So I know I spend most of my time over analyzing the roster and being really critical about it, and I also know one could think that I am unhappy about it based on some of my posts. But I really, truly believe that this is a great roster. It’s a huge improvement over last year’s on court mediocrity and apathy, it’s deep from 1-10 and I think that this year’s second unit would beat last year’s post-Anderson starters. I also believe that it’s definitely one of the top 4 rosters in the PBL right now. So in the name of keeping it positive my five favourite things about this year’s roster are after the jump.
5) They Brought Back the Right Players from Last Year
It was important for the Rainmen to bring back at least a few players from last year’s team both to help players get used to the city and to help the city connect with the team. Turnover is inevitable in the minors, but for a new team in Halifax it can’t look like they’re starting over every single fall, at least not in the early going. I am glad that they chose to only bring back players who will be solid contributors, fill roles and help serve as the public face of the franchise. Sure, I would have loved to see KD back, but we got a minor league super-star, an NAIA all-American who is a lights out shooter, and a former D1 point guard who can knock down shots and protect the ball. None of the gimiccy players from last year are back, nor are any of the bad attitudes.
4) Real PGs
Last year the team just lucked into having Anderson show up, and he only lasted a few months. Other than that they relied on an aging gunner who was well past his prime, a midget, and a combo-guard with a horrible attitude to run the point. Jimmy showed up towards the end of the year and things improved with his steady hand taking the wheel. What became quite apparent to Halifax was that finding guards who can shoot and dribble is easy, finding experienced players who can run an offense and defend opposing play makers is not so simple. This year Jimmy is joined by Kevin Hammack – a guy who had a fairly successful D1 career and is an actual, honest to god point guard. The team should be in excellent hands and this should be the first step in implementing a passable halfcourt offense. The one wild card is SirVal friggin’ everything up, but I am still hoping he’s gone before opening day.
3) Two Players Who Were in Video Games
Jimmy was an unlockable secret character in a Globetrotters video game, but David Bailey also appeared in an And1 streetball game. Two video game characters on one team – that shit’s impressive.
2) More experience
Last year’s opening night team had two players with pro/semi-pro experience: Crookshank’s one summer in the IBL and Anderson’s time overseas. In addition, most of the players were D2 and JuCo guys who looked good in tryouts but had never actually proven themselves in game situations. The inexperience showed quickly when the team hit the road and started losing. Some players learned quick, most continued sucking. This year the team relied less on open try outs and more on agents, video and suggestions from coaches. Of the 12 players currently signed Halifax has 7 players with at least one full season of pro-ball under their belts. Of the five new guys one was a 4 year starter at a D1 school two were D1 recruits with academic problems, one was a starter in D1 before moving to NAIA, and the last one was a star in D2. While there are some serious risks on this team there are also at least 6 guys who are proven, legitimate minor league professionals which is 5 more than we can say about the team that suited up in the home opener last year.
1) It’s an Exponentially Tougher Line Up Compared to Last Year
One of my many problems with last year’s team was that it lacked toughness. Guys like Ferguson and Lantrice Green would talk trash but both players were terrified of contact. Jon Clark showed some grit but he was a late addition who saw limited minutes. This year the team has more guys willing to bang under net, come to the defense of teammates and to make “fuck you you” plays to swing the momentum. There is just a mean streak to some of the players signed so far that was just non-existent last year. McGriff the Crime Dog is an absolute bully under the net, just clearing out space to grab offensive rebounds, putting a body to guys when he goes up to dunk/lay it in, etc.; David Bailey’s nickname is “The Aggressor” – enough said; Jeanty is a banger who players well above his size; Rob Sanders was my favourite addition to the team because he is willing to try to shut the crowd up and he sticks up for teammate – he also is willing to knock guys over to get to the ball; and SirVal’s history suggests that he might be sociopath. Unlike last year, I don’t feel like Halifax are going to get pushed around or give up too many wide open, uncontested lay ups.
Just 27 days to go.