Plymouth Raiders: Can they make a raid on the playoffs?
Last Season Finish: 10th
Makem Takem Prediction 2018/19: 10th
Key Player(s): Donte Nicholas
Likely Starting Five: PG – Wilcher / SG – Williams / SF – Nicholas / PF – Jarvelainen / C – Howard
Concerns: Can they find a style that suits all of them that
It has been a turbulent few seasons in Plymouth and the arrival of new ownership was heralded last season. However, they learnt a few tough BBL lessons last season and were left with a decimated roster mid-season.
With the resignation of Gavin Love in the summer they have brought BBL veteran coach Paul James to take over the reigns. It seems that this is a good move for both Plymouth and Coach James, who to be honest was looking a bit jaded in Worcester.
His arrival has meant wholesale changes in the roster with only Joonas Jarvelainen, Denzel Ubiaro and Zak Wells returning. There are some familiar faces returning from previous Raiders years with Josh Wilcher back in the south-west. More importantly is the return of Donte Nicholas, who was one of the highlights of the dim days of two seasons ago.
The arrival of Javis Howard is an interesting signing as he wasn’t a go-to player in Southern Charleston but in Plymouth, he will be the focal interior presence offensively. If he rises to the challenge then Raiders are in a good place, if he doesn’t it may be a big issue.
The final import player is Jamal Williams. Williams is an exciting prospect from Sam Houston State. He will provide the Raiders with an athletic option offensively in the backcourt but he isn’t a proven perimeter shooter which will limit his impact.
The other two new arrivals will both be a work in progress projects. Declan Soukup makes the step up from Division One and will take time to settle to the higher tempo and physicality of the BBL. Whereas Shawn Shelton is a good opportunity to bring in a young British big and mould him into whatever type of player you want for the future. It is unlikely these players will make big impacts anytime soon.
The issue in previous years has been the stability of the roster and if Plymouth can keep the team together for the entire season it will mean a big improvement. However, their bench isn’t very strong and it isn’t clear how well the style of play for each of the players that they have will work together. They haven’t chosen a defined style and have a little bit of everything. This makes them versatile but is being a jack of all trades, master of none a good thing?