The end is finally here.
After seven exciting weeks of BBAL hoops, the playoffs are among us. Now, I’m not going to dive deep into each playoff matchup in this post, but I do want to provide some of my thoughts surrounding the 2023 BBAL regular season. Some may be controversial while others are straightforward, but from a man that has seen 95% of the games, I believe I have some right to voice my opinion on the season. With that being said, let’s get into some Prime takeaways.
#1: By far, the BEST season of BBAL to date
This is probably my coldest take, but this season was so much fun. All the new players, the new teams, the vibe, the energy, the content, every single thing culminated into such a fun year that made every Sunday a savory treat to enjoy.
Just a few storylines from the year:
- Gremlins going from the worst team (not even winning a game) to the best team in the league
- Kurt and Liam going at it in Week One which led to Kurt being traded
- Alex Cruz personally telling me that he’s “never been happier” to be on the Dragons after watching that meltdown from the Bullies, and then retiring from the league because Jebbie wouldn’t trade him
- On the topic of the Dragon’s, Samir walked off the court midgame and ripped off his jersey one week. And then after trading for Ricky Cruz, he demanded a trade for the second time this season. OH, and Dragons traded Kevin Roldan. They were just a mess. We need a 30for30 on that soon.
- Grant, from Sportstop, suited up for the Lanc Show because they only had 3 players ready to play one weekend. The dude became the first legally blind and albino person to play in the BBAL, and maybe even the sport of basketball EVER.
- Dunks, dunks, and MORE dunks.
- We grew to 30k+ followers on Instagram
- And so much more
Needless to say, it’s been a fun ride this summer.
#2: With all due respect, HoodieQel is MVP
Marqel gives me a similar vibe to Makai last year. It was obvious that Makai was the best player in the league (that’s right I said it) however, the Gremlins not winning a game killed his MVP chances.
The difference with Marqel is that the Bullies actually won games. In fact, I would say that HoodieQel was the Jesus Christ of the Bullies because he saved them from darkness. After all the drama with Kurt, it definitely affected their play, but that man just went out and HOOPED. Some already knew that he was a great 1on1 player, but I do think his team play gets slept on. He’s tied with Erik for total team assists (despite playing three less games) and has only one less steal than Erik. Qel’s shooting splits are also insane. I think it’s pretty obvious who the MVP is this year.
#3: Jordan Tyson is my DPOY
I don’t like talking too much about end of the season awards, but I wanted to highlight two awards specifically: MVP and DPOY. Since I got MVP out of the way, let’s talk about DPOY.
Stats matter 100%; however, it is HARD to track stats in basketball. Things happen so quickly on the Sport Court that sometimes a steal or an assist or whatever may be missed or miss-remembered. So, argue with me all you want about stats or whatever you want, but I personally look at awards more of an eye test and an impact perspective.
With that being said, Jordan Tyson is by FAR the best defender in the BBAL. I know I just bashed looking at stats, but the man has 18 (!!!!) more steals than the second highest steal leader in the league, and that man is his teammate, Eli Washington. He’s second in the league with 8 blocks and it only behind Andrew Makrides who is a center. I don’t know how +/- works in this league, but he’s number one and Devin Atkinson is behind him at two. Tyson (or how I call him on stream “Chicken Nuggets”) is the DPOY.
Off the eye test and impact, Tyson is always guarding the opposing team’s best player. (Granted, sometimes Eli takes the challenge, but I feel like that’s for the star of star matchup purposes) He’s always a menace on the defensive end. He’s diving for loose balls. He’s doing ALL the dirty work. What I love most about Tyson is he LOVES that. He doesn’t need to score all the Huskies points (why would you when you have Eli and Timmy Edwards on your team) and I honestly think he gets more joy out of his defense then his offense. A bucket for him is just the cherry on top.
I just wanted to show some love to Jordan Tyson, and really the Huskies as a whole, because no one really talks about them, but they should be in every conversation that involves championship contention.
#4: Titans have the potential to make serious playoff push
Playoff bracket dropped and the one thing that struck me was the path for the Titans. Now, I know Johnny and co. haven’t had the best season and I promise he isn’t paying me to say this, but they could sneak their way into the semi-finals and possibly the finals.
