Basketball League Roundup: Team Reviews

Aditya Prakash goes to the rim and JAMS it ONE HANDED!

The title says it all. For those slow on the uptake, this is a review of the teams in the Basketball league.





Barcemona (Ankit Sinha and Mona Nooreyezdan)

The centrepiece for Barcemona is undoubtedly Aditya Prakash (He has to be! They paid 52.5 million for him!). The question which arises is – is there enough support around him? A basic look at the lineup doesn’t reveal a clear answer.

Paired with Adi P in this team is Abhishek. He’s a solid player with a lot of strength but can be prone to fouling. Moreover, bidding 22 million for him was a move which surprised a lot of people and he will have to work really hard to vindicate that price. Abhinav is another great hustle player but is again dogged by foul trouble.

Barcemona’s fate might in fact be determined by 3 wildcards. Aadya, bought for 3 million is an untested player but has shown a smooth jumper with great accuracy from close and mid range. Ravi (4.5 million) also has a picture perfect jumper but lacks playing experience. Summon (1.5 million) is one of the best buys in the league in terms of value for money. He has loads of athleticism and ability to finish at the rim. However, his recent back injury, if it does not heal, could hamper him. Apart from them, Pranshu aka Pauly will be able to provide them with some solid minutes while their free transfer, Riddhi will add to their inside presence.

Even though they lack a true big player in their line-up, some strong inside play and good shooting along with Adi’s creative playmaking should see them do well.

Rayan Azmi’s Team

This is the team which has been bought most cost effectively – at 86 million. Headlining the roster is Wangdi Bhutia, bought for 45 million. Wang is an athletic phenom. And strong as a bull. And bony as… well, um, yeah. Thing is, he is extremely capable of dominating at both ends of the floor. But considering the propensity of our referees to call every hop step a travel, he might be curtailed at the offensive end.

Around Wang, there is Sujit who has shown flashes of brilliance in limited playing time. Sagar BM, an inconsistent 3 point man will have to bear a huge load of the outside shooting, a burden his rather slender shoulders may not be able to handle. For this team, their x-factor could very well be Yuvraj, an unheralded buy at 1 million. His size and Wang’s athleticism will definitely help this team dominate the boards in matches.

Filling out the roster are Piyush, a deadeye catch and shoot player and Deepak Ingle, more famous for his exploits on the Badminton court, but looking to smash some balls (no pun) on the bigger court now. Tia is the lone girl on this team and has shown good shooting touch around the basket.

This team’s fortunes will live and die with Wangdi’s performance. Support around him is shaky and may come back to haunt the team against a good unit.

Alok Gokhale and Siddharth Gupta’s Team

Rebounds. This team is all about rebounds. And Parag. But then Parag gets all the rebounds anyway. So yeah, this team is all about rebounds. Parag can truly throw a team into despair by absolutely shutting them out on the boards. The only option left is to foul him, which isn’t exactly a great idea in itself. But let’s move on. This team has a few other vital cogs as well. Anurag Goswami is a one man fastbreak, although his eagerness for easy buckets might compromise defence. His tandem with Parag throwing outlet passes on his break could be devastating.

Archana Negi has some smooth ball handling skills. Her stellar play at the latest Jiggles (JGLS) sports meet silenced a lot of her critics. She also has a deadly jump shot which she uses very effectively. However, her biggest drawback is that she is streaky and can succumb to pressure, leading to her shooting air balls at times.

Supplementing Parag inside will be Rahul Kawat, a good shot blocker and rebounder. So yeah, no team is getting is getting rebounds against them. Linesh and Ramesh are great defensive players. While Linesh is effective on the offensive end, Ramesh is still raw in that department. The surprise in this team could be Jesselina Rana. A good shooter with deep range, she’s a versatile offensive weapon though her defence is still questionable. Rounding out this team is the free transfer Devashish Godbole, popularly Guddu, who adds more height to the team.

With a mix of players good in different departments and a virtual monopoly over rebounds, other teams better watch out if this unit clicks.

