Monday, 12 June 2017 19:29 Written by Nick Simpson
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2020 AmCon Round 2 Preview


2020 Richardson 02
The Pioneers' defense on All Star Dong Richardson will be key in the 2nd round of the American Conference playoffs.

 

#1 Kansas City Pioneers (59-21) vs #2 St. Louis Sun Kings (50-30)

Season Series: Pioneers 3-1

Matchups

CENTER

Dontae Grant vs Emanuel Devos

Neither player was outstanding in their regular season matchups. Dontae Grant only averaged 5 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. He was more of a defensive presence and was able to force Emanuel Devos into some difficult shots, which severely affected his field goal percentage. Grant will need to continue to keep Devos in check while staying out of foul trouble.

Devos averaged 9 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block in the four games against the Pioneers. He has never been shy of taking his shot and that was the case against the Grant and the Pioneers. Devos was 10 of 36 from the field in the SunKings three losses, including 3 of 15 from three-point land. He did bounce back nicely in the Sun Kings only win, going 6 of 7 from the field. If Devos can get hot or get Grant into foul trouble, he could go off and help the Sun Kings steal a game.

Advantage: Pioneers

 

POWER FORWARD

Andrew Sutton vs Dong Richardson

While most people will automatically concede this matchup to the Sun Kings, don't underestimate the importance of this position for the Pioneers. Andrew Sutton is a defensive specialist and he will be aided by Jessie Robertson, another defensive specialist, off the bench. The duo will do their best to slow down the Sun Kings best player, Dong Richardson. In the regular season matchups, Sutton and Robertson combined for 10.5 blocks per game. Their defense on Dong and Devos will be crucial in this series.

Richardson was very good against the Pioneers, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds and shooting 45% from the field. I believe he will need to shoot better than 50% for the Sun Kings to win this series. Richardson needs to have some spectacular games, not only scoring but also rebounding.

Advantage: Sun Kings

 

SMALL FORWARD

Marshall Gaudett vs Timothy Adler

Marshall Gaudett can do it all. He scored 21 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and stole the ball over 2 times per game against the SunKings. He's the ultimate team player and has no problem doing the dirty work while never getting the credit. Gaudett could easily be the difference in this series unless the SunKings figure out a way to keep his scoring down.

I'm putting Timothy Adler here, but it could easily be Daniel Goodrum who gets the start. Adler, the second-year star-in-the-making, gives the SunKings the extra scoring they need to keep up with the Pioneers in this series. But his lack of defense could allow Gaudett to explode. Goodrum is the better defender, but he is not as good of a scorer as Adler. St. Louis GM Dominik Jenewein will have a tough choice here of choosing between offense and defense, but I think both players will see a lot of minutes in this series.

Advantage: Pioneers

 

SHOOTING GUARD

Colby Allan vs Frank Williams

The Pioneers replaced future Hall-of-Famer Rudy Akamine with Colby Allan and they haven't missed a beat. Allan dominated the Sun Kings in the regular season. He averaged 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists during the four games and shot over 50% from the field. Allan is a lethal scorer and he will need to continue to put up big numbers for the Pioneers in this series.

Frank Williams was outplayed by Allan during the regular season. Williams struggled from the field, shooting only 35% from the field and 32% from beyond the arc. He will need to shoot better if the Sun Kings are going to upset the Pioneers.

Advantage: Pioneers

 

POINT GUARD

Darell Edwards vs Timothy Lawless

Darell Edwards is the catalyst for the Pioneers' high-powered offense. Edwards scored 18 points and dished out 9 assists per game against the Sun Kings. Edwards just needs to keep being Edwards in this series, which means scoring efficiently and finding open teammates for easy baskets.

Timothy Lawless is a bit out-classed in this matchup. Edwards is just too much quality for Lawless to win this battle. He will need to do his best to try and slow Edwards down and keep his turnovers down.

Advantage: Pioneers

 

PREDICTION

The Sun Kings have some great young talent, but the Pioneers are a notch ahead of them at this point. The Pioneers' fire power is just too much to overcome. I think the Sun Kings can get a home win, but the Pioneers will cruise to their 7th straight trip to the AmCon finals.

Pioneers in 5.

 


 

#2 Tampa Bay Tritons (58-22) vs #6 Las Vegas Blackjacks (49-31)

2020 Teeters 01
Andy Teeters and Domenic Baum are the headliners in this 2nd round series between the defending champion Tritons and the upstart Blackjacks.

