It is almost time to kick off ETBL Season 3 on Sunday Feb 25th at 430pm! As usual we will have my game recaps after each week during the season but we have a special week 1 preview done by a guest blogger who goes by the alias...6IXFAN! He will try and do random previews once in a while and anyone else interested in blogging for previews/recaps can msg me directly :). This is going to be our most exciting season yet with 13 teams and a whole lot of talented players. Let's get right to it!
LAKERS vs GRIZZLIES
The Rahul era begins after taking over for former GM Nilan who lost in the wild card round in Season 2. This franchise has been rebuilt with alot of new players including Rahul's keeper (Sarwar Syed) who is new to the league. He will play alongside with Brendan (11ppg and 6rebs/game) who played for the 2nd place Nuggets in Season 2 and will be heavily depended on for the Lakers. Ara will provide the 'glue guy' traits to help this team keep organized and with Rahul in charge, he will definitely get his minutes to play and showcase his skills. The unknown is LiShin Yee which could be a steal for Rahul based on rumours that he was a former athlete of year in high school. No preseason game this year gives little time to find chemistry as every game matters but they are playing another newly rebuilt team in the Grizzlies. GM Vimal lost his Season 2 MVP but got to draft another potential MVP candidate in Anthony aka Casper who is younger and has more upside than Thanujaan. He surrounded Anthony with 2 legit bigs, Andrew V and Nisan G, who was also a great player in TTBA. Grit and Grindesque who should own the interior this year in ETBL. The place of concern is depth, it looks like somewhat of a friend’s team towards the end of the roster. Chandru (6ppg/6rpg) is returning which helps with chemistry and Kiru from the Pistons will help with defense and hustle. Look for this team utilize its bigs as most teams are going to load up on Casper.
NUGGETS vs JAZZ
Congratulations once again to the Jazz! GM Sayon did an excellent job last year with drafting, trading for need, and practicing. The band is getting back together to give it a go for a repeat. It will be tougher this year because the competition has improved but they have one thing that other teams do not which is chemistry. They can jump on teams early on in the season when teams are figuring it out with roles and play calls. Demone, Mr. Finals MVP, is going for the 3peat to get into ETBL immortality with his running mate, Yaga, forming a solid backcourt. The trade for Zaid was huge for the Jazz as finding a clutch 3pt shooter was the difference in the finals last year. Role players Joseph/Jenush/Sayon/Thannojh provide toughness and the little things that don't often show up in the boxscore. They play the Nuggets led by GM Ray who suffered an upset last season to the Warriors in 1st round which negated a 1 seed/2 seed finals with the Jazz. Ray is a smart GM, he has plays and executes them well with the players he has. Defensive Guard of the Year, Dwayne Lubin, leads the charge with familiar faces coming back such as 3PT Contest winner Sen, Evan, and Arun. They added Chris Searles who is an unknown commodity and Glenn Ting (solid guard for Raptors last season). Ray seems to be going small ball based on the roster decisions and we will see how it works out against the Jazz.
TIMBERWOLVES vs SPURS
The revamped Twolves led by GM Suthan kept Thuva and Manish as the cornerstones of the franchise after getting into the playoffs with a thrilling comeback win against the Lakers in the wild card game. GM Suthan has provided his stud, Thuva, balanced support this year with probably the best shooter in this league in Manveer and a true PG in Ragu. He does only have his brother Aathavan as the only big which may lead to rebounding issues but we will see what its looks like on opening night. GM Suthan has guaranteed 10pts total from him this season...I am really curious to see whether he makes it! They play the expansion Spurs led by Pirasaanth (former Timberwolf) who built his team starting with the former Raptors big man, JT. He will be patrolling the paint and will be a load for teams this season as he has solid guards to feed him the ball. Point guard, Roy, will be leading the offense and Dylan (SG) can shoot the ball efficiently and play solid defense if motivated. Not much else to say because I haven't seen the new players play so that will be part of the eye test on Sunday. Look for the Spurs to pound the ball with JT while the Twolves play through Thuva.
BLAZERS vs WARRIORS
After a successful Cinderella run last year by the Blazers to get to the Semi-Finals...they got even more luck this season via GM Jerosan by obtaining the #1 pick from him. GM Annojh took NJ to go alongside holdovers, Vijith (11ppg/7rpg), and Nishant (8.4ppg/8rpg) to form their own 'big 3'. NJ is a dynamic players who can do a bit of everything which will help get Vijith and Nishant easier baskets this season. Annojh will be able to freelance more to open spaces on the floor and not shoot lol. The question remains who will rebound? Look for this team to play a faster pace to showcase one of their strengths which is speed and quickness. The Warriors are coming off a season where they fell one game short to the Jazz in the Championship game and all they have on their minds is redemption! GM Gautham appears to have built a team with players that are ready to shoot. He brings back holdovers, Asok (13ppg/8rpg) and Gopal (12ppg/10rpg), who are dynamic bigs that shoot 3's, drive, and rebound. They needed a guard to replace Paolo who was a converted PG and hopefully they did that with Amit. Bahee was selected to bring some toughness and scoring to this team which was lacking last season. Hari brings 3pt shooting that was lost with Saktish going to the Raptors this season. Warriors will look to push and get the offense to run through their bigs this Sunday and they will play their usual zone defense that helped them allow the least amount of points last year!
PISTONS vs RAPTORS
The run and gun era continues this Sunday with GM Sugee and a retooled Pistons squad. He brings back the volatile guard, Usamah Siddiqi (12 ppg/8rpg), to run it back this season. He drafted PJ and Trevor to deal with frontcourt duties and to be honest this squad looks like the old 'Bad Boy Pistons' teams. He got veteran Chris Cruz to help out with ball handling. Sugee has built a different team and a team that will allow him to play more minutes to showcase his shooting abilities. I am holding a wait and see approach as Commissioner Kisho has marked them down as the worst team in the league even after making it to the Semi's last season and eventually losing to the Warriors. Pistons will be going against a former teammate this Sunday, GM Thileep, who decided he wanted to be a boss. Thileep drafted Harrison to be his franchise player and he will be the focal point of this team. He added Somi which is instant offense as he carried the Lakers last season and they could form the best backcourt in ETBL. While Sanam from the draft tryouts looks to be a load for anyone guarding him in the paint. The style of play is unknown but we will find out on Sunday.
BULLETS vs CELTICS
GM Patrick is another former Piston who wanted to run the show as he takes over the Kings franchise in which he rebranded as the 'Bullets'. He drafted former teammate Javan (11ppg/10rpg) who will get more touches on this squad. Looking down the roster I'm not sure who will bring up the ball but I will reserve judgement until Sunday to see how this team plays and go from there. Their opponent will be the storied franchise Celtics led by GM Jso who has taken a beating around the league by other GMs who think he has made bad trades. Jso built his team first with Abdul Wahedi who was a monster last year (14ppg/11rpg) in 2 games before being renounced from the league due to not satisfying the injury replacement rules. He brings back Most Improved Player Jasinthan as a stretch big to go alongside Jey Nithiy who will do the dirty work down low. Jso also lucked out by getting Umaraj and then Jolly from the Warriors to complete his guard depth. Look for this team to be the most organized team when playing because Jso finally has a team that has both talent and IQ!
WRITTEN BY: 6IXFAN