2021 Power Rankings - Week 1
- By Andrew Taylor, Day 8, 2021
2021 JBL POWER RANKINGS – WEEK 1
1. Houston Lightning (4-0, + 8.9)
‘Game over man. game over!’ With comfortable wins over two of their biggest conference rivals, with Swayda barely hitting second gear, the writing may already be on the wall for the other 29 teams.
2. Nashville Stars (3-0, + 4.8)
Held out for the 1 point win over their biggest conference rivals the Mustangs. Not quite as dominating as some of the teams below but the champs deserve respect. Oh, and they’d be happy they resigned Peeler right now.
3. Phoenix Vultures (3-0, + 12.4)
Not the most challenging schedule today but Banks and Fisher have started the season in awesome form. Will probably not remain this high for long but clearly ascending.
4. Chicago Jailbirds (2-0, + 9.0)
Undefeated against a mid-level schedule. Clarke has started strong after a down year by his standards in 2020. That could make a big difference during a long season.
5. St. Louis Skyhawks (3-1, + 15.0)
Obliterated the Devils, beat up the Tritons and held off the Thunder. Even with a loss to the championship favourites that’s a nice week. Hunter and Novak both looking like superstars.
6. Cincinnati Kings (3-0, + 16.4)
Beast up on some expansion teams but the home win against the Hurricanes was extremely encouraging. That is assuming they want to win games. Turner looks to have taken a big step forward in his sophomore year. However this team won’t be able to overcome horrendous shooting from Owens and Thybulle for long against a tougher schedule.
7. Detroit Mustangs (3-1, + 8.2)
Beat the teams they were meant to beat, including the Warriors without LaGarde. Will be disappointed to have lost to the Stars, but a 1-point loss on the road to the reigning champions is nothing but a positive sign given how recently this team came together.
8. Miami Cyclones (2-1, + 6.0)
Recorded solid wins over the Vipers and Devils. Chappell and Fortier have both started the season in fine touch and Curry has been on fire. Gamble’s production hasn’t been eye popping to date but he’s playing with the efficiency of a veteran right now.
9. Los Angeles Fireballs (2-1, + 6.2)
Beat the expansion teams but were run off the court by the Scorpions, which must have been deeply confusing given their recent conference finals series. LaCruz already looking like a lock for the All-JBL 1st team but the front office would be disappointed with Stafford’s limited offensive production to date.
10. Pittsburgh Vipers (2-1, + 4.8)
Won their 2 home games against fellow expansion teams and lost on the road to the Cyclones. Young is leading the team in scoring, but Kendrick Hill is the big story. He’s averaging close to a triple double and already looks like one of the most exciting players in the league.
11. New Orleans Hurricanes (2-1, + 1.3)
Their big three have started the season in meticulous touch and they are seeing some solid wing production from Howard and McIntosh. But Bentley’s shooting is hurting them, although his playmaking touch has been a pleasant surprise. If he can start hitting a respectable percentage this team could climb quickly.
12. Mexico City Jaguars (2-1, 0.0)
In decent shape at 2-1 with a solid home win over the Rockets. But with Hooker and Martin both scoring efficiently in the front court maybe the backcourt should feed them the ball a little bit more and jack up a few less shots.
13. Seattle Thunder (2-2, + 1.2)
Pissed off their GM immensely with back to back losses against two of the likely top 3 teams in the conference. However quickly returned to form with a big win over the Dragons and a close win on the road against the Scorpions. Tarver has looked great in the starting role.
14. Oakland Tritons (2-2, + 3.7)
Made the Lightning work for it in the season opener and then quickly notched big wins over two expansion teams. Finished the week with a big loss to the Skyhawks on the road however Zeke has responded well to his promotion to the starting line-up and Coleman has been stable at the point.
15. Las Vegas Scorpions (2-2, + 10.0)
Lamar Franchise has started the season on fire, averaging 41ppg for the week. The team is clearly much better than 15th but hurt themselves badly with a loss to the expansion Lumberjacks. Teams that want to be in contention can’t afford those kinds of lapses.
16. Portland Lumberjacks (2-2, 0.0)
Lost on the road to the Fireballs in a game where the Hawk had his wings clipped. However, the team and its franchise player rebounded with a fantastic win over the Scorpions. On a side note L-Train is currently earning more than $2M per minute played.
