Power Rankings

RANK TEAM / RECORD CHANGE COMMENTS
1
Istanbul
2
LAST WK: 3

This edition of the Power Rankings will be a little different as it is the final episode. I will give each team a season in review along with a playoff preview. We start off with Istanbul, the only team to finish with 8 wins, a feat they need to be rewarded for. Many will probably question why they are at the top of this list even though they lost to arguably their two best opponents. My answer to that, they lost to a very good Kazan team right as Kazan was blossoming and they lost to an Alexandria team that was beating everyone by significant amounts. Istanbul won the games they were supposed to win, that is something no other team did. Looking forward, they get a first round matchup with Suba, a team they beat by 11 in week 2. Istanbul is a much better team than they were at that point in the season, so expect them to emphatically extent their win streak to six. Besides Adam and Mahmoud, Taha looks like he has become a legitimate offensive threat. He has scored 16 and 24 in his la

2
Sana'a
Sana'a
6-4
4
LAST WK: 6

If it wasn’t for a bad loss to Tehran ages ago, Sana’a would be at the top of this list. Looking at the full body of work, Sana’a has beaten some top teams, proving why they are a contender for this year’s championship. They had a very tough second half of the season, having to play Granada, Lahore, Dhaka, Mombasa, and Alexandria, and if it wasn’t for a 1 point loss against Raza and Co., they would’ve been perfect in that stretch. They get Fez in the first round, a team Raied “hoped” he wouldn’t have to face in the playoffs (see Power Rankings Forum).

3
Mombasa
Mombasa
7-3
1
LAST WK: 4

Mombasa had some impressive wins this season, probably the most impressive being a nail biter against Sana’a. They struggled in some key games against quality opponents, with losses to Dhaka, Kazan, and Alexandria. Nonetheless, they are without a doubt a top 3 team and my personal pick to win it all. Led by MVP Raza Nassim, the sky is the limit for Mombasa, but they will have a tough road to get back to the glory land. Just to start the postseason, they play a much tougher team than Amman’s 3-7 record would lead one to believe. A win would most likely get them a date with a scorching hot Mecca team looking to get over the hump. Mombasa has the experience, poise, and skill to get Masta Weiss his 7th championship (Left and right hand, Robert Horry).

4
Dhaka
Dhaka
7-3
2
LAST WK: 2

Between injuries and suspension, it just never seemed like Dhaka was able to hit their stride late in the season. After a hot start, they lost 3 of 4 games to championship level competition. They showed us last year that they turn up in the playoffs – it hasn’t been Farzad’s best season, but I have no doubt that he will take it upon himself to lead the defending champions and give his squad every chance to make it two straight. First round shouldn’t be much trouble, but then it may get interesting when they would face Kazan or Granada. If Farzad plays like he did last postseason, Dhaka will be go very deep, if not, they may be somewhat vulnerable.

5
Alexandria
4
LAST WK: 1

I was very high on Alexandria just last week, but the fatal flaw I pointed out was exposed by Sana’a. Alexandria has no bigs, so when a team with solid bigs play big, they will not be able to defend them. They gave up 44 points to two very solid players who outscored Alexandria by 9 alone. Alexandria has one of the most balanced teams in the league – this works to their advantage when they are able to move the ball around, find open shots, and get transition baskets. Their balance hurts them, though, when they are faced with adversity and need a response. They do not have ‘the guy’ who can takeover a game and just assert his will. Maybe they won’t need it, but they will need to find a way to score when they play other teams who can out physical them. They should get out of the first round, but they’ll be waiting for a rematch with Sana’a.

6
Mecca
Mecca
7-3
1
LAST WK: 7

Rewind to week 5 when Mecca was absolutely shocked by Granada to start the game, in route to a 25 point rout. Fast forward to now, Mecca had a terrific season. They knocked off some very worthy opponents, Anas continued to do his thing, winning the scoring title and leading the most potent offensive attack. Why is this Mecca team different from past seasons? Billal Abbassi. I’m going to go as far as saying that he is not only the x-factor for Mecca, he is the unsung player to watch for in the playoffs. Anas is going to get his ~20 points, Ammar is going to dominate down low, but where will that extra push come from – Billal. He had a very solid 9 point, 5 rebound, 2+ assists per game season, but he can do more for a team that needs a little bit more to really really have a shot. If he elevates his game and Anas continues to cause nightmares, Mecca is legit.

