|Well, it’s the heart of winter and we’re about a third of the way through the Dream League season. And it’s about time for the first trimester report card. This is so named because it’s the first third of the season, but also because my best friend’s wife’s just reached the end of her first trimester. Here’s to Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Bob. |
NL: James Choi (Renegades). Choi is the best player on the best team. What more can you say? The guy is incredibly clutch, deceptively quick, and has confidence galore. His teammates call him Chump, but he’s anything but. When he shoots the three, he’s deadly accurate, with a smooth stroke that’s quick enough to startle. The fact that he fades slightly to his left only adds to the flavor. Need a guard who can handle, pass, defend, shoot, and make the big play at just the right time? Well, look no further.
Honorable Mentions: Nic Echevestre (M&A 101), Shawn De Los Reyes (NY Fury), Tony Hu (Renegades), Brandon Chock (Gen X)
AL: Eugene Kim (Moe’s Tavern). Kim is off to a good start after a couple of sub par seasons while leading his team in scoring and rebounding. His leadership, aggressiveness, and general surly disposition is remaking Moe’s usually friendly image. But the real story is his confidence. The swagger is back and so is the jump shot. Now the question is whether it will last the whole season.
First Trimester Awards!
Honorable Mentions: Joe Bimmerle (And None), Eddie Wang (DoGGs), Junji Nakamura (Team Matrix), Charles Zheng (Penn State Alumni & Friends)
AAA: Brian Yang (Old Boys). The Yangsta, a/k/a the Commish, a/k/a David Snerd, is having a fine season for the undefeated Old Boys. This was one of the toughest picks since the AAA has three undefeated teams and all three have deserving candidates. But this one goes to Yang for his superb work on both ends of the floor. He is averaging a double-double (15 points, 10.5 rebounds) and is among the league leaders in assists, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. To be sure, he has a good team around him, but he’s the biggest reason why they’re undefeated so far.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Kiang (Bonzai), Jonathan Guilfoile (Funky Skillz), Stan Yeung (Picked Last in PE), Frank Ip (HypeBeasts), Dan Hsu (Corlears)
Defensive Player of the Year
NL: Rama Raju (Ghee Unit). Just watch one game with Raju and you will see why this man is the DL NY’s version of Greg Oden. He’s got great timing on his emphatic highlight blocks. He’s almost impossible to beat with moves in the post. You can’t move him around in the block. The only way to attack him is if he’s guarding a quicker player who can drive. Even then, you better keep one eye behind you because he is the best recovering big man in the game.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Park (Tri-State InvAsian), Danny Han (A Ball), James Li (NY Fury), Joe Kim (Renegades), Yoshi Kagitomi (Super Soul Sonics), Brandon Chock (Gen X)
AL: Danny Han (Moneyball). The reigning AL defensive player of the year is at it again. His quick hands and quicker feet give opponents fits. And even though they may think they can post him up, his position defense as well as his veteran savvy have prevented anyone from taking advantage of the height advantage yet. And in this League it’s all about speed and Han’s got that in spades.
Honorable Mention: James Gonzales (Penn State Alumni and Friends), Dean Chiu (Team Matrix), Stanley Thomas (And None), Felix Shen (SK War Dogs)
AAA: Stan Yeung (Picked Last in PE). One of the easiest choices to make. Yeung is not only the point-center for his team. He is also the league-leading thief (at 6 steals a game) and the second leading rebounder (12.5 per game). The numbers don’t do him justice. His quickness, anticipation, and energy drive his team’s defense, which usually lead to easy baskets. Without that defense, PLPE would be just another pretender.
Honorable Mentions: Steven Gong (HypeBeasts), Jason Kwok (Old Boys), Tai Katoh (Funky Skillz)
Most Surprising Team
NL: Ghee Unit. For a team that won only two games to have already matched that total this season is impressive. To do it while overhauling the roster, well… that’s surprising. With Nazar Khan and Punit Menda playing some of the best ball of their careers, they’ve been able to withstand the inconsistent attendance of Mo Ghumman and Nik Nayak. This team can get real dangerous once DQ Li starts to really heat up from long range and Vic Bhartiya decides to play like a man. One can argue they haven’t played the best teams yet, but you can only win the games you play. And they don’t make the schedule.
Callin' Raju Oden is right, since both they, and this gal, go to, or went to OSU.
AL: Roswell Rayguns. This team lost two of their top three players from last season in Leighton Kuet and Joe Yen. But the team has been more than competitive. Mark Yiin and Roberto Ko have taken the scoring load while Karl Ngok has been a revelation on the boards, leading the AL with 15 per game. If they all play their roles, and Simon Huang rounds into form, who knows how this season will turn out for the Area 51’ers.
AAA: Old Boys. This team is true to their name. It is a roster full of old dudes. And guess what? They play pretty well together. For all 36 minutes no less! Yang may be the star of this team, but Nick Gao is the soul. With their unselfishness, steady guard play and talented frontcourt, the oldies should be goodies. Well, if they can last the whole season, that is.
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