The Swoops All-Star Tournament festivities are fast approaching and here at Swoops we could not be any more excited. Too excited, perhaps, as our responsibility of picking which 20 players will be the first All-Star class has resulted in some seriously fiery debates. All in good fun of course, but, some chairs may end up tipped over by the time the final group is selected.
In an effort to showcase a wider variety of organization only one Swoopster per team is allowed to be selected as an All-Star in Season 0. Of the 20 Swoopsters that will be selected, there will be 8 guards, 8 forwards, and 4 centers. From there our All-Star captains will sit down together and go through a snake draft to build their All-Star teams and compete in a mini-tournament to see who comes out on top.
In addition to the bragging rights and publicity of having an All-Star, team owners will also be given a cool $50. On top of that, if their Swoopster ends up on the winning team they'll collect an additional $100. The team captain who ends up winning the All-Star tournament will also take home $150 for their efforts.
How do you become a team captain, you ask?
All-Star captains will be chosen based on who wins the four daily challenges that Swoops is co-hosting with our awesome partners. One captain has already been chosen, as the Meta Mustangs came out on top of the Pirates Plunder All-Star Challenge earlier this week.
In a Clint Capela vs. the Miami Heat play-in performance, the Mustang's forward Alpha snatched 15 offensive rebounds and plundered the opposing team 3 times for a total of 18.
The next opportunity to grab one of the three remaining ASG captain slots will kick off at 12pm EST on 4/18, as the Lazy Soccer All-Star Challenge will task teams to have the Swoopster with the highest field goal percentage (min. 100 FGA) in a 24 hour time frame.
As we count down to finalizing our captains and the pool of Swoopsters they'll have to pick from, I wanted to highlight some of the players who have played fantastic ball this season but might not have seen the court enough to make the cut for All-Star this year. There were a ton of Swoopsters to pick from, dozens of which deserved to be on the squad, but I had to narrow it down.
Without further ado, I present the Secret Stars All-Stars!
Starting at point guard for the team is none other than the Tune Squad's Cyborg Mamba.
Cyborg Mamba is a four-star prospect in their fourth season, capable of slotting into guard or forward, and has put up some majorly efficient scoring through a shade less than 400 games.
Nearly 21 points on 46/38/80 shooting splits is rock solid. For reference, some NBA players who are putting up similar PPG on that efficiency this year are Jrue Holiday, James Harden, Jamal Murray, Mikal Bridges, and CJ McCollum. Not a bad group of guys to be lumped in with. Cyborg also chips in 7 rebounds a night, which would lead that pack of players and be the fourth highest mark in the NBA this season among guard eligible players - trailing only Josh Hart (7.8), Josh Giddey (7.9), and Luka Doncic (8.6).
While we could run into some issues with facilitating, as our first Mamba (spoilers) dishes it out only 2.7 times a game, I'm confident that we can round the roster out to be a team that can rely on finding the open man and running a motion offense to make up for that. Despite the low amount of assists, Cyborg is sporting an 87 IQ which has helped to keep him under 2 turnovers a night and should be able to keep control of the rock and not let our opponent get out in transition.
Joining Cyborg in the backcourt is none other than his cousin, de facto leader of the team, GM's Black Mamba.
Our secondary snake has played nearly 200 games this season and is putting up some extraordinarily unique numbers so far. While the 15 points per game on 42% shooting doesn't seem remarkable, the majority of those shots are coming from three. As a result, GM's BM is sporting a well above league average true shooting percentage, and slots in perfectly for our "swing the ball around" offense as he'll be able to reliably make around 40% of his deep balls.
Much like Cyborg, there's no direct facilitating to speak of here at just 1.8 assists per game. However, the 1.1 turnovers suggest that they're a fairly mistake-wary Swoopster and should be able to keep things under control and out of the opponent's hands.
While the ~2.5 stocks per game are excellent, the real reason for selecting Black Mamba (outside of the three point shooting) was the absolutely dominant 12 rebounds a night. That's a bigger number than many Swooper Bowl bound team's starting centers, and we're going to get that from our guard! In doing so, we can either sacrifice a little bit of rebounding from our forward or center position knowing that BM will be able to take that responsibility on. On the other hand, we could also double down on rebounding and emphasize it in our next three picks to create more second chances on offense through OREBs, which could greatly help with our lack of playmaking from the guard spots.
We'll wait to make that decision until we get to the two big men on the team, because I wanted to find a way to get the Bone Squad's Jrew Albetron on the team first.
Through 70 games this season, Jrew and the Bone Squad don't have a great record, but it isn't for a lack of production from this swingman. Jrew is putting up 19 points a game on 45/43(!!!)/75 with barely two turnovers a night. Being able to have a 43% volume shooter on the wing for our team will be excellent, as we can rely on Jrew to do some heavy lifting as a scorer, continue to space the floor out at an elite level for our team, and build out our hilariously collegey-but-effective motion/spacing team.
