Will it Be a BTE Three-Peat?
SUMMERLIN OPEN: Preseason Power Rankings
By L.C. Comine | Summerlin Media Associate
The two-time defending champs are back and will be focused on one thing. Winning their third consecutive championship. BTE has won an impressive 17 straight games and went 10-0 last season. GM Stefan Hanania has done a tremendous job putting this team together and keeping them intact. The whole BTE squad is back, which includes three-time MVP Jordan Cannon and big man Andre McFarland. BTE did pickup Andre’s brother Allen, who will be a great fit for this team and will provide some more length and defense to a team that was already the best in the league defensively. BTE is the odds on favorite to win again this season, and until a team steps up and challenges them, I don’t see them losing their spot as the top team in Vegas.
It’s hard to believe the Villains haven’t won a Summerlin Open title since the Winter 2018 Season. This season should be another big opportunity for them and a new look roster should really help them look like the Villains of old. The Villains will welcome back future HOF Hollis Hale this season, and the pairing of him and Dreu Johnson will cause a lot of problems for teams this season. Marcus Wilson will also join the Villains this season. Marcus has history with myself, Hollis, and Juan playing in GV and he will be a big piece to the puzzle this season for the Villains. Marcus averages 16.2 PPG and grabs 11 REB in his UH career. Finally the Villains have two newcomers. Will Hopkins and Reese Gneiting both will join the Villains thanks to Dreu and Tij Von Nieda. Both of these players will be integrated into what the Villains want to do right away and it will be very interesting to see how this team comes together. The Villains will be without HOF Chase Skinkis for the first half of the season but he should be ready to go for the stretch run.
3. Livin’ The Dream
Livin’ The Dream’s record is 14-23 in its first four seasons in the open league. Five is the number of former NBA players this squad has had on its roster. Twenty-four games is the exact number those former NBA players have played. What I am trying to say is this team has had 22 different players on its roster in four seasons. It has yet to develop any continuity or chemistry. This season Livin’ The Dream has high hopes once again. GM Chris Mitchell has put together an impressive squad but you have to wonder if things will be different this season, or will it be more of the same? On this season’s roster is former NBA player Lamond Murray, who has played 13 games in GV, former open league MVP Josh McCarver, and newcomer Albert Humphrey. This team will be very big and physical and that should be able to keep them in a lot of games. The guards on this roster is where they may be some concern. Max Miller-Hooks is on this roster, but at last report he was out this season due to an injury; James Heneghan is also out injured. That leaves Ben Carey and Carlos Carthen. they are both capable guys who can score but can they keep up with the likes of Cannon, Skinkis, Johnson, Hale, Vaughns, Mears, etc every week? Dream has some very big pieces, and the talent so it will be very interesting to see how they come together.
4. Street(er) Fighters
Hats off to GM Streeter Hull for putting a team together and wanting to compete in the open league. Streeter wants to win and has proven he can do so in rec and he has won in the open league in season’s past. This squad will be a team that will score and score a lot. Mihail Kocevski and Bobby Mears will lead this squad along with last season’s top newcomer in rec, Nathaniel Burgess. They will have some length inside with Anthony Khotsikian and Mr. Double-Double Grant Lewis. Jamaal Thompson, who returns to the open league, will also be a key component for this team. Keep in mind Jamaal played with some big time teams when he was apart of UH in the past. He played for New Edition in 2015, and in GV he played for Flight Vegas. I will go out on a limb right now and say this team will be much better than people think and they will surprise a few teams this season.
5. Free Agents
Finally we have our Free Agents round out the preseason power rankings. To be honest this isn’t your normal Free Agents team. This team has some guys that can play. Kudos to some of these guys making the jump from the rec league and playing in the open league. Guys like Landon Cooper, Johnathan Mawhinney, and Hunter Hollins join the likes of open vets Devin Dunn, Marcus and Barrington Milner. This team has a few guys that play together on other nights and I think the chemistry should be pretty good. Unfortunately for them they are going to run into some teams that have a lot more size than them. I do know the guys on this team will play hard and will show up each and every week. This team will be competitive but I also think they will take some beatings.
MVP Prediction: Andre McFarland (BTE)
Andre will playing in his third season and he already has two titles. I think this season is his season to lead BTE. You ask how can I go against Jordan Cannon? Well I think if we see the Andre we saw in the title game for this entire season, well it will be a no brainer choice come seasons end.
GM of the season: Streeter Hull (Street(er) Fighters)
The last couple seasons Stefan has been the winner of this award and he may win it again. However I think Streeter is the odds on favorite this season. He has put together a very good looking team that will compete. If his team can gel and play some defense then they may be a contender. You cannot take away the job Streeter did in the offseason and this team will one to watch.
Offensive Player of the Season: Dreu Johnson (Villains)
Dreu joined the Villains half way through last season and averaged just under 31 PPG. This season Dreu will have more weapons around him and less double teams to worry about. Look for the duo of Hollis Hale and Dreu to have a big season and for Dreu to put up some ridiculous scoring numbers this season for the Villains.
Defensive Player of the Season: Josh McCarver (Livin’ The Dream)
Josh, a former MVP and Defensive player of the season, should feast in the paint this season especially with the other bigs around him. Josh for his career averages 12.3 Reb, 1 Stl, and 1.1 Blk a game. This past season in GV Josh averaged 13 Reb, 2.3 Stl, and 1 Blk. Look for Josh to have similar numbers this season.
Team that will surprise: (Street(er) Fighters)
I think I have let everyone know already that I think this team will surprise a few teams. This team has the scoring, has the point guard, and has the potential to protect the paint. The key will be how they come together and manage the playing time and touches. If they figure it out I truly believe this cold be a top three team by season’s end.
Team that will disappoint: (Livin’ The Dream)
This team has the talent to play inside, but without Max Miller Hooks this team will be in some trouble. If they had him, I think this team would be extremely dangerous. Make no mistake, I think this team can win this league but I don’t think they have the guard play to compete with the likes of BTE and the Villains. I could be wrong, but those two teams have showed you must have elite guards in order to win this league.
So who wins it all? Well I think we will once again see a title game between BTE and the Villains for the third consecutive season. The last two seasons these teams have played some classic games and right now BTE has their number. I think if the Villains had Josh McCarver back on its roster it would be a no brainer pick that they would win the title, but the Villains will be a bit of the unknown early with some new pieces. BTE of course will be that well oiled machine. I believe BTE is the favorite going into the season to win their third straight title but by playoff time I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Villains playing at the level they are known for.
Best of luck to the five teams this season. Should be a great one and look forward to seeing all five of these teams in actions soon