TORONTO,ON–The first week is in the books in the inaugural season of the National Basketball League of Canada, and it was an exciting one. Nine games have now been officially etched into Canadian history, with all seven NBL Canada teams seeing the floor in at least two contests.
This week’s power ranking features the two Ontario teams as the cream of the crop, and an undefeated team not in the top three.
1. London Lighting 3-0
At 3-0, the London Lighting are easily the most impressive team out the gate in the early stages of this first NBL Canada campaign. A successful sweep of a home and home series with the Halifax Rainmen, and spoiling the St John’s Mill Rats home opener has everyone including myself picking this team as early championship contenders. Michael Ray Richardson has the Lighting playing solid defence, which he was known for as a player; making the all defensive first team twice during his playing career in the NBA.
Games this week: November 10 vs Quebec Kebs, November 13 vs Saint John’s Mill Rats.
2. Oshawa Power 2-1
The surprise of the early season has been the Oshawa Power. A blowout victory at home against the Moncton Miracles, and a gutsy win on the road in Quebec has opened a lot of eyes around the league. Coach Mark Strickland has been preaching championship to anyone who’s willing to listen since his arrival in southern Ontario. Only problem is he may have to go through the Ontario’s other team to achieve that goal.
Games this week: November 14 vs Saint John’s Mill Rats.
3. Quebec Kebs 2-2
The Kebs were the NBL Canada’s busiest team this past week. They hosted three games, and got blown out on the road in Summerside. Regardless, they pose match-up problems across the board for every team. Royce Parran may be the most exciting point guard in the NBLC. He is a stat sheet filler. Parran finished the week averaging 17 points per game, 5.7 assists and 6.5 rebounds.
Games this week: November 10th @ London Lighting, November 13th vs Moncton Miracles
4. Summerside Storm 2-0
The Storm are the only other undefeated team in the NBLC. They also defeated two of the veteran ball club in the league in convincing fashion, but it still wasn’t enough for me to put them ahead of Quebec or Oshawa. They are the league’s best scoring team at 116 points per game. They have the league’s best field goal percentage, lead the league in assists per game at 29, and also are one of the top rebounding teams in the league averaging 54 boards a game. So why are they rank fourth overall on my list? Opposing teams are averaging 100.5 points per game against them, and all while shooting 46%. Offense may sell tickets, but defence wins championships.
Games this week: November 10th @ Saint John’s Mill Rats, November 13th @ Halifax Rainmen
5. Halifax Rainmen 0-2, Moncton Miracles 0-2, Saint John’s Mill Rats 0-2
All three of these teams have had their problems early on in the NBLC’s first year. Halifax got swept by London with little resistance. Saint John’s has played their brand of basketball, and the Miracles got the worst beating any team took so far in the young season. Good news for all of them, they all have 34 games left to play, but if they have any aspirations of being the National Basketball League of Canada’s first ever champions they have to turn it around, and fast.
This week’s games:
Halifax Rainmen: November 10th vs Moncton Miracles, November 13th vs Summerside Strom.
Moncton Miracles: November 10th @ Halifax Rainmen, November 13th @ Quebec Kebs.
Saint John’s Mill Rats: November 10th vs Summerside Storm, November 13th @ London Lighting, November 14th @ Oshawa Power.