Power Rankings: Week 8 (All-Star Break) & Mid-Season Review - Part 2

  • By Bedouin, Day 56, 2020


6. New York Renegades (15-10, + 4.4) (Last Week #6, NO CHANGE)

Key Statistics
Record: 15-10 (.600)
Net Rating: + 4.4 (3rd)
Offensive Rating: 109.3 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 104.5 (4th)
PPG Leader: Jerome Bradley - 28.5 (6th)
RPG Leader: Rashard Stevens - 15.4 (1st)
APG Leader: Kendall Houston - 7.4 (15th)
Season Overview
The Renegades started the season with a 4-game win streak, despite losing Frashon Lewis in their 2nd game. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by a losing steak of 4 games, during which Rashard Stevens went down. Both players would miss 7 games each, the team went 0-3 in the games both missed, but the team battled in their absence and were 6-6 when Rashard returned from injury. The team immediately peeled off a 7-game win streak to put themselves firmly back in the playoff race but inconsistency in the last 2 weeks before the break pushed them back into 5th spot, just behind the Knights.
Strengths
The team features high o and d ratings, despite the injuries, illustrating just how strong this unit is on both sides of the court. Offensively Bradley serves as the focal point, but he is well supported by Lewis and Stevens and the wily veteran L-Train is still capable of putting it in from time to time. However, the team is even stronger on defence with the team's anchor Rashard Stevens currently leading the league in d-rating. The other strength is that the team has a deep bench of contributors, which was vital in surviving the early season injuries.
Weaknesses
Strong on both sides of the ball the only real weakness the Renegades have is that many their key contributors are getting quite old. Houston and Stevens are 34 while Hughes is 38 and the equal oldest player in the league. While age is not in of itself a problem the minutes of these players must be managed somewhat to ensure that they don't fall apart as the season goes on. It is also suggests that this is a team that may be reaching the end of its window.
Summary
Given the team represented the NS in the finals last year it could be said that the Renegades have underperformed this year. However, given their injury situation to still be right in the playoff race is an excellent performance and one most teams would not be able to manage.
Final Rating
MET EXPECTATIONS

7. New Orleans Hurricanes (15-12, - 0.4) (Last Week #7, NO CHANGE)

Key Statistics
Record: 15-12 (.556)
Net Rating: - 0.4 (12th)
Offensive Rating: 107.6 (9th)
Defensive Rating: 108.0 (11th)
PPG Leader: Leon Bowen - 22.8 (13th)
RPG Leader: Ryan Pierce- 12.0 (12th)
APG Leader: Tyson Kuberka - 9.1 (8th)
Season Overview
The Hurricanes opened their season with a 5-game streak that came to an end only after Leon Bowen went down with an injury. Over the next 2 weeks they would run at about .500 with both Ryan Pierce and Tyson Kuberka submitting their names for MVP consideration. However when both Hodges and Livingston went down with injuries the team's already fragile wing rotation fell apart and the team would ultimately lose 7 games in a row before Bowen returned to the lineup. Since then the team has gone 6-3 and enters the midseason break holding down 2nd place in the EW conference.
Strengths
Ranked 9th in d-rating overall the team jumps to 2nd if you just look at the games when Leon Bowen was in the lineup. Leon Bowen is 3rd in individual o-rating, and may be the most efficient offensive player in the league. His presence also makes Pierce more efficient. The team is guided by Tyson Kuberka, 8th overall in o-rating, who has adjusted brilliantly to what is a fresh style style for him. The team plays the 5th slowest pace in the league which limits helps them limit their turnovers (3rd in the league). The team's size in the post also helps them on the offensive boards, where they rank 5th.
Weaknesses
Whilst the team is loaded in the post it is very weak on the wings. The team's best wing player is Jermaine Wade, who is extremely talented but is horrific defensively and works best in the 6th man bench scorer role. The current starters, Livingston and Hodges, are both rotation quality players but are out of their depth as starters. Given the team has additional draft assets available it would be wise to pursue available wing talent to address its Achilles heel.
Summary
Most predictions had the Hurricanes in the bottom quarter of the league. Even optimistic projections didn't forecast a playoff spot. Yet the Hurricanes enter the second half of the season in 2nd place in the EW. Amazing surprise story.
Final Rating
WILDLY EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

