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Basketball League of Amazing Benchwarmers (BLAB) Setup

Posted by Neil Paine on April 22, 2010

In case you missed it earlier this week, on Sunday I posted a link to a blog that paid tribute to 5 semi-random 1980s journeymen with surprisingly devoted followings on Facebook. A friend passed the link to me with a question about which additional players I'd like to see homages to, so I opened up the question to the readers here at BBR. And you responded with a lot of great names, to the point that one commenter suggested I create a team of these forgotten non-stars. But I want to take this tribute one step further -- I want to create an entire ficitional league out of these guys, and call it "BLAB", short for the Basketball League of Amazing Benchwarmers (Uwe Blab didn't make any of the rosters, but we obviously needed to immortalize him somehow). Here are the initial rules I laid out for the league:

  1. 6 teams, 12 players per team: 2 point guards, 4 wings/swingmen, 4 big men, and 2 "at-large" slots
  2. Each team is captained by one of the original 5 journeymen, plus Paul Mokeski
  3. Draft order is random and conducted over 11 rounds in a serpentine fashion
  4. Players are drafted in the order they were mentioned in the comments of the original post
  5. To be draft-eligible, players had to start less than 1/2 of their career games
  6. Teams play each other 6 times in the regular season, so it's a 30-game schedule per team
  7. Once rosters are set, we simulate the games using career Win Shares per 48 minutes

After setting the team names and draft order (1. Duckworth Ducks, 2. Kite's Flyers, 3. Rambos, 4. Team Mokeski, 5. Lone Wolfs, 6. Special Ks), the draft commenced. Lacking start data prior to 1982, I dropped the "starting 50% of games" requirement and let anyone in if they fit the profile of a player who played on the bench for some period of time and whose career lasted much longer than it should have based on his raw stats. Here was the draft order through (almost) 8 rounds:

Round Pick Team Player
Initial n/a Duckworth Ducks C Kevin Duckworth
Initial n/a Kite's Flyers C Greg Kite
Initial n/a Rambos PF Kurt Rambis
Initial n/a Team Mokeski C/PF Paul Mokeski
Initial n/a Lone Wolfs C/PF Joe Wolf
Initial n/a Special Ks PF/C Larry Krystkowiak
1 1 Duckworth Ducks SG/SF T.R. Dunn
1 2 Kite's Flyers PF/C Mark Madsen
1 3 Rambos PF Brian Scalabrine
1 4 Team Mokeski PG Damon Jones
1 5 Lone Wolfs C Chuck Nevitt
1 6 Special Ks C Luther Rackley
2 7 Special Ks C Will Perdue
2 8 Lone Wolfs PF/C Chris Gatling
2 9 Team Mokeski C Adonal Foyle
2 10 Rambos C/PF Chris Dudley
2 11 Kite's Flyers C/PF Cherokee Parks
2 12 Duckworth Ducks C Dave Corzine
3 13 Duckworth Ducks C Randy Breuer
3 14 Kite's Flyers PF Popeye Jones
3 15 Rambos C Dwayne Schintzius
3 16 Team Mokeski PG Eric Snow
3 17 Lone Wolfs C Tom Copa
3 18 Special Ks C/PF Earl Cureton
4 19 Special Ks PF/C Brad Lohaus
4 20 Lone Wolfs C Tim McCormick
4 21 Team Mokeski PF David Wood
4 22 Rambos PF/C Jack Haley
4 23 Kite's Flyers PF Ed Nealy
4 24 Duckworth Ducks PF/C Scott Hastings
5 25 Duckworth Ducks C Tree Rollins
5 26 Kite's Flyers C/PF Mark West
5 27 Rambos C James Donaldson
5 28 Team Mokeski C/PF Jon Koncak
5 29 Lone Wolfs C Manute Bol
5 30 Special Ks SG/SF Anthony Bowie
6 31 Special Ks PF Corie Blount
6 32 Lone Wolfs SG/SF Mario Elie
6 33 Team Mokeski PF Carl Herrera
6 34 Rambos SF George Lynch
6 35 Kite's Flyers SF/SG Willie Burton
6 36 Duckworth Ducks C/PF Wayne Cooper
7 37 Duckworth Ducks PG/SG Charles Jones
7 38 Kite's Flyers SF Chucky Brown
7 39 Rambos SF Bob McCann
7 40 Team Mokeski C/PF James Edwards
7 41 Lone Wolfs PG Chucky Atkins
7 42 Special Ks PG/SG Anthony Johnson
8 43 Special Ks PG Mike Wilks
8 44 Lone Wolfs PG Mike James
8 45 Team Mokeski SG/SF Jim Jackson
8 46 Rambos PG/SG Brian Shaw
8 47 Kite's Flyers SF Jim Loscutoff
8 48 Duckworth Ducks

