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Monday, 09 December 2019 13:45 Written by Greg Abcarian
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2025 OBWL Finals Preview


2025-FINALS-KCP-LON
Two of the league's best, the Kansas City Pioneers and the defending champion London Knights, will face off in the OBWL Finals for the first time.  Who will take home the Heikkinen Cup?

#1 Kansas City Pioneers (65-15) vs. #1 London Knights (62-18)

by Greg Abcarian

Well it is the moment we all have been waiting for. The Finals. It is no surprise that Knights GM Jian Lan and Pioneers GM Ben Johnson are the two fighting for the Championship. In the beginning of the season if anyone had to bet, those two would have been the teams most likely predicted in the Finals, with the Tritons close behind. Both teams are controlled by two gentlemen known for their great game planning and knowledge of the game. So, let's get the matchups out of the way and the prediction.

Center: Tony Jimenez (London) vs Joe Turner (Pioneers)

Well neither here are power houses and as stated before Jimenez is more of a role starter and not much on court time. Also, with the mind of Jian, it might be Sebastian Calabro here, but pretty much the same. Meanwhile Joe Turner is a shutdown defensive guy that changes the play when it comes in the lane. He won't do much on the offensive end but is never asked to do much on offense.

Winner: Pioneers

PF: Jean Larry (London) vs Charles Cazares (Pioneers)

A great matchup here. Two superior PF's going against each other. Both are critical parts on offense and defense, but who will be the better? Jean Larry has the advantage in big game appearances as he has won a ring before, but Cazares does have 3 inches in height over Larry. Both are beasts on defense with the edge for Larry on offense. In the end I think that Larry will have just a little more impact in the series than Cazares.

Winner: London

SF: Fredrick Gerard (London) vs Blake Cobb (Pioneers)

A position neither team has a star in, but both guys seem to do what each GM needs. During these playoffs, Gerard in hitting a TS%.538, a DEF of 92.4, while scoring 12.1 points a game in 27.3 minutes. All numbers any team would accept. On the other side, Cobb has a TS% .517, DEF of 88.1, while putting in 6.1 points in 21 minutes a game. Overall Gerard is the stronger of the two and gives the edge to Jian.

Winner: London

SG: Val Crumley (London) vs David Kitchens (Pioneers)

On paper it looks like an easy decision to chose Val Crumley, but when you look closer at the numbers it is much harder to decide. David Kitchens is an extremely effective player at what he is asked to do. He scores 18 points, TS% .551, 86.3 DEF, 2.9 assists. Put all that together and you have a pretty complete player. While he may not be known for his great defense, with the help inside, he is able to become a very efficient defender. On the other side, Crumley only scores 11.7 points, but then adds 8.5 assists, 5 rebounds a DEF 87.9 and a TS% .531. Crumley also is known as a better defender than Kitchens so doesn't rely as much on the help inside to cover him as Kitchens does.

Winner: London

PG: Alain Lagon (London) vs Mack Lavoie (Pioneers)

Another position that both GM's have 2 studs playing. Lagon has proven Jian right in trading for him as in the playoffs, he has proven he can give the same output from the season in the playoffs after a rougher showing in the pasts. Saying that Mack is doing the same for his team and his defense has been incredible. Everyone knows that Mack pretty much can stop any PG and hasn't don't anything to disprove those thoughts. The one thing Lagon has that should help him vs Mack is he is also very tall for a PG. Saying all that, I think that the edge goes to the Pioneers.

Winner: Pioneers

Bench: Jose Owens, Louie Benfield, Thomas Grundy, Truman Kaplan, Sebastian Calabro (London) vs Richard Hardee, Marshall Gaudett, Mark Marble, Preston Braun (Pioneers)

Unlike the last series, these benches are pretty well matched. London has the stud Jose Owens and the Pioneers have Hardee and Mark Marble as the main pieces. Saying that Pioneers have the edge, but then when you look at the rest the needle moves back more the center and even tipping a little in London's favor.

Winner: London.

So, who is going to come out victorious here? I think it will be a great series, but I think the ability to game plan and his overall edge in players makes Jian and his Londoners front runners and should win a back-back Championship.

London in 6.

 

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