8. Oakland Tritons (16-15, + 2.3) (Last Week #8, NO CHANGE)

Key Statistics
Record: 16-15 (.516)
Net Rating: + 2.4 (5th)
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 109.8 (T-16th)
PPG Leader: Marcus Ivory - 27.7 (8th)
RPG Leader: Marcus Ivory - 10.2 (20th)
APG Leader: Keith Humphries - 8.6 (11th)
Season Overview
Despite a short injury to Akieem Martin the Tritons would finish the first three weeks of the season at 7-4, still in the playoff race but failing to meet expectations. Over the next three weeks the team would make a number of changes to try and arrest this underperformance. Martin returned from injury in a bench role and on Day 28 Nix was demoted to the bench. Neither change arrested the slide and by Day 43 the team was narrowly under .500. On Day 45 Martin regained his starting job and the team would proceed to go 5-3 until the midseason break. However, management was still clearly dissatisfied with the team's performance and traded Woolridge and Martin to the Jaguars for Bryant Rodgers. With the addition of the dominant Rodgers the Tritons will be expecting considerable improvement in the second half of the season.
Strengths
The team is an offensive juggernaut; 2nd in the league in o-rating and 3rd in ppg. Marcus Ivory is the dominant post offensive player in the league and is surrounded with a range of versatile offensive options in Boreczky and Fortier. Humphries' improvement has also allowed Austin Williams to settle into a microwave role off the bench. Moving forwards the substitution of Rodgers for the more defensively orientated Martin should only improve the team's performance on this end of the court.
Weaknesses
But as good as the team is on offense they are almost that bad on the defensive end, ranking 16th in the league in d-rating. Except for blocks per game they rank in the bottom half in every relevant indicator of defensive performance. However Rodgers is an excellent defensive player, currently ranked 10th in the league in blocks, so I would anticipate that the team should be able to climb back into the top half of the league defensively across the second half of the season.
Summary
The team entered the season with expectations of at least returning to the conference finals. To be sitting in 6th place in the conference facing a steep climb to make the playoffs is disappointing to say the least. But with the Rodgers trade the team has shaken things up and looks likely to soar back into contention in the 2nd half of the season.
Final Rating
HUGELY DISAPPOINTING

9. St. Louis Skyhawks (14-13, - 1.9) (Last Week #11, + 2)

Key Statistics
Record: 14-13 (.519)
Net Rating: - 1.9 (16th)
Offensive Rating: 106.2 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 108.2 (12th)
PPG Leader: Jevon Novak - 19.8 (23rd)
RPG Leader: Marcus Wright - 10.9 (15th)
APG Leader: Jevon Novak - 6.3 (21st)
Season Overview
The team started the season with a 3-game losing streak but over the next two weeks worked their way back to .500. For the remainder of the season they've pretty much stayed a game either side of .500. During this time they have swapped back and forth between more traditional line-ups and super big line-ups featuring Wright-Hunter and Oliver together in the starting 5. Despite the back and forth they enter the midseason sitting 3rd in the conference.
Strengths
The team is set at the big man positions with three starting quality big men, and a potential future superstar in Mark Hunter. Due largely to the line-ups that have featured all three players the team ranks 3rd in blocks per game. On the wings both Novak and Wallace are exceptional 3 point shooters and behind their strong shooting performance the team ranks 2nd in the league for 3pt makes per game.
Weaknesses
Playing three big men at the same time forces the team into a slow pace game (18th in the league) that doesn't necessarily benefit its best two offensive players. Furthermore, the team doesn't realize the rebounding benefit that you would expect from that line-up, ranking only 18th in rpg. Unfortunately, the team doesn't have a strong 2nd wing player to put alongside Wallace with both Dougherty and Chambers having proven insufficient.
Summary
The team missed the playoffs by the narrowest of margins last year but wasn't predicted to make the playoffs this year with several teams expected to surpass them. This hasn't happened and whilst their current position may not translate to a playoff birth the team has definitely exceeded expectations.
Final Rating
EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

10. Los Angeles Fireballs (15-15, - 0.2) (Last Week #9, -1)

Key Statistics
Record: 15-15 (.500)
Net Rating: - 0.2 (11th)
Offensive Rating: 109.8 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 109.8 (17th)
PPG Leader: Chris LaCruz - 22.7 (14th)
RPG Leader: Drayton Banks - 9.6 (25th)
APG Leader: Chris LaCruz - 9.1 (7th)
Season Overview
The Fireballs were another team that started the season slowly but given their offseason turnover this wasn't a complete surprise. Over the first few weeks they made a few changes to their line-up. First the team move the Dragon back to a bench role in favour of Westley and then on Day 17 they aborted the Banks at center experiment and promoted Kimbrough and then later Dvoracek to the starting line-up. The team would run at .500 for the remainder of the season to date. However management was clearly dissatisfied with this performance and traded the Dragon and Vitas to the Cyclones for Isaiah McCarty and Landon Howard. With the acquisition of IMac the team will be looking to replicate its post Curry trade form from last year.
Strengths
The team's strength is on the offensive end where it ranks 5th in o-rating and 2nd in ppg. It plays at a slightly lower pace than the showtime style favoured last year but it generates less turnovers and is considerably more efficient as a result. While Banks's numbers are down on last year (his minutes are too) he is performing his role as third option in an efficient fashion. Moving forward the team will likely improve offensively with the addition of Isiah McCarty who will either force Westley to the bench or play alongside him in small ball line-ups that could set the leagues offensive record books alight.
Weaknesses
Despite the addition of Drayton Banks this year the Fireballs have performed far worse on the defensive end and are currently ranked 17th in the league, allowing the most points against per game and the highest opponent FG%. The trade for IMac is unlikely to benefit the team defensively either. At this point it seems unlikely that the team will be able to arrest its poor defensive performance with the roster as currently constructed.
Summary
The Fireballs made bold changes in the offseason after a season in which they pushed the Rockets hard in the first round of the playoffs. But whilst they are currently ahead of the Rockets they'll be disappointed to be sitting on .500 at the break. However, with IMac on board things should improve considerably in the second half of the year.
Final Rating
DISAPPOINTING