17. Atlanta Devils (2-2, -11.6)
Started the season with a horrific loss to the Skyhawks but rebounded by taking care of business against two expansion teams. The loss to the Cyclones will be disappointing but the team should focus on the positives like Spencer’s strong start. But one thing to address might be Slattery’s minutes. Your superstar needs to be getting more than 29 minutes per game.
18. Oklahoma City Barons (1-2, + 0.6)
Opened the season with a win against the Blizzards at home and ended it with a competitive loss against the lightning. Likely to slide down the rankings from here with a tough slate over the next week. However, the most important thing is the play of Idris Berkley who has been phenomenal to date and the likely leader in the rookie of the year race.
19. Kansas City Knights (1-2, - 2.3)
Lost close games to the Rockets and Jailbirds before pulling out a 1-point win against the Huskies. Hawes is in great touch but most importantly Honeycutt has started the season hot as well. He’ll need to hold this form better than last year if the team is going to compete for a playoff spot.
20. Toronto Huskies (1-2, - 2.4)
The loss to the Jailbirds on opening night was to be expected but the team will be disappointed not to have gotten the road win against the Knights. Barry has started the season in fine form and Houston looks to have improved his game considerably in year 2. Unfortunately, the Big Q’s slow start has cost them a little but this is a team that’s likely to only climb the rankings from here.
21. Philadelphia Warriors (1-3, - 2.0)
The team has played better than their record suggests with 2 of their losses coming on the road against the predicted conference finalists; the Mustangs and Stars. Meanwhile, Fontaine has performed well in his new starting role but the most important thing is clearly the form of Weaver who has come back ready to play averaging 28-11-4 in the first week.
22. Austin Rockets (1-2, - 4.1)
The team went 1-2 despite the strong play of Wingfield and Nyambi as both Goodwin and James started the season cold from the field. Most upsetting will be the loss to the Vultures at home, which suggests that the Vultures may be ready to take their division crown off their hands sooner than they anticipated.
23. Baltimore Bullets (0-3, - 2.9)
Lost all 3 of their games by 4 points but the team is pleased with what they’ve shown to date. Strickland has started the season in all-star form and Dozier rebounded well after a tough first game. But the team is leading the league in turnovers and until they develop more comfort in the offense their record is unlikely to improve.
24. Denver Dragons (0-3, - 9.1)
Had a terrible schedule to start the season which made the 0-3 start almost inevitable. However, the team should be encouraged by the signs shown by some of its veteran pickups such as Brown and McCaffrey. Van Bree also showed some flashes but OB1 may do well to shut his ego up until he hits .300 from the field.
25. New York Renegades (0-2, - 9.4)
It’s only two games, but I’m already uncomfortable with my preseason playoff prediction for the Renegades. Ikeafor has started well and Bradley is averaging 38 ppg but this is not a deep team. The team has a gentle schedule this week with 4 games against non-playoff level opposition. This time next week we should know more.
26. Charlotte Drones (1-2, - 7.6)
Lost their opening two games of the season against the Mustangs and Devils but ended the week with a win over the Colonels. They should be very pleased with the play of their big three, such as it is, especially Khalen Anthony who has looked great, averaging 21-8 for the week.
27. Boston Crusaders (1-2, - 11.8)
Tough losses to the Kings and Warriors bookended the week with a solid win against the Colonels in the middle. Some of their wing platoon members had a nice opening week but the big story here is Devon Harrell who looks to be a future superstar after a big first week.
28. Dallas Predators (1-2, -22.0)
Struggled offensively in opening loses to the Scorpions and Vipers but rebounded in their week ending victory over the Colonels. Wade gets a pass, but the team will need guys like Cousins and Weekes to shoot better than .300 to get to where they need to be offensively.
29. Louisville Colonels (0-4, - 8.7)
Colonels had a rough week and will be disappointed not to have snagged a win during their 3 game home stand against non-playoff opposition. The injury to Kidd will hurt them in the short term but the change to Donlon will be a long term positive. Akele flashed his awesome potential in the loss to the Predators with 39-15-8.
30. Minneapolis Blizzards (0-3, - 22.7)
They’ll be disappointed with the big loss to the Barons but shouldn’t worry about the losses to the Tritons and Fireballs, two playoff teams with a lot of offensive firepower. Claxton is doing his bit on that end, although his efficiency is lacking, but they will need another scorer to emerge. Galloway has started strong but he’s not an offensive threat.