How do each of the twelve teams we’ve seen stack up against each other?
Ever heard the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun?” For proof that it’s true, look no further than this bit of information: AU Basketball’s inaugural season is almost over.
In all seriousness, it’s hard to believe that we’re in Week 4 already. Since that thrilling first match between Team Sims and Team Russell, fans have been treated to unexpected squad combinations, insightful commentary, and most importantly, high-quality basketball. But in the face of Athletes Unlimited’s unique draft system, an important question needs to be asked: just how good are all of the teams we’ve seen? Without further ado, here is every single team combination in AU Basketball thus far, rated on a scale of 1–5.
Team Sims: This group became the first team in AU history to go 0–3, which pretty much tanks their score, but their campaign wasn’t all bad. Captain Odyssey Sims was remarkably consistent, racking up double-digit points in every match. Plus, the team’s overall play improved once Kalani Brown found her rhythm and started seeing more minutes. Rating: 1.5/5
Team Russell: They acquitted themselves well, only losing to a solid Team Carrington in Game 3. Lexie Brown will understandably get all of the plaudits, but Taj Cole helped out quite a bit with offense, averaging over 19 points per game. Their attempt to gain individual points seemed over-reliant on two-pointers and defensive rebounds. But that’s not much of a surprise, since Mercedes Russell is fantastic at scoring in the field. Rating: 4/5
Team Mitchell: Their 3-point rates across the board were kind of erratic, which comes down to their team captain; Mitchell, despite being a great long-range shooter, went from sinking thirteen in one game to missing all of them in the next. Their win against Team Sims was impressive, but the come-from-behind defeat against Team Carrington was…less so. Rating: 3.5/5
Team Carrington: Their undefeated status is richly deserved. They were arguably the most clinical team in Week 1, and even achieved a 63.52% field accuracy rate against Team Mitchell to seal the win. The only nitpick to make is the fact that their wins weren’t very comfortable. Their defense nearly let them down against Team Mitchell until the fourth quarter, and they let Team Russell force a double overtime period. Nevertheless, they’ve set a high watermark for the rest of the teams on this list. Rating: 5/5
Team Harrison: This team earns a good rating for being a well-oiled machine, despite their imperfect record. First, Odyssey Sims combined with team captain Isabelle Harrison for 47 points in their loss against Team Brown. Then, Courtney Williams stepped up in their second game, scoring a team high of 30 points to lead them to victory. If that wasn’t enough, they crushed Team Rusell 100–74 the next day, this time with a new joint-top scorer: Jantel Lavender. Their teamwork was astounding to watch, and has earned them high marks here. Rating: 4/5
Team Brown: Brown made good choices in the Week 2 draft, and is clearly team captain material. Admittedly, her team was a bit too reliant on Tianna Hawkins setting record after record to win games. But hey, it’s hard to argue with a 3–0 streak and steadily improving field goal percentages. Rating: 4/5
Team Cloud: Natasha Cloud was able to draft several of her teammates from DiJonai Carrington’s fantastic squad. So it’s incredibly confusing––and disappointing––that Team Cloud slumped to a pair of losses in Week 2. They got smothered by Team Harrison, and converted less than half of their field attempts against Team Brown. It was a far cry from the clinical edge Team Carrington had the week before. Rating: 2/5
Team Russell: Well, well, well…how the turntables…
After leading an undefeated squad last week, Russell coached her team to a 0–3 record. Even worse, they suffered a 100–74 trouncing against Team Harrison, and ended the match with a terrible field goal rate. The only positives? Six players hit double digits against Team Brown, helping the team briefly tie the game during the third quarter. Rating: 1/5
Team Cloud: Not wonderful. The team went 2–1, and had to make a comeback in the only game they won. But on the bright side, Cloud’s new squad achieved a higher field accuracy percentage than her roster in Week 2, and she got a triple-double in their third game. Rating: 2.5/5
Week 4 Gamedayyyyyyyy— Athletes Unlimited (@AUProSports) February 16, 2022
💙 Team Cloud vs 🧡 Team Harrison @ 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT
💛 Team Hawkins vs 💜 Team Sims @ 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT
Team Hawkins: The same problem with Brown’s Week 2 team is present here. There’s just too direct a correlation between Hawkins’s quality and the team’s success. That doesn’t mean that they’re a bad squad, but it does mean that they’re an imbalanced one––and that’s something that needs to be addressed by future team captains when recruiting a player of Hawkins’s caliber. Rating: 3/5
Team Harrison: The newest undefeated team on this list, they put on a solid defensive performance against Team Hawkins, who struggled without their leader’s usual domination. Team Harrison’s next two games are why their rating suffers a little: they were just okay, and benefited greatly from their opponents being worse. But sometimes, a bit of luck is all that’s needed to be a successful squad. Rating: 4/5
The Week 4 teams––Cloud, Harrison, Hawkins, and Sims––haven’t played all of their games just yet, meaning that it’s still too early to rate. However, it’s safe to say that regardless of results or stats, Athletes Unlimited Basketball will continue to be as entertaining as ever––and maybe, a few more 5/5 teams will appear to cap off this 5/5 season.