called upon. He is still a developing wing with immense potential. The 23 year old wing has improved significantly from his defense, rebounding and scoring the team have seen vast improvement. He also bulked up from 228 to 233 making him a bit stronger to fully utilize his size and skill at the wings. He will get be part of the team's wing rotation and his role as a scorer off the will play a vital part on the Fireballs system.
SF Quinn Dziagwa - Last season's 2nd round pick Ziggy Dziagwa played in the start of the season but seen his role diminish as the team acquired veteran help. That is not a knack on the kid's skillset but rather the team's need to get veteran help. This season the team plans on sending the 3&D wing to the J-League to further earn experience and playing time before being a regular part of the rotation in the future, the versatile mobile wing has interesting skill set that would benefit the team's system and while he is developing it in the J-League he'll have help from the vets. He improved well especially in his defense and shooting he also added muscle which is vital since he is just at 201 lbs last season.
PF/SF Randall Dozier - One of the most important signings for the Fireballs this season is hoping to breakout of his shell. The combo forward will likely find some minutes anywhere from SF up to C as he did last season but rumors have that he might see more time at C than SF as his secondary position this season the very reason he bulked up a bit from 233 to 239, adding more muscle to bang inside with the best of them. A versatile forward that can really be effective defensively, he worked on his rebounding and have learned from James Spencer all of last season too. He will be expected to be better on the boards this season. His outside shooting is evolving to stretch 4 territory and that is something that he needs to master if he wants to take his game to the next level.
C/PF James Spencer - Spencer opted to sign for 4 seasons with the Fireballs committing his prime years with LA. After giving him his big break last season being the team's 3rd star and #1 defender next to Doze inside. Spencer has finally living to his draft pedigree. His numbers shoot up last season and the team is expecting for him to continue the trend. He basically took a pay cut to stay in LA, so that is a big commitment on his part. He improved significantly on camp and focused more on defense and all aspects of it, he is a vital part of the new Fireballs and has been working hard to help the team go deeper this season and beyond.
PF Anthony Egekeze - To put it simple, Zeke earned every minute he has played in LA. LaCruz calls him "The Enforcer" the ultimate role player as he does all the dirty work to make the grind work in LA. A defensive undersized 4 who showed he can play his role really, really well. At 6'7" he played minutes at 4 and 5 last season and showed that his effectiveness setting screens and defending the paint, rebounding and occasionally score buckets is a lost art. This season he will be tasked to do more of the same and help the team win using his intangibles and hustle. He improved his defense even more while also working on his scoring as well to help the team in more ways.
PF/C Jawon Tyndell - Another undersized 4 that resembles his skillset from Egekeze, Tyndell will most likely be insurance if Zeke goes down. A strong rebounder and inside defender who shows he can also be a finisher. He brings youth and energy in the Fireballs bench. He worked on his weaknesses like his free throw shooting, mid range and outside while also working on endurance getting ready for a lot of running in LA. Overall the coaches sees that Tyndell did improved and worked hard. He is eerily similar with Egekeze's skill set and player type which is good to see that role-wise it won't be a hard transition.
C Uduak Adenrele - The young skinny center was signed to address the frontcourt depth and is tagged to play as a backup 5. The 24 years old former 45th pick selection hasn't had the chance to showcase his talent yet as he just have 25 games under his belt in 2 seasons with 2 different teams. He might have the chance in LA if he show he has potential but right now the 7' 216 lbs beanpole center hasn't showed much. He didn't impress in training camp and as a matter of fact regressed losing his spot to the 6'7" undersized big Tyndell. He might be heading to a reserve role but the team is being patient with him as of press time.
The team is looking primed for a playoff run with the current set up with 1 season worth of cohesion by the core and the key acquisition of veteran wing contributor in Shandon James and an even vital acquisition of brilliant and champion coach Eddie Woods to further improve the Pace and Space system known this season as "The Primetime Fireballs" or "The Fireshow" an ode to the fast paced system that is primetime-worthy show, game in and game out to the fans. The Fireballs is expected to win 50 games this season with the firepower the team has with an outside chance for homecourt if everything falls into places. "Strap on your seatbelts and hold on for the ride, the Fireballs is on Primetime and center stage. Welcome to the greatest show on earth, The Fireshow." GM Jron said to the media addressing the confidence he has to his team this 2025 season.