At which point we ran out of perimeter players in the draft pool and had exhausted all of the slots for big men (not surprising, since the whole concept lends itself to lumbering bigs whose only "skill" is pure size). But to continue building teams, we needed to fill out the rosters with guards and swingmen, and to that end I built a regression predicting "BLAB Suitability" from the picks you already made. The important variables were minutes per game, points per game, and assists per game (both good players and guys of this ilk grabbed rebounds, which is why RPG was not a significant predictor). I'm also instituting a requirement that the player must have 24 or fewer career MPG, in order to keep the Bruce Bowens of the world (defensive specialists who actually started a lot) from infiltrating the league. Here's how the rest of the draft went:

Round Pick Team Player
8 48 Duckworth Ducks SF Jared Jeffries
9 49 Duckworth Ducks PG Bob Wilson
9 50 Kite's Flyers SG/SF Quinton Ross
9 51 Rambos SG/SF Michael Curry
9 52 Team Mokeski SF Kenny McIntosh
9 53 Lone Wolfs SF Danny Vranes
9 54 Special Ks SF Ira Newble
10 55 Special Ks SF/SG Tal Skinner
10 56 Lone Wolfs SG Dominic McGuire
10 57 Team Mokeski SF James Hardy
10 58 Rambos SF Chuck Cooper
10 59 Kite's Flyers PG Barry Orms
10 60 Duckworth Ducks SF/SG Jan Van Breda Kolff
11 61 Duckworth Ducks SF/SG Keith Askins
11 62 Kite's Flyers PG Al Masino
11 63 Rambos PG/SG Junior Harrington
11 64 Team Mokeski SF Corky Calhoun
11 65 Lone Wolfs SF Wardell Jackson
11 66 Special Ks SG Thabo Sefolosha

That gives the league these rosters/depth charts:

Pos Duckworth Ducks playerID
Big Kevin Duckworth duckwke01
Big Dave Corzine corzida01
Big Randy Breuer breuera01
Big Scott Hastings hastisc01
Big Tree Rollins rollitr01
Big Wayne Cooper coopewa01
Point Charles Jones jonesch03
Point Bob Wilson wilsobo01
Wing T.R. Dunn dunntr01
Wing Jared Jeffries jeffrja01
Wing Jan Van Breda Kolff vanbrja01
Wing Keith Askins askinke01
Pos Kite's Flyers playerID
Big Greg Kite kitegr01
Big Mark Madsen madsema01
Big Cherokee Parks parksch02
Big Popeye Jones jonespo01
Big Ed Nealy nealyed01
Big Mark West westma01
Point Barry Orms ormsba01
Point Al Masino masinal01
Wing Willie Burton burtowi01
Wing Chucky Brown brownch01
Wing Jim Loscutoff loscuji01
Wing Quinton Ross rossqu01
Pos Rambos playerID
Big Kurt Rambis rambiku01
Big Brian Scalabrine scalabr01
Big Chris Dudley dudlech02
Big Dwayne Schintzius schindw01
Big Jack Haley haleyja01
Big James Donaldson donalja01
Point Brian Shaw shawbr01
Point Junior Harrington harriju01
Wing George Lynch lynchge01
Wing Bob McCann mccanbo01
Wing Michael Curry currymi01
Wing Chuck Cooper coopech01
Pos Team Mokeski playerID
Big Paul Mokeski mokespa01
Big Adonal Foyle foylead01
Big David Wood woodda01
Big Jon Koncak koncajo01
Big Carl Herrera herreca01
Big James Edwards edwarja01
Point Damon Jones jonesda01
Point Eric Snow snower01
Wing Jim Jackson jacksji01
Wing Kenny McIntosh mcintke01
Wing James Hardy hardyja01
Wing Corky Calhoun calhoco01
Pos Lone Wolfs playerID
Big Joe Wolf wolfjo01
Big Chuck Nevitt nevitch01
Big Chris Gatling gatlich01
Big Tom Copa copato01
Big Tim McCormick mccorti01
Big Manute Bol bolma01
Point Chucky Atkins atkinch01
Point Mike James jamesmi01
Wing Mario Elie eliema01
Wing Danny Vranes vraneda01
Wing Dominic McGuire mcguido01
Wing Wardell Jackson jackswa01
Pos Special Ks playerID
Big Larry Krystkowiak krystla01
Big Luther Rackley rackllu01
Big Will Perdue perduwi01
Big Earl Cureton curetea01
Big Brad Lohaus lohaubr01
Big Corie Blount blounco01
Point Anthony Johnson johnsan02
Point Mike Wilks wilksmi01
Wing Anthony Bowie bowiean01
Wing Ira Newble newblir01
Wing Tal Skinner skinnta01
Wing Thabo Sefolosha sefolth01