7
Lahore
Lahore
6-4
2
LAST WK: 5

For a 6-4 team, this season was anything but pretty. I’m going to hit you with probably the most eye-opening stat or statement of fact in all of Muslim Basketball: Lahore’s season HIGH this winter was 57 points. Lahore’s season LOW last summer was 58 points, in a season where they average 60+ points per game. Anwar, Waqas, and Bilal can average 45 points per game on their own. This is not a knock on them, sometimes it just doesn’t click right away. If they find a way to replicate the machine they were operating last summer, Jakarta has no chance, and I don’t even think Istanbul would be able to outscore them. That is a very large what-if though, but what we do know is, they have three guys who can take a game over.

8
Jakarta
Jakarta
5-5
2
LAST WK: 10

What we know: Defensive Juggernaut. What we think we saw: Fursan Abbassi finally catch fire. What this means: When both sides click, they may not be beatable. They were a .500 team for a reason – some weeks it clicked against great competition (see wins against Sana’a and Granada) and some weeks it didn’t even flicker (see loss to Fez). They will need to push every button on the remote to hope it clicks on both sides against a potentially potent Lahore squad.

9
Granada
Granada
5-5
1
LAST WK: 8

The epitome of inconsistency lead by a player who embodies that feat. He’s played well as of late, but week to week, we just don’t know which Omar Singer will show up. Between Shadi and now Omar Qasem, Granada has two more guys who can dominate a game, but Omar Singer’s dynamic style of play will be the factor that propels Granada into the second round and beyond. They face a familiar foe in Kazan who will be seeking revenge.

10
Kazan
Kazan
6-4
1
LAST WK: 9

It’s very tough to have Kazan ranked this low, but it just kind of played its self out this way. I think if they had a valiant showing against Dhaka they may be ranked higher, but that should not take away from the overall season they had. After week 8, it looked like they could be the potential 1 seed going into the playoffs, unfortunately they fell to 8, but I know they are chomping at the bit to avenge a week 9 loss against Granada. This has the potential to be a very close, physical, and chippy game – it is by far the hardest game to pick in round 1.

11
Amman
Amman
3-7
--
LAST WK: 11

They were by far the most disappointing team this season. A team with Omar Mana, Jawad, and Moayad should not be under .500, let alone not in the top half of the rankings. They have all the necessary pieces to be the start of a young dynasty – no disrespect to Weiss, but this big 3, potential and skill wise, rivals the squads he built in the past. They played a tough schedule and went through a gauntlet to end the season, but that is no excuse to lose 5 straight games by an average of 15.6 points against teams they should be able to compete with, if not beat. I hope these kids go in with a refreshed attitude and put their struggled behind them. If they do, they may possibly extend their season, but Mombasa doesn’t give opportunities away, Amman will have to go take it.

12
Tehran
Tehran
2-8
--
LAST WK: 12

A couple points here or there and Tehran could’ve potentially finished 5-5. They have some guys who are pretty good players, but they’ll need a star or two if they have any hopes of penetrating the top 10. I think they matchup decently well against Alexandra, but Alexandria is a more refined and just overall better version of Tehran. They play a similar style of basketball, one that is predicated more on ball movement rather than iso-ball. This game may come down to who shoots the ball better, even though Alexandria is the superior group.

13
Baghdad
Baghdad
3-7
3
LAST WK: 16

Injuries really plagued a potentially solid season. These guys forced a lot of young, fast teams to slow the pace and squeezed out a couple wins in the process. I don’t think Zak can outscore Mecca on his own (the only way Baghdad has a shot), but you never know. Sometimes if you play terrific defense, your shots find a way through the hoop.

14
Fez
Fez
4-6
1
LAST WK: 15

There’s no ‘d’ in ‘Fez’ or ‘Morocco’, which may be the only explanation to the 57.3 points per game they surrendered this season. I know Ed was hoping for a better season than this, but unfortunately the only thing worse than their win percentage was his shooting percentage. I don’t see how they can knock off Sana’a, but hopefully they make it competitive. 

15
Damascus
2
LAST WK: 13

They hung in there with some good teams, played some very good very good defense, and almost always won the rebounding battle. I was looking for Hosam to carry the load offensively, and while 9.6 points and 7.8 rebounds is a solid line, he is capable of doing much more, especially as the main offensive threat. We’ll see how much they’ve grown, as they take on Dhaka in a week 3 rematch, one they lost by 25.

16
Suba
Suba
2-8
2
LAST WK: 14

In a much more defensive oriented season, they still struggled to get wins. They just don’t have the fire power to go toe to toe with most teams in this league.


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