Chicago Jailbirds 2023 Off-Season Recap + Preview

  • By Austin Simpson, Day 1, 2023

Chicago will return a majority of their team from the 2022 season with no major changes besides the addition of Wesley Sherman and subtraction of Pace LaGarde. The Jailbirds were apparently focused on finding some depth at their small forward and shooting guard positions, signing four players to compete with incumbent Dorian McLeary + Stuart Furstinger.

The Jailbirds’ GM has gone on the record to state that not all of these players will make the roster for opening night. Let’s look at the competition:

Jose Gallo (SG/SF) – Chicago born and raised; there’s some extra hype with the fans surrounding the hometown kid. Gallo projects to be able to step into a 3-D backup role with Chicago immediately. He could be someone to make the cut to see how he could develop into the future.

Adam Booth (SG/SF) – Booth took a year off basketball for the 2022 season due to the lack of buzz surrounding him. Chicago likes his measurable and has a sound skill set, but there are questions as to why he hasn’t been able to find a home with consistent minutes. Training camp will likely be very important for Booth who needs to show he can still improve as his work ethic has been questioned in the past.

Amari Hancock (SF) – Hancock, although not from Chicago, is still a local kid from the south suburbs. He made the jump to Notre Dame where he was an electric scorer and Chicago hopes he can bring that into training camp. He’s undersized for his position but does have a good wingspan.

Jalen Jackson (SF) – Jackson is going into his 4th year and there are no questions about his athleticism, but he has lacked a scoring punch. That may not matter for the Jailbirds as they have offensive minded leaders in Cheaney + Carter who will likely command the lion’s share of field goal attempts. Even with Jackson’s experience he may not be a lock to make the roster. Rumor has it Jackson is asking for a starting spot on the roster, which just will not happen. Chicago might see it as a risk to bring in someone who may disrupt the locker room.

Marcus Powell (SG) – Powell comes with the most experience of the bunch and has the most well rounded skill set. He’s likely a lock for the opening day roster and could be in the mix for starting SG if Chicago is not able to address that spot via trade. Also in the mix is incumbent Dorian McLeary who started 50% of the games last year.

The only non-wing player Chicago signed (other than Wright), was Will Delph (C/PF). He’s another local kid from Park Forest, IL and brings excellent athleticism, defense and rebounding. Every other aspect of his game must improve including bulking up to play at the JBL level. He will likely make the roster and be in a reserve role for the Jailbirds.

2023 Preview
Chicago’s GM has gone on the record stating his job is to compete for a championship and the Jailbirds hope to improve on last year’s 60 win team. There’s word around the league that the JBirds overachieved last year – this year will certainly put that theory to the test. The Jailbirds believe there will be positive improvements from their 2022 rookie Antoine Willis and starting center stalwart Rasheed Stone. An improved Willis + Stone, along with the addition of Wesley Sherman and the offensive firepower of Cheaney and Carter could make for some exciting lineups. There is still work to be done for the Jailbirds as they address their starting SG position, and the backup for that matter. Going into training camp we can only project the following depth chart:

PG: Cheaney, Billings, Cameron
SG: McLeary/Cheaney/Powell
SF: Carter/Furstinger
PF: Wright/Sherman/Willis
C: Stone/Willis/Delph

Position Battle + Cut Candidates:
Booth, Jackson, Hancock, Gallo, Canady, Mathis