Chinmay Kanojia’s Team

Boasting of the league’s most expensive player, Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj aka Sattu (56.5 million :o), this team presents a formidable challenge. Sattu can score, Sattu can defend, Sattu can rebound. The only thing Sattu can’t do is play all five positions at once. And therein lies the problem. In breaking  the bank for Sattu, Chinmay may have exposed his team to personnel deficiencies.

Supporting Sattu on this team will be Somil (16 million? Are you kidding me?), a streaky three point shooter with a new found fondness for floaters. He can smother people on defence (literally) and should prove to be effective. The most polarizing figure in this team is Rahul Chaudhary, the free transfer. Another inconsistent 3 point shooter, reports say  that there are already trade rumours for him.

Rishi Raj will have to do his best to corral rebounds off misses if teams manage to shut down Sattu. Purushottam is another good rebounder. Rishika will have to take up a majority of the catch and shoot duties in this team with her proficient mid range jumper. Ankur gives this team some good physicality on defence though he will have to be vary of fouling out early in the game. The final member, Bhanu is an unknown commodity. Better known for his volleyball smashes, it will be interesting to see what he brings to the table.

Having Sattu on your team is always good. But it might be difficult for this team to carry on if opposition defences somehow manage to stop Sattu’s juggernaut.

Abhinav Srivastava’s Team

At the very onset let me make this very clear – it should be impossible to field a team like this in 89 million! This is a good team with good balance of capabilities. Nonetheless, it does have some chinks. Sanjeev will be vital to this team’s success. His defense, amazing court vision deadly floater and unselfishness will ensure his team gets a lot of easy shots. Hardik is another good player who can do a little of everything and hence is a versatile asset.

Aakarsh is a double edged sword. His quickness, defense and ability to finish ridiculously tough lay ups makes him valuable. However, he has severe tunnel vision, with passes coming only when he misses shots inadvertently. Add to that his habit of taking wild lay ups while being more horizontal than vertical and shooting long air balls (a trait he shares with Archana Negi. Was that awkward?) he could be detrimental for the team.

Maitreyi at 2 million is criminally underpaid and may prove to be the steal of the bidding process. On the other hand, Akshay Shreedhar for 20 million is one of the most head scratching buys of the auction. Rounding out this team is Munmun, a talented shooter and Kuldeep, a maverick on defence.

This team has one of the best collections of players in the league. However, it will all come down to chemistry and passing (or the lack thereof). With a good mixture of size, speed and shooting this team could be an early favourite. But if the ball sticks and they hoist bad shots, they could be the biggest damp squib.

Balwinder Sangwan and Vandana Vekatesh’s Team

Talk about full utilization of resources. This team has been built by spending the entire 100 million allocated to them. Maanas Vibhu (50 million) leads this team. An unruffled shooter, he has an Uncle Drew like capability to drop buckets from anywhere on the court. His shooting is his biggest strength but you cannot overlook his passing ability and game sense.

Alongside him, Arshu John injects a dose of athleticism and strength in this team to go with his defence.  His ability to cut in or drive in should work well with Maanas’ passing. Supporting these two is Aniruddha, who, if his ankles allow, is a versatile player who does a little of everything. Siddharth, aka, Bubba is severely challenged athletically but can use his bulky body in the post and shoot free throws accurately.

Vaibhav Tewari is still an unscouted prospect and hence his contribution cannot be predicted. The team’s biggest steal is Oshin at 1 million. A strong palyer, she doesn’t mind roughing up opposing players to get the ball. However, recent reports of injuries sustained at JGLS might limit the time she sees on the court and her effectiveness. Partyush Pandey is extremely quick and a pest on defence but his offensive game is practically non-existent. Mahima could be a surprise as a free transfer as she has shown decent shooting ability.

This team seems like a good unit. However, a lot will depend on how the players not named Maanas and Arshu perform. The lack of a true tall player might also hurt them. Moreover, they don’t have any budget remaining which will certainly hamper them on the trade market.


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