Monday musings on the Basketball Japan League (bj-league)

Quick thoughts that have passed through my mind — with three weeks of games now in the book.

  1. It’s a pity that the league doesn’t take its duty to publicize information in a timely, common-sense manner seriously. Case in point: Statistical leaders and league standings (which should also be published in English) are still not posted on the league’s website.
  2. The state of affairs for the Tokyo Cinq Reves and Saitama Broncos is, well, disastrous. Once again. Tokyo, coming off a 5-47 season, is 0-6 to usher in the new campaign. Saitama, which went 6-46 last season after a 5-47 campaign in 2013-14, are also 0-6.
  3. Has anyone made a legitimate effort to promote the Oita Ehime HeatDevils in a professional manner, and done so with proven methods? One look at the team’s Sunday (320) and Monday (288) attendance figures signals another crisis in leadership for this long-troubled franchise.
  4. As he demonstrated playing under Dai Oketani on the Iwate Big Bulls (2012-15), Lawrence Blackledge is a versatile, game-changing force for Coach Dai once again this season, but now for the Oskaka Evessa. Exhibit A: Sunday’s stat line for the frontcourt standout: 13 points, nine boards, seven assists, four blocks and two steals.
  5. In their second year, the Fukushima Firebonds are off to a 5-1 start, which reflects well on second-year bench boss Hiroki Fujita, spitfire guard Masaya Karimata, big man Stephan Van Treese, rising star forward Le’Bryan Nash, among others.
  6. The Ryukyu Golden Kings’ talent and impressive depth will keep them in the hunt for the title in the bj-league’s 11th and final season.
  7. Misguided, nonstop expansion has watered down the talent level and most of the league’s teams do not have the number of top-level Japanese players they should have. Any industry that quadruples in size in a little over a decade will have major holes in terms of key personnel for key positions, and this follows suit for the bj-league’s 24 teams. In a nutshell, this crisis is magnified when one takes more than a half-second to study the box scores of various games, including Saitama’s 42-point effort on Saturday against the Shinshu Brave Warriors, and Oita’s 109-66 loss to the Kyoto Hannaryz a day later.
  8. Swingman Masaharu Kataoka is a good fit for the Sendai 89ers. In his first year with the squad, Kataoka is averaging 14.8 points through six games for the unbeaten 89ers. He’s converted 31 of 47 shots from inside the arc.
  9. Here’s a column I wrote a few weeks back about the launch of the three-division, 45-team B. League for the 2015-16 season: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2015/10/03/basketball/bj-league/size-b-league-will-present-challenges-outset/
  10. Shimane forward Josh Davis, averaging 16.6 rebounds and 12.2 points in six games, has emerged as one of the hardest-working newcomers in the league.
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