On top of being one of Swoops best shooters from beyond the arc, Jrew is a capable rebounder at 7 a night, but more importantly has been an excellent defender. Staying true to this Swoopster's namesake, Jrew has some of the best hands of Season 0, netting two steals a night for the Bone Squad. On top of that, they're inching close to a block a night as well, showing that they can get it done on ball, in the passing lanes, and at the rim.
Jrew Albetron is exactly the kind of Swoopster you'd want as the 2nd/3rd option on an excellent offensive team, or even a #1 offensive option on a team that can get him the ball more often and lock down team's on defense. Ideally we will be able to provide both of those scenarios.
As I was searching around for who we're going to slot in at the four, I came across Kargin's Alpo - a three-star prospect F/C in their sixth season who I haven't encountered much, but looks like one of the hidden treasures of Swoops that I was looking to find while putting this together.
Through ~300 games, Alpo has put up 18 points a night on 48% from the floor, 39% from three, and 67% from the line - as a F/C! That puts Alpo near the very top of all stretch bigs in the league, and at that volume would have him in the same NBA group as players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Cam Johnson, Jerami Grant, and Nick Batum.
What Alpo does that those players don't do however, is rebound the ball like a maniac. At 11.5 boards a night (including ~3 offensive), Kargin's big man obliterates those prior names on the boards, and would be 5th in the NBA this year behind Domantis Sabonis, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert. Looks like we've made our choice regarding the team's rebounding principles: Go get them.
Alpo is also chipping in a block and a steal a night, but the real highlight of their defense is the 84 PDEF from the big man. Alp can get it done as a defender in the paint but grades out as one of the best switching bigs in the league, making PnR offense a huge pain for opposing teams, and even stifling great guards and forwards from scoring in isolation. Basically our version of Aaron Gordon, Evan Mobley, or day I say it Draymond Green.
In a lesser-but-similar Draymond sense, hilariously Alpo is our leading assiter on the team at 3.1 a night. While it's not much, it's something, and continues our philosophy of taking care of the ball at a hair over one giveaway a game.
To round out the team, we're going to be anchored by none other than Jawline Johnson of Hirsh's Hoopers. Professional model by day, professional Swoops center by night.
Jawline Johnson is another capable scorer at 19 points a game on 49% from the floor, a very respectable 35% from three for a true center, and a wholly reliable 80% from the line. Jawline can get it done down low with the best of them with his 89 2PT-INT, step out for a little midrange action, and can't be left wide open from three every single time either - a non-necessary but a fantastic luxury option for our super spacing team.
We're tripling or, sheesh, maybe even quintupling down on rebounding with Jawline as well. The Face is currently 7th in the league among qualified players at an unreal 5.2 offensive rebounds a game, giving us an elite secondary opportunity creator on offense, and making the other team's work on the defensive glass a serious pain. Adding another ~7 DREBs gets JJ to just under 12 boards a night in total and gives our team its 3rd 11+ RPG stud.
Like Alpo, Jawline is also an excellent switching big coming into the team with a 75 PDEF rating. That's almost Bam Adebayo or Anthony Davis level switchability from a center, which means our team should be absolutely constrictive defensively - especially for opposing guards.
Jawline sticks with our theme of low turnover players who can facilitate just a little bit with nearly 3 assists a night while keeping the turnovers under two.
That's our five for this team, and as we head into practice we'll be preaching the three S's: Space, security, and shot selection. My theory on offense is that we can essentially play four out-wide the entire game, move the ball around until we find a good look, fire up a ton of high quality threes, but also dump it into the post or play a little two-man game as well with the bigs and Cyborg or Jrew. Our shooting is elite, our offensive rebounding is fantastic, and we should be extremely difficult to guard. On top of that, we're also made up of five elite ball-security players, so issues with turnovers or letting the other team get out in transition should be minimal. Our opponent isn't going to get easy defensive possessions due to our mistakes, they're going to have to fight for every defensive rebound, and with five high-efficiency players will have to battle to get us to take bad shots.
On defense, what we may give up in terms of defensive guard pressure from the Mambas, we should more than make up for with an elite perimeter defender in Jrew, an elite inside-outside perimeter in Alpo, and a huge force in the middle who is highly switchable in Jawline. If opposing guards get past our first line of defense, they'll be met with help defense and tons of hands coming for the ball and in passing lanes from our backcourt, and if forced to pass out should likely be into contested shots. I think we'll greatly limit the opponent's ability to get inside scoring opportunities, force a lot of tough looks from the outside, and generate a bunch of turnovers that should lead to easy transition buckets for our offense as well.
That's the theory, at least, and a little look at how I'd think about this if I ended up being an All-Star captain. You, however, have a real chance to become one and build out your All-Star roster like this. So attack those upcoming challenges with all you've got, secure your spot, and let me get an interview with you to know how you're going to build your team for the tournament!
Good luck to everyone the rest of the way and keep your eyes peeled for some special announcements this week!