2021 Power Rankings - Week 3
- By Andrew Taylor, Day 26, 2021
2021 JBL POWER RANKINGS – WEEK 3 (Up to Day 21)
1. Seattle Thunder (7-2, + 8.8) (+ 12 Spots)
The Thunder won all 5 of their games during this period, including big wins over the Stars and Mustangs. Tarver’s solid form has continued but the big story is Andre Phifer who is playing a more efficient, well rounded game than we’ve seen in past years. If this continues not only will Phifer likely grab Cheaney’s spot on the 1st Team but he will be a legitimate MVP candidate for the first time in his career.
2. Houston Lightning (8-3, + 6.4) (- 1 Spot)
The Lightning would likely have held their spot at the top of the rankings if not for the 2-game injury sustained by Ryan Collinson, the team’s 5th and largely anonymous starter. During his time out, the team lost to both the Renegades and the Devils on the road, highlighting the team’s lack of depth. It’s hard to see anyone taking out this juggernaut at full strength but at least we know it bleeds now.
3. Las Vegas Scorpions (8-3, + 11.9) (+ 12 Spots)
Went 6-1 over the past two weeks with their only loss a close game on the road against the defending champions. More importantly they took care of the teams they should with big wins over the Bullets and Predators. And they did most of this with HP a healthy scratch. Hopefully his dissatisfaction doesn’t impact the team going forward.
4. St. Louis Skyhawks (8-3, + 7.6) (+ 1 Spot)
Had some great wins on the road against the Vultures and Rockets but will be disappointed with their loss to the Warriors at home. Novak is in All-JBL team form but Hunter has settled slightly after his red hot start.
5. New Orleans Hurricanes (9-1, + 7.9) (+ 6 Spots)
Have gone undefeated since the last edition of the rankings with the highlight a home win against the Jailbirds. But with the remainder of the schedule a bit soft it’s very hard to put the team any higher right now. The big 3 are all in good touch, the production of the wing trio (Bentley, Howard, McIntosh) has been great and Loyola looks a steal too. If they can deliver that statement win they’ll jump very close to the top of these rankings.
6. Phoenix Vultures (7-3, + 6.2) (- 3 Spots)
Went 4-3 since the last rankings but retain a high place because all three losses came against strong opposition; the Scorpions, Skyhawks and Lightning. All the team’s starters are in good touch and meshing well but the team could potentially use an additional contributor off the bench moving forward. The team isn’t a serious contender this year but home court is very much in play.
7. Chicago Jailbirds (6-2, + 0.2) (- 3 Spots)
The Jailbirds went 4-2 with both losses coming against better quality opposition in the Hurricanes and the Cyclones. However, 3 weeks into the season the team barely has a positive net rating and still hasn’t found that extra contributor off the bench. Stone is showing signs of growth and looks to be pushing for Dupree’s starting spot.
8. Cincinnati Kings (8-2, + 7.6) (- 2 Spots)
The Kings continue to fail at ‘The Process’ by going 5-2 over the past two weeks, with an impressive win against the Stars on the road the clear highlight. Black is playing career best ball and Ferguson has been extremely good for an undrafted rookie but Turner has definitely cooled since his hot start. We don’t anticipate they’ll stay this high in the rankings for long, but so far this is team easily surpassing expectations.
9. Los Angeles Fireballs (6-4, + 6.5) (No Change)
Started the period with a strong win at home over the Stars but followed it up with a 3-game losing streak. However, all three losses were to quality teams and the Fireballs rebounded to record a 3-game win streak against expansion teams. Perhaps most importantly they have demoted Fortune and seen some positive signs from Davidson who replaced him as starting SG.
10. Detroit Mustangs (6-4, + 4.3) (- 3 Spots)
The team went 3-3 over the past two weeks with all three losses coming to teams .500 or above. The Rockets loss in particular can be excused as Pace missed that game. In decent shape right now but they are likely to improve as the season continues and cohesion builds.
11. Toronto Huskies (6-3, + 2.6) (+ 9 Spots)
The Huskies righted the ship after a disappointing first week going 5-1 with their only loss coming to the ascending Vultures. Barry continues to lead the way averaging over 30ppg whilst the Big Q is seeing plenty of court time and has settled into a supporting low usage role.
12. Miami Cyclones (6-4, + 4.3) (-4 Spots)
Started the period with 4 wins in a row to take their streak to 5 but then proceeded to lose 3 in a row, 2 of which were to expansion teams. The team is seeing solid production across the board, but The Dragon’s inefficiency is hurting them. Will be curious to see how they handle the SF spot whilst he is out with an injury.
13. Nashville Stars (5-4, - 2.7) (- 11 Spots)
Won 2 and lost 4 since the last rankings but most of the losses were against playoff level opposition except for a disappointing loss to the Kings. Peeler has cooled a little but this has just opened things up for Craig to ramp up his own scoring. What the team does seem to be missing is any semblance of offensive production from the C spot. It might be time to replace Vancendak.
14. Portland Lumberjacks (5-4, + 3.6) (+ 2 Spots)
A particular team was punished in the last power rankings for dropping a game to the ‘Jacks. What we now know is that the Jacks are not your average expansion team. Although Hawk is leading the way with 22-8 per game the entire team is producing efficiently, vet and rookie alike. At this point the Lumberjacks will be in the thick of the playoff race at the end of the season.
