Power Rankings

RANK TEAM / RECORD CHANGE COMMENTS
1
Dhaka
Dhaka
1-0
--
LAST WK: 1

They survived a heavyweight rematch against a Mecca team that may be better than they were last year. What continues to impress me about this team is that they have five legitimate guys who can absolutely carry the load any given week. Farzad was hobbled, Ali struggled from the field, Salman did his double-double thing, but Ameer and Fahad combined for 35 to survive a 3-point barrage from Malik Zubi. May not have supposed to end up winning this game, but have to salute them for overcoming a second half double digit deficit. They will continue to sit atop this league until they prove otherwise.

2
Sana'a
Sana'a
1-0
--
LAST WK: 2

Played a shorthanded Delhi squad, but this is more about Sana’a than Delhi. Mo Amin can play. Add 16 and 12 from Qasim and Salman, and this team can score. They have the size to defend the perimeter and really challenge opposing offenses. Add Raied’s dynamic and slashing offensive game and you have a team that can play with the best of them. Right now, only a handful of teams are equipped to challenge Dhaka – Sana’a tops that list.

3
Mecca
Mecca
0-1
--
LAST WK: 3

If it wasn’t for an unfortunate end to Anas Zubi’s day, Mecca would probably be sitting at the top of this list. With Anas, Mecca again will compete for the championship. If he is out for some extended time, Mecca will still be competitive. Jaber can play the role of distributor and attacker, while Malik does his thing beyond the arc. If they up the defensive intensity and rely less on constantly trying to hit homeruns in transition, Mecca should be fine without Anas for the short term.

4
Alexandria
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LAST WK: 4

For a team with very little emphasis on front court play, Alexandria seems to be at their best when they can keep the opposition off the boards. That starts with making shots – 44% from the field, almost 42% from beyond the arc – very little chance of running on them. Then have your guards rebound the ball effectively – 22 rebounds from the backcourt combination of Ahmad and the Masri brothers. Alexandria will be challenged when they face bigger and more front-court oriented style of play, but if their guards crash the boards and help their ‘big’ out, this may be the season Alexandria gets over the hump. Oh, and getting 22 from Bernie will help open up Mohammad Masri from deep – lethal.

5
Tehran
Tehran
1-0
--
LAST WK: 5

Very, very impressive win from this group. Last season’s core returns with some talented newcomers who proved against arguably the best defensive team in Jakarta that they indeed are a force to be reckoned with. Their individual stats may not pop out at you, but if you watched their opener in its entirety, you should have noticed that they really challenged an All-World offensive player in Mujtaba, they find ways to execute and get baskets, and they have a handful of players who have no issue taking the shot or making a play when it matters most.

6
Amman
Amman
1-0
--
LAST WK: 6

Dear Amman Opponents, if the ball does not go in the basket when you shoot, please turn around and get back on defense. Twenty rebounds…for just Omar Mana? Defensively and on the glass, this is a terrific group. Offense efficiency is what this team somewhat lacks. Moayad can score, there’s no doubt about it. Scoring 22 on 16 shots though, is oddly efficient. If he can find a way to shoot around 50%, score around 20, and only take 13-16 shots, Amman has a legitimate shot to climb. 20 boards for Mana is a load, but he needs to do more offensively as well. 5 points on 2/8 shooting will not cut it when he is forced to play both ends against Salman (Dhaka) or Ammar Idelbi (Mecca). Those are who Amman will have to go through if they look to win it all. Establishing a mentality to play under control and with efficiency is what they need to start doing from now, so when it matters, they are ready.

7
Islamabad
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LAST WK: 7

Was not the prettiest performance, but assisting on 18 of 21 field goals is impressive. Considering that more than half the team is related, the chemistry is evident. All 4 of the Abbassis have the ability to carry a team – combine them and this should look more and more like a well oiled machine as the weeks go on. Additionally, they stifled a very solid Istanbul squad – that is noteworthy.

8
Granada
Granada
1-0
--
LAST WK: 8

43 from the Ahmeds and Qasem was more than enough to breakaway from what seemed to be a pesky Cairo group. Add Omar Singer when he returns and they should have more than enough individual offensive talent to score with anyone. It will come down to how well 3 or 4 ball dominant players will mesh. Also, what will they get from the rest of the group? Ryan showed that he can relieve much of the big-man duty Waqas has normally had to burden – this should be a very encouraging sign for Granda.

