Power Rankings: Week 8 (All-Star Break) & Mid-Season Review - Part 3

  • By Bedouin, Day 56, 2020


11. Atlanta Devils (15-16, + 0.9) (Last Week #12, + 1)

Key Statistics
Record: 15-16 (.484)
Net Rating: + 0.9 (9th)
Offensive Rating: 108.0 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 107.3 (10th)
PPG Leader: Orpheus Swayda – 29.6 (3rd)
RPG Leader: Taquan Slattery – 11.1 (14th)
APG Leader: Marques Thomas – 11.1 (2nd)
Season Overview
The Devils started their season with a high scoring win over the Kings but this was immediately followed by a 5 game losing streak that saw them plummet to the lower echelons of the rankings. Since then they’ve won slightly more than they’ve lost, slowly working their way back to .500 whilst experimenting with different lineups and styles. In day 47 the team moved Slattery to center to provide a larger opportunity for Ellington and opened up their rotation. This seemed to work well as the team would win 5 of their last 6 heading into the break.
Strengths
The primary strength of the Devils is that they have two All JBL calibre talents in Slattery and Swayda. Slattery is having the breakout season that many expected last year and Swayda has recovered from a slow start to the season to sit 3rd in ppg. Beyond that the Devils are strong in a number of key offensive statistics. Behind their dynamic duo the team is 2nd in effective FG% and 4th in FT/FG ratio. They are also 4th in apg due to the development of Thomas, who is ranked 2nd in the league in assists. All are signs of a highly efficient offense.
Weaknesses
The team’s biggest weakness this year has been its inability to strike the right balance between its personnel and the pace first style favoured by new coach Rich Gannon. The team plays the 2nd highest pace in the league and accompanying that are turnovers galore; the team is currently 4th in turnovers per game. If not for the turnovers the team would almost certainly be top 5 in o-rating. A slower game plan would also benefit the team as Swayda and Slattery are both highly efficient scorers. A super-fast pace style only benefits the opposition; the Devils allow the 5th most points against per game.
Summary
The Devils made the playoffs last year and with the ascendance of Slattery would have expected to return. However right now they are narrowly outside the playoffs. Luckily, they are in the EW and still have plenty of time to claw their way back in. Regardless they aren’t where they wanted to be.
Final Rating
DISAPPOINTING

12. Austin Rockets (13-16, + 0.9) (Last Week #10, - 2)

Key Statistics
Record: 13-16 (.448)
Net Rating: + 0.9 (8th)
Offensive Rating: 111.2 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 110.3 (18th)
PPG Leader: Kaiama Nyambi - 19.9 (22nd)
RPG Leader: Kaiama Nyambi – 13.5 (T-7th)
APG Leader: Rubin Wingfield – 12.5 (1st)
Season Overview
The season started strong for the Rockets who won their first 6 games of the season and pundits were already accepting that the EW would once again be a two-horse race between the Rockets and the Scorpions. Then they lost 6 games in a row. From there the team has run just below .500 due to a number of losses to teams that they should not have lost too. They enter the midseason break sitting 6th in the conference. Their streak of 6 years in the playoffs is in trouble right now.
Strengths
As it has been for the last few years the Rockets offense is one of the most efficient in the league with the team ranked 3rd in o-rating. Led by Rubin Wingfield the team ranks 2nd in the league in apg and turnovers per game. And whilst this year has provided unmistakable evidence that Nyambi is finally slowing down his efficient scoring and ability to generate fta (4th in the league) are still the vital counterpoint to the outside shooting of James and Goodwin.
Weaknesses
The team’s weakness this year is the defence as the team has fallen all the way to 18th in d-rating. Despite playing the 13th highest pace the team allows the 6th highest opponents points per game. They don’t generate turnovers and their poor rebounding means that opponents rack up offensive rebounds (5th in the league). The team could certainly use a stout defensive option at PF alongside Nyambi.
Summary
After retaining Goodwin in the offseason at considerable expense all expected the Rockets to return to the conference finals to face the Scorpions for the third consecutive year. At this rate they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs.
Final Rating
HUGELY DISAPPOINTING