15. Mexico City Jaguars (6-3, + 3.4) (- 3 Spots)
The Jags went 4-2 with road losses to the Jailbirds and Colonels. Encouragingly for the team’s efficiency they’ve started to get Hooker more involved on offense and he is now over 18ppg. However our long term questions around the plausibility of their dual point guard setup, despite Winters leading the league in assists, persist.
16. Oakland Tritons (6-5, + 2.6) (- 2 Spots)
The team went 4-3 this period with the highlight being an overtime victory over the Mustangs. However losses to the Stars and Huskies suggest that whilst they are still worthy of a playoff spot their run of contention is probably over. May need to look at Rodgers role. He’s been super-efficient but at only a little over 20mpg maybe he’d be more useful to someone else.
17. Pittsburgh Vipers (5-5, + 1.6) (- 7 Spots)
The Vipers went 3-4 with solid wins against the Warriors and Knights. They also pushed the Thunder hard at home in a 3-point loss. Hill has obviously slowed after his supernova start but is still doing an excellent job leading a veteran team. But most importantly Carstensen has taken off scoring 38 and 39 in back to back games. Fireballs would take that about now.
18. Atlanta Devils (6-5, - 0.5) (- 1 Spot)
The Devils have gone 4-3 since the last rankings with the highlight a win over the depleted Lightning. They aren’t a contender but are firmly in the playoff race. Most importantly though they are finally getting Slattery the right amount of minutes, and he is repaying that decision in spades.
19. Austin Rockets (5-5, - 2.1) (+ 3 Spots)
The Rockets got back to .500 going 3-2 but are yet to get that win that shows they might be a plausible contender. Right now, they are looking like a potential playoff team, but they’d be hoping for more given their payroll. Goodwin has improved since a slow start but nobody on the team has hit their best form yet.
20. Philadelphia Warriors (4-5, - 3.4) (+ 1 Spot)
The Warriors went 3-2 with big wins over the Lightning and the Skyhawks. However, they also lost to the Vipers, a team that will likely be fighting them all year for the 8th and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Weaver has been exceptional, but the team is getting solid contributions from the entire line-up.
21. Kansas City Knights (4-6, - 4.9) (- 2 Spots)
The team went 3-4 this week with a solid win against the Tritons a highlight. Their offense is in the top 5 but their defence is the worst in the league and has proven their Achilles heel in several games such as the loss to the Cyclone where they gave up 137. With Hawes out for 3-4 weeks the team could slide dramatically over the coming weeks.
22. New York Renegades (3-6, - 3.2) (+ 3 Spots)
Rebounded slightly from a winless opening week going 3-4. Got a fantastic win against the Lightning and pushed the Scorpions hard in a 1-point loss. However at their current rate they will not be returning to the playoffs and with veterans like Stevens and Lewis unlikely to be part of the next Renegades contender it might be time to lean into the rebuild.
23. Charlotte Drones (3-7, - 2.8) (+ 3 Spots)
Got solid victories against the Dragons and Colonels and seem to have established some separation from the remaining 7 expansion teams. Getting solid production on the wing from Rush and Wingate but both have taken secondary roles behind Anthony who continues to be far more dominant than expected.
24. Baltimore Bullets (2-8, -7.1) (-1 Spot)
Beat the Kings and lost to the Renegades by a point before they lost Strickland to a back injury early in a win against the Dragons. The team struggled offensively after that, averaging only 90ppg over the next 3 games. Rice and Ilic are starting to stabilize after their poor starts but the highlight is clearly Dozier who would be on ROY ballots despite getting drafted at 17.
25. Oklahoma City Barons (2-8, - 7.0) (- 7 Spots)
Lost 3 games on the trot before a righting the ship with a convincing in against the Drones. In Cavenell’s absence Livingston has shown he might be worthy of a larger role but Marshall hasn’t replicated his bench role efficiency in a larger role. Berkley has slowed slightly but would still be the ROY favourite.
26. Denver Dragons (2-8, - 8.0) (- 2 Spots)
After opening this period with a loss to the Drones the team changed things up inserting Jeffries into the starting lineup at SG and deploying OB1 at PG. Jeffries has helped significantly averaging an efficient 22ppg as the team would steal its first two wins for the season against the Renegades and the Cyclones.
27. Boston Crusaders (2-9, - 7.9) (No Change)
Opened the period with a loss to the Renegades before getting a second win against the Colonels. Unfortunately they then lost their next 6, although 4 of these losses were by 5 points or less. Harrell’s scoring has slowed a little but his well-rounded game ensures he will remain one of the ROY favourites.
28. Dallas Predators (2-8, - 12.3) (No Change)
Got their second win of the season against the Blizzards on day 8 but proceeded to lose their next 6 matches. Wade is almost averaging almost 30ppg with decent efficiency but he isn’t getting the support he needs from his more experienced teammates like Chambers, Cousins and Weekes.
29. Louisville Colonels (1-8, - 10.2) (No Change)
Finally broke through for their first win against the Jaguars. Seeing solid production from Donlon and Akele, despite his poor shooting, and Powell has been better than expected filling the hole at SG.
30. Minneapolis Blizzards (0-10, - 15.2) (No Change)
Still haven’t broken through for a win but got very close against the Rockets. Claxton is exceeding expectations and Galloway is looking more like a genuine steal as he asserts himself more offensively.