9
Beirut
Beirut
1-0
--
LAST WK: 9

They’re back! Jon Mingo did his thing, but Nick stole the show. Looking at the stats, Sarajevo seemed to have the edge, but Beirut found a way to weather an outburst from Rameez. They’ll need to tighten up defensively and on the glass, but they have the pieces necessary to compete.

10
Kabul
Kabul
1-0
--
LAST WK: 10

Hamza seemed a bit unconfortable in his MB return, but Ahmed “James Harden” Farag stole the show, dumping in a career high of 20. Mohamed Miraoui also had a carrer high of 16. Don’t expect to see career highs every week, but also do not expect the Alaqrabawi brothers to shoot 2/12 and only contribute 8 points. Ameed, arguably their best player, wasn’t present, so look for them to only get better from here.

11
Suba
Suba
1-0
--
LAST WK: 11

Did not see this one coming. They looked good. Couple of new faces – maybe this is their year to make some noise and play some meaningful basketball. After beating Mombasa, they can no longer be taken lightly.

12
Mombasa
Mombasa
0-1
--
LAST WK: 12

Hate placing them this low, but they just seemed out of wack in their opener against a much improved Suba. They played without Gurg, but that doesn’t excuse their lackadaisical rebounding or poor 3-point shooting. Raza, Weiss, and Sadat all need to do more if they plan of reestablishing themselves at the top of D2.

13
Damascus
--
LAST WK: 13

THE YOUNGLIN! Fez, ignorant of my note, decided to sleep on Hamza Karkis. The Rook dropped 17 on a cool 9 shots, displaying his aggression by getting to the line a handful of times. His older brother, Hosam, had a strong 11 and 15 performance, albeit significantly less efficient – maybe he can share a bit more with his younger bro? They look good – they learned the hard way often last season, but this season, look for them to hold their own. They are terrific rebounders and have shot-making ability.

14
Jakarta
Jakarta
0-1
--
LAST WK: 14

Early season loss for a team with sky-high expectations. The Omar brothers struggled to get anything going, Mujtaba scored a very hard earned 22, and Jawad added 15 after hitting some very late clutch 3s to keep Jakarta within striking distance. They came up a couple free throws short, but a team this defensively talented and with a scorer as skilled as Muj, they should be able to handle 90% of the teams in this league.

15
Istanbul
--
LAST WK: 15

They are pretty much the same team as seasons before, but they sure did not look it. Istanbul struggled and were handled in all three facets of the game: offense, defense, and on the glass. 6 a piece from Adam and Mahmoud won’t cut it against the better teams in this league, and they learned that the hard way. Mustafa and Muhammed Turan scored 10 each, but they need to find a way to better clear out the glass – 12 combined rebounds out of the two is not enough.

16
Sarajevo
--
LAST WK: 16

Rameez had a terrific game, but Sarajevo could not turn his effort into a win.

17
Riyadh
Riyadh
0-1
--
LAST WK: 17

Too many turnovers and fouls plagued them, but giving up 20 rebounds to a single player ends all chance at victory. They struggled from deep, specifically, Abdul Kareem and Omar missed all 11 of their attempts from deep. Ricardo had a very solid debut, not only grabbing the double-double, but also keeping Omar Mana to only 5 points – cannot give up 20 rebounds to the opposing center though.

18
Palermo
Palermo
0-1
--
LAST WK: 18

Abdul Motaleb Popal. Wow. Someone else will have to do something alongside him, but wow, he might singlehandedly get them some games.

19
Cordoba
Cordoba
0-1
--
LAST WK: 19

Jamel and Ziare did all they could, but they had no answer for the offensive barrage Alexandria hits their opponents with. Cannot give up almost 70 and expect to win many games.

20
Cairo
Cairo
0-1
--
LAST WK: 20

A quarter into the game, they looked like the superior team. The ensuing 30 minutes, they looked like the inferior team. Kareem tried to do everything he could, but no one else was really able to get into any rhythm. They’ll need everyone to step up if they look to crack the top half of the rankings.

21
Fez
Fez
0-1
--
LAST WK: 21

Someone other than Ed needs to do something. He might have better luck bringing his baby Adam to run alongside him.

22
Delhi
Delhi
0-1
--
LAST WK: 22

9 points in a half will not get a team anything that resembles a win. They’ll have their work cut out for them. Hopefully they can keep the season within grasp by the time Muhanad returns week 5.


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