Monday, 25 June 2018 12:03 Written by Dominik Jenewein
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2022 NatCon Finals Preview


2022-NATCON-FINALS
Denver SF Greg Fore has been the breakout star of the playoffs.  Can the Demons defeat the Huskies and break through to the OBWL Finals?

 

This years NatCon Conference Finals are something that you don't see every day. First off, the teams are unusual. Never before has one of the two teams won the conference title and only once (2011 Huskies) has one of the teams been in the conference finals. But this year is different. Gone are the Knights, Thunderbirds and Highlanders which leads us to the second unusual thing this year. The teams in the conference finals are the seed #4 vs. the seed #6. The Huskies overcame the Sharks in round 1 in 6 games, while the Demons had a very dominant sweep over the Highlanders, despite Vancouvers homecourt. In round 2 both teams had to face their division winners, Toronto had to face the London Knights and managed to pull an 1-4 upset on the champs of 2020. Denver overcame the opposition homecourt once again and threw out the Thunderbirds in a 6 game series. So now we face the conference finals with 2 surprise teams, the Huskies with homecourt and the Demons who managed already twice to overcome homecourt. So let's take a close look on the teams, matchups and a potential outcome.

Center: Howard McGee vs. Darin Deans

McGee and Deans are both mainly defensively minded players that are strong rebounders and shotblockers. Bot can score as well, but are not the biggest threat on their team. In a straight matchup Deans should be the better player, as he scores more efficiently and is a better matchup defender. McGee however just commits 1.7 fouls in nearly 40 minutes of playing time, while also being an adequate post matchup defender. It's not a big difference between them, but Deans has the slight advantage due to being a better man to man defender in addition to being a 7-2 wall. Certainly not the easiest center to overcome in the interior.

Slight advantage Demons.

Power Forward: Charles Flowers vs. Charles Cazares

Charles Flowers is without a doubt the best player this league has ever seen. An All-Star from day one, a 3 times MVP, 5 times All League First team Power Forward that has no real flaws in his game and does everything you expect out of a big man. Careerwise he averages 29 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and a shooting percentage of .513% from the field. He is a dream come true for every GM and in addition to his great stats, he also plays good post defense and has the stamina of a horse. Easy to say there is no matchup that can really compete with him, but let's look at Charles Cazares. Just like his frontcourt buddy Darin Deans, Cazares is a defensive first kind of player. The 7-0 PF is known for his great rebounding, blocking and matchup defense alongside an efficient, yet not spectacular offense. Flowers shoots mainly from the inside, where Cazares and Deans are big defensive walls that will not give him easy opportunities. Cazares is also quite fast for such a big PF, which compensates one of Flowers main strenghts - his quick first step. Overall Flowers will have a harder time against the Demons than against many other teams, but they will not be able to keep him from being dominant, as he has shown during regular season (3 times 30+ points in 4 matches).

Clear advantage Huskies.

Small Forward: Motya Kamensky vs. Greg Fore

The matchup at Small Forward will be one of the most important one's in the series. Greg Fore is one of the leagues best scorers with 26.5 points (27.9 in this years playoffs so far) and the go-to-guy for the Demons. Kamenski is also mainly an offensive player, but has less firepower than his opponent. Fore is one of the leagues smalles SF's, but certainly the fastest. This will be the problem for Kamenski, who is taller, but also a lot slower than Fore. His quickness to get away from the defender often gives him free 3-point opportunities or beats the defender when driving to the hoop. Little Fore is the lightning next to his big frontcourt buddies thunder and Kamensky will have a lot of trouble keeping Fore from scoring in bunches. In addition to it, Fore is a better defender than Kamensky, which might lead to Kamensky looking to use his height advantage in the post - where Deans and Cazares will wait for him.

Clear Advantage Demons.

Shooting Guard: Mathew Cole vs. Daniel Goodrum

Mathew Cole has been one of the leagues top scorer for years. For 9 years en suite he averaged 25 points or more per game, but the ravages of time have caught up with Cole. Yes, Kamensky is back on the Huskies squad, but Cole's production decreased by 6 points a game and in addition to this his efficiency suffered too. He isn't the lightning fast and versatile threat that he once was anymore, nowadays his playstile has changed a lot and he gets less open shots. With Daniel Goodrum against him, this will be no difference. Goodrum is probably the leagues best backcourt defender, he is fast and a nightmare matchup for every shooter. He has the best defensive technique the OBWL has ever seen and his offensive gets better each year. While his efficiency has been a problem a few years back, he nowadays is a solid scorer as well. He will give the Huskies some trouble for sure.

Advantage Demons.

Point Guard: Jonathan Weaver vs. Larry Burt

If both teams have a little weak spot, it's their PG's. Weaver and Burt are no stars for sure and are not the topic of a lot of news articles. But both do quite a good job in running the offense for their teams. Weaver is a true passing PG that averages nearly 10 assists a game over his career and has a fantastic ast/to ratio. He rather passes than score himself and his defense isn't great either, but he is the guy that keeps the Huskies offense going and he for sure is a great help for the 3-headed offensive monster of Flowers-Kamensky-Cole. Larry Burt has been a good acquisition for the Demons. He is fast, a good defender, passer and ballhandler. His offense is bad and he does nothing in a spectacular manner, but he is exactly the kind of roleplayer that can really help a team, which is one of the reasons why we have the Demons in the conference finals.

Even.

Bench and Backups

Huskies and Demons have a very different rotation style. While the Huskies mainly rely on their starters to get a lot of minutes, the Demons have a big rotation in their lineup with noone except for Fore playing more than 31 minutes a game.Tony Griffith and Rookie Chester Rangel get big backup minutes in the frontcourt, while Tod Padron and Jerry Carmichael backup the backcourt. Griffith brings in an offensive touch in the defensive minded Demons frontcourt, Carmichael is a do-it-all kind of player. Overall the Demons depth is pretty solid and they can have a good squad on the court for the whole game. The Huskies have 3 or 4 main backups as well, but they play a minor role as already stated.Kadeem Parandian and Darnell Pinard eat up the minutes that are left in the frontcourt. Parandian is a role player that does the dirty work whereas Pinard is pretty versatile and kind of a glue guy. In the backcourt the Huskies have Gary Gabel and Rookie David Lorenzen. Gabel is a sophomore that mainly gets minutes due to the fact of little depth in the Huskies backcourt. Lorenzen is a young guy with good potential that can help in spot minutes, despite much needed work in some areas of his game. Overall the Demons have better depth and use their bench more, which could lead to them having more gas in the tank in clutch minutes. 

Slight advantage Demons.

Prediction

Denver has already shown two times, that homecourt is not important for them. They are on a run and I don't think that the Huskies will stop them. It will all depend on Charles Flowers, who will have to make a difference for the Huskies, but will be well defended by Denvers Bigs. Cole will have to step up too, but against Goodrum I see little space for special games. Demons also have better depth in their roster, so I think that they will pull another upset and go to the OBWL finals as the #6 seed.

Demons in 6.

 

 

 

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