Hear me out.
Their first matchup is against the Dragons… so… they got that. If they win, they’ll play the top seeded Gremlins. Not saying the Gremlins will lose, but the Titans did hand them their first loss. Now, hypothetically if they win that game, the Titans will play either the 8Balls or Bullies (exciting game by the way). The 8Balls won’t have Danny Bomberger, and there is a chance that Qel won’t be there. Since Danny will be there against the Bullies, and the 8Balls have a million subs, I will give them that game. Then that means we have Johnny vs. Ross matchup. Johnny has yet to pop off in any game this year, and against Ross for a chance to play in the championship, that just screams a massive game for Johnny. Keep in mind they have a fella named Ant on the Titans too.
I love a cinderella team and the Titans have it written all over. Time will tell if I am right.
#5: Justin Baker or KJ Myers should win Captain of the Year
I know I said I don’t like talking about awards, but I promise this is my last one.
The obvious winner is probably going to be Tony Cruz of the Gremlins and I won’t be mad if that happens. Gremlins were the worst team last year and are now the best team. He deserves it, no doubt. However, I think captain of the year means more than just winning games.
I give a lot of credit to Justin and KJ. Both are on their third year in the league, but this season they were given the daunting task of drafting and managing their own squads in the BBAL. That’s a tough task and both excelled. KJ led the Cherrypickers to the second-best record in the league and arguably has the best overall team in the league. Justin Baker put together the best trio in the league of Jordan, Eli, and Timmy. Timmy is the best scorer in the league, Jordan is the best defender, and Eli is one of the most talented in the league.
However, what I am most impressed is how little drama came from both teams (with the exception of Andy, but he’s had that reputation.) All players loved playing for the respected squads, and it showed when I had my separate conversations with people around the league.
Again, Tony probably will win, but should is up for debate.
#6: It’s stupid not to have the Woodpeckers as your title favorites
Woodpeckers are champions until we crown a new one. I know they lost more games than they should have, but I laugh internally when people think they don’t have the best shot of winning it all.
Woodpeckers, and especially Devin, Nevin, and Trey, have more championship experience than 85% of the league. They won it last year, were in the finals both years, and have maybe one of their better squads to date with the addition of Elijah. Plus, a pissed off Devin is the most unstoppable player in the league and it is not even close.
I’ll give the Cherrypickers, 8Balls, and Gremlins a chance to give them a run for their money, but Woodpeckers is THE team the beat come playoff time.
#7: What happened to the Lanc Show?
One of the most storied franchises in the BBAL turned into the weirdest teams I have ever seen. They struggled to put five men on the court on multiple occasions, but still somehow weren’t the worst team in the league.
I will say that Jack Engle is a silent killer and will go neck-to-neck with any star in this league, but their overall team availability scares me. If they are fully active in the playoffs, they could also make a playoff push, like the Titans, but we will see if people even show up.
Regardless, what a weird year for such a great franchise.
#8: The Tropics got the most heart
For me, it’s no question that the Tropics have the best duo in the league with Tyler Crespo and Brad Atkinson. But, unfortunately, we only got to see them play once this whole season.
Tyler was fantastic in his three games this season, but an injury halted his season to a sad and abrupt end. Brad tried to carry the weight, but the overall talent in the league caught up, and the title runners-up’s finished dead last this year, but not without a fight.
This team NEVER gave up in games. Doesn’t matter if they were down by 5 or down by 30. They made the ending of each game so interesting. They had some SNIPERS on that team too with John To and Ronnie Swatner.
I know they probably won’t make any noise in the playoffs, but I was amazed to see this team never give up.
#9: The Dragons are a mess
I’m not going to ramble, but what the heck Jebbie? You have a lot to figure out next season man. I do not want to be in your shoes. Godspeed.
#10: I finally figured out the whole PxP thing
I wanted to have ten takeaways so here’s your last one. But, our mics have been hot garbage and I figured it out: my PS4 gaming headset. So, fear not, you’ll be able to post highlights with my play-by-play all playoffs.