Here's the regular-season schedule:

G# Home Team Away Team
1 Special Ks Duckworth Ducks
2 Kite's Flyers Rambos
3 Team Mokeski Lone Wolfs
4 Duckworth Ducks Rambos
5 Lone Wolfs Kite's Flyers
6 Special Ks Team Mokeski
7 Rambos Special Ks
8 Lone Wolfs Duckworth Ducks
9 Team Mokeski Kite's Flyers
10 Kite's Flyers Special Ks
11 Duckworth Ducks Team Mokeski
12 Rambos Lone Wolfs
13 Duckworth Ducks Kite's Flyers
14 Special Ks Lone Wolfs
15 Team Mokeski Rambos
16 Duckworth Ducks Special Ks
17 Rambos Kite's Flyers
18 Lone Wolfs Team Mokeski
19 Rambos Duckworth Ducks
20 Kite's Flyers Lone Wolfs
21 Team Mokeski Special Ks
22 Special Ks Rambos
23 Duckworth Ducks Lone Wolfs
24 Kite's Flyers Team Mokeski
25 Special Ks Kite's Flyers
26 Team Mokeski Duckworth Ducks
27 Lone Wolfs Rambos
28 Kite's Flyers Duckworth Ducks
29 Lone Wolfs Special Ks
30 Rambos Team Mokeski
31 Special Ks Duckworth Ducks
32 Kite's Flyers Rambos
33 Team Mokeski Lone Wolfs
34 Duckworth Ducks Rambos
35 Lone Wolfs Kite's Flyers
36 Special Ks Team Mokeski
37 Rambos Special Ks
38 Lone Wolfs Duckworth Ducks
39 Team Mokeski Kite's Flyers
40 Kite's Flyers Special Ks
41 Duckworth Ducks Team Mokeski
42 Rambos Lone Wolfs
43 Duckworth Ducks Kite's Flyers
44 Special Ks Lone Wolfs
45 Team Mokeski Rambos
46 Duckworth Ducks Special Ks
47 Rambos Kite's Flyers
48 Lone Wolfs Team Mokeski
49 Rambos Duckworth Ducks
50 Kite's Flyers Lone Wolfs
51 Team Mokeski Special Ks
52 Special Ks Rambos
53 Duckworth Ducks Lone Wolfs
54 Kite's Flyers Team Mokeski
55 Special Ks Kite's Flyers
56 Team Mokeski Duckworth Ducks
57 Lone Wolfs Rambos
58 Kite's Flyers Duckworth Ducks
59 Lone Wolfs Special Ks
60 Rambos Team Mokeski
61 Special Ks Duckworth Ducks
62 Kite's Flyers Rambos
63 Team Mokeski Lone Wolfs
64 Duckworth Ducks Rambos
65 Lone Wolfs Kite's Flyers
66 Special Ks Team Mokeski
67 Rambos Special Ks
68 Lone Wolfs Duckworth Ducks
69 Team Mokeski Kite's Flyers
70 Kite's Flyers Special Ks
71 Duckworth Ducks Team Mokeski
72 Rambos Lone Wolfs
73 Duckworth Ducks Kite's Flyers
74 Special Ks Lone Wolfs
75 Team Mokeski Rambos
76 Duckworth Ducks Special Ks
77 Rambos Kite's Flyers
78 Lone Wolfs Team Mokeski
79 Rambos Duckworth Ducks
80 Kite's Flyers Lone Wolfs
81 Team Mokeski Special Ks
82 Special Ks Rambos
83 Duckworth Ducks Lone