Chicago Jailbird 1/4 Season Analysis
- By Austin Simpson, Day 49, 2023
Chicago is 19-5, just after the quarter mark of the 2023 season with some key wins against the Warriors, Tritons, Kings, Huskies, and Cyclones who are all very good teams. The Jailbirds look poised to make a serious contention in the east and possibly for a JBL title. However, a big knock against the Jailbirds is their strength of schedule which ranks 5th easiest so far this season, and unfortunately they have lost some “easy” games due to rest/injuries. Clearly the Jailbirds underestimated their opponents and paid the price. The only team they lost to this season when the Jailbirds starting unit was intact was the Atlanta Devils. Losses to the Lighting + Blizzard were solely put on the organization for resting Wright, Tarver, and Carter at the same time in both games. The Jailbirds starting unit is too valuable to rest 3/5 of its players. The next loss was to the Colonels, again on the organization for resting Stone + Tarver, and the most recent loss was to the Scorpions with no rested players, just an injured Rasheed Stone. The Jailbirds have been given a direct order from their owner to no longer rest multiple starters regardless who they are playing, unless a top playoff seed is clinched.
Chicago’s defense is playing very well, holding teams to 100.6 ppg; they are 9th in blocks/game, 3rd in steals per game, and are causing the 4th (3 way tie) most turnovers per game. Chicago is currently 8th in the league in ORtg. at 113.9 and 1st in the league in DRtg. at 105.1, which is 3 points better than the next team the Philadelphia Warriors. Their NetRtg. Is the best in the league at 8.8, but all of this should be taken with a grain of salt due to their schedule thus far.
Chicago has two notable rough schedule trips coming up: day 55 at home vs. the Thunder, then they travel on the road in days 58-62 to play the Hurricanes, Knights, and Jaguars. Later in the season during days 84-92 the Jailbirds have a long road trip out west, playing the Predators, Tritons, Vultures, Fireballs, and Dragons. Both of these stretches of games could result in multiple loses. The Jailbirds will likely prepare for these trips by making sure their starting unit is well rested. Speaking of which let’s take a look at that unit.
C: Rasheed Stone
PF: Marcus Wright
SF: Keydren Carter
SG: Jason Cheaney
PG: DeAngelo Tarver
Together they have played 202 minutes, scored 507 points, allowed 391 points, for a +/- = of 116 points. They also have an ORtg. Of 123.1 and a DRtg. Of 94 resulting in a NetRtg. 29.1. Not much differently from last year this year’s Jailbirds primary strategy is to go up by a large amount with their starting unit and hope the 2nd unit doesn’t get torched. The next most played lineup has 91 minutes with about close to even on net rating and points allowed/scored, however that is with recently departed Marcus Enright who was removed from the rotation just a week before his trade. A downgrade of Stone to Enright was enough to completely negate all positives of that starting unit - part of the reason Enright was shipped out of town.
The Jailbirds' all 2nd string lineup:
C: Will Delph
PF: Antoine Willis
SF: Kane Thomas
SG: Deonte Cameron
PG: Myree Billings
This unit has only 30 minutes played thus far this season, likely because Deonte Cameron has recently supplanted the disappointing combo of Dorian McLeary + Marcus Powell for backup SG duties. They have a +/- of 5 points, ORtg. Of 127.9 and DRtg. Of 114.1. It’s a small sample size but it will be interesting to track how the 2nd unit in Chicago fares the rest of the season, which has been a weakness in years past. In about 3 weeks the Jailbirds will have recently acquired Bryant Rodgers on the floor in the backup frontcourt role. Chicago hopes that a change of scenery and a real chance to win a title reinvigorate the 36 year old. I don't think he could be anything but an upgrade to Marcus Enright and undrafted rookie Will Delph .
There's tough competition in the JBL this season and the Thunder/Scorpions/Warriors/Huskies are probably all favored over Chicago, but the Jailbirds are hopeful for another 60 win season and to possibly contend for a JBL championship.It's not unthinkable given their strong starting unit and the GM's penchant to make moves to "win now".