13. Detroit Mustangs (10-13, + 0.6) (Last Week #14, + 1)

Key Statistics
Record: 10-13 (.435)
Net Rating: + 0.6 (10th)
Offensive Rating: 107.4 (10th)
Defensive Rating: 106.8 (9th)
PPG Leader: Demetric Vaughn – 33.4 (1st)
RPG Leader: Reggie Dawkins – 10.3 (19th)
APG Leader: Christian Vickery – 9.3 (5th)
Season Overview
The Mustangs lost their opening game to the Rockets but quickly rattled off a 3-game win streak. Which was followed by a 3-game losing streak, and then another 3-game win streak, and then another 3-game win streak. Since the streak of streaks, the team has played just under .500 ball with several impressive wins over highly ranked teams, and some disappointing losses to cellar dwellers. On Day 45 they welcomed Rickey Douglas to the team (traded from the Cyclones) as a secondary wing scorer alongside Vaughn. However to date Douglas’ solid form has note been reflected in improved results.
Strengths
The main strength of this team is the league’s leading scorer Demetric Vaughn. As long as Vaughn and his 33.4ppg are on the court no team can count on a win against the Mustangs. The team is also strong on the boards, particularly the offensive boards where they are ranked 2nd in the league. They also rank 2nd in the league in steals with Vickery, Douglas and Vaughn all over 2 spg.
Weaknesses
The team has had two primary
Weaknesses
this season. The first is the absence of a reliable secondary wing scorer to play alongside Vaughn. This has been addressed. The second major problem, and one that has not yet been addressed, is turnovers. Despite only playing the 8th fastest pace in the league the team is 3rd in turnovers per game, led by Vaughn who is leading the league with 5.6 per game. Like the Devils, the Mustangs are a team that would rank dramatically better offensively if they could just get their turnover down to a league average number.
Summary
The Mustangs weren’t expected to make the playoffs and weren’t expected to be at the very bottom of the league. They are a mid-level team that is competent on both sides of the ball and one that can cause an upset when Vaughn gets hot. They won’t make the playoffs, but that was never the expectation.
Final Rating
MET EXPECTATIONS

14. Philadelphia Warriors (13-18, - 1.6) (Last Week #17, + 3)

Key Statistics
Record: 13-18 (.419)
Net Rating: - 1.6 (14th)
Offensive Rating: 104.5 (18th)
Defensive Rating: 106.3 (7th)
PPG Leader: Tyler Davis – 18.0 (37th)
RPG Leader: Omar Croyle – 9.4 (28th)
APG Leader: Tyler Davis – 6.5 (20th)
Season Overview
The team performed largely as expected for the first 6 weeks, despite players moving in and out of the starting lineup (Foster for Weekes, Weaver for Frazier and then for Coleman). Sitting at 6-17 they were getting valuable minutes into their rookies and were on track to surpass last year’s record. A modest but satisfying result. But then they got hot and proceeded to go 7-1 over the last two weeks leading into the break. They won’t make the playoffs of course, but for the team to have already surpassed last year’s record by the half way point is a sensational achievement.
Strengths
The team’s primary strength this season has been its defence, which ranks 7th in the league. Led by Omar Croyle (8th in the league for D-rating) the defence ranks 5th in steals, 6th in blocks and 6th in opposition points per game. Most impressively they’ve been able to do this whilst starting two rookies, Foster and Weaver, who have both shown considerable potential at this end of the court. Finally, whilst the team is weak offensively the team has shown a strong capacity for protecting the ball, giving away the 4th least turnovers per game.
Weaknesses
Apart from their avoidance of turnovers the team is poor offensively. They have the 4th worst effective FG% in the league and rank 18th in assists per game. They are 16th in points per game despite playing a league average pace (10th). The second major weakness is a poor bench. Whilst this is not surprising given the team is rebuilding the team has a very strong starting line-up from a plus minus perspective. The problem is that there are almost no other line-up combinations that break even when a starter sits.
Summary
The Warriors were the consensus pick to finish with the worst record and the inside lane for the draft lottery. However they have been considerably better than anticipated, which given their need to add more talent may prove to be more of a curse than a blessing.
Final Rating
EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

15. Cincinnati Kings (12-17, - 3.4) (Last Week #13, - 2)

Key Statistics
Record: 12-17 (.414)
Net Rating: - 3.6 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 108.1 (7th)
Defensive Rating: 111.7 (20th)
PPG Leader: Pace LaGarde – 25.7 (10th)
RPG Leader: Nwosu Odiambo – 12.1 (11th)
APG Leader: Jamar Strickland – 9.5 (4th)
Season Overview
The Kings started the season poorly going 3-10 over the first four weeks of the season with the main story being the promotion of rookie Turner to the starting lineup and the solid form of unheralded rookie Richmond Benson (#Stoptryingtomakebensanityhappen). After the first four weeks the team also started to give their third rookie Richardson some time and this corresponded to a 3 week stretch where the team would go 8-3 as Pace launched his all star campaign. However this form wouldn’t hold and over the last week before the break the team would go 1-5.
Strengths
The team is far stronger on the offensive end of the court led by Jamar Strickland who is 6th in the league in o-rating and Pace LaGarde who is 10th in the league in scoring. But the team’s biggest strength is rebounding. They lead the league in offensive rebounding and are 2nd overall in total rebounds behind the Scorpions, with strong rebounding talent not only in the post but on the wings.
Weaknesses
They have the worst defence in the league. Despite playing the 16th fastest pace they allow the 3rd most points per game and the 3rd highest opponent FG%. Furthermore, on top of their poor base defence they also don’t generate any turnovers, ranking last in the league for opposition turnovers per game. The only bright side here is that 3 of their key contributors are rookies, and should improve defensively moving forwards. But if that doesn’t happen the team may need to look outside for additional defensive talent.
Summary
With three rookies likely to play significant roles within the rotation a playoff campaign was never likely. At the same time the presence of highly regarded vets like LaGarde and Strickland was expected to ensure that the Kings didn’t compete with the cellar dwellers for the #1st pick. Given their slightly stronger than anticipated record and the degree to which they have blooded the rookies I’d say they are right on track.
Final Rating
MET EXPECTATIONS