 

Season Series: Tritons 3-1

Matchups

CENTER

Rajeev Seifert vs Louis Lysne

This is an offense versus defense match-up. Rajeev Seifert is a nightmare match-up problem for almost all teams and that's no different in this series. He will force Louis Lysne out of the paint to guard against the three-point shot. Seifert hit 8 three pointers in the four games against the Blackjacks in the regular season, while shooting 44% from three. He'll need to continue his hot shooting to spread the floor on offense for the Tritons.

Lysne will have to leave the paint to guard Seifert at times, but he will still be able to use his defensive gifts as he did against the Tritons in their regular season matchups. He still averaged 3.5 blocks against the Tritons and also pulled down 9 rebounds. However, Lysne struggled on the offensive end against this Tritons, shooting only 30% from the field. Lysne cannot shoot that poorly and the Blackjacks have to find a way to slow Seifert down on offense if they are going to be successful.

Advantage: Blackjacks

 

POWER FORWARD

Kevin Gordon vs Michael Abbot

Both players are similar – defenders and rebounders with not much offense. While Kevin Gordon doesn't shoot much, he did convert 53% of his shots against the Blackjacks. His 8 rebounds per contest was under his normal average, but he averaged 4 blocks per game. The Tritons need Gordon to be their primary defensive presence and continue to swat anything coming at the rim.

Michael Abbot impressively out-rebounded Gordon when they matched up against each other in the regular season. But, his blocks were down compared to his normal standard and in their first meeting, he got into foul trouble early. Abbot needs to stay out of foul trouble and get more blocks to help his team win this series.

Advantage: Tritons

 

SMALL FORWARD

Hunter Heath vs Stephen Lee

While Hunter Heath slowed down Stephen Lee on offense, he wasn't his normal all-around productive self against the Blackjacks. He shot only 34% from the field and he only averaged 8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. A far-cry from his normal 14 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 steals. He might not have to do it all for the Tritons, but his defense on Lee will be pivotal in this series

Lee struggled a bit against the Tritons in the regular season, mostly due to Heath's suffocating defense. Lee only shot 40% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc against the Tritons, down from his normal 46% and 44%. This is tough match-up for him, but if the Blackjacks are going to have a realistic chance at dethroning the defending champions, they'll need Lee to shoot better.

Advantage: Tritons

 

SHOOTING GUARD

Andy Teeters vs Domenic Baum

A mouth-watering match-up that should be a lot of fun to watch, Andy Teeters versus Domenic Baum didn't fail to live up to expectations during their regular season games. Teeters only played 8 minutes in their first match-up due to foul trouble, but in those 8 minutes he went 5 for 7 from the field and scored 12 points. In all four games, Teeters shot 61% from the field, including 55% from three, and averaged 26 points. He was virtually unstoppable.

Baum kept up with Teeters in the scoring department, averaging just under 23 points per contest versus the Tritons. However, he did not shoot anywhere close to as well as Teeters. Baum shot 43% and only 19% from beyond the arc. He also accrued some fouls, which is not unusual for him, trying to guard Teeters. Baum has to shoot more efficiently and try to stay out of foul trouble.

Advantage: Tritons

 

POINT GUARD

Ervin Glaser vs Prince McCary

Ervin Glaser wasn't spectacular against the Blackjacks in the regular season, but he didn't need to be. His job is to distribute the ball to the Tritons' shooters and shoot efficiently himself, which he did fairly well against Prince McCary and the Blackjacks. His assists were down, 6 per game versus 10 in the regular season, but he shot 47% from the field. If Glaser can limit his turnovers and find Teeters as much as possible, then he can say he did his job.

McCary isn't expected to score much, but he is the catalyst for this Blackjack offense. He did a good job distributing the ball against the Tritons during their matchups (8 assists per game), but he turned the ball over 2 times per contest. In the Blackjacks lone win, McCary had 13 assists and only one turnover. Those are the type of games he'll need to have every night if the Blackjacks want to win this series.

Advantage: Tritons

 

PREDICTION

The defending champions come into this series after a sloppy finish to the regular season, but they showed they are still the team to beat after eliminating the Chaos in five games. The Blackjacks were able to upset the Invaders and they could potentially pull the upset off here if Baum and Lee can catch fire and they can somehow slow down the great Andy Teeters. However, to do that four times out of seven against the Tritons is too difficult of a task.

Tritons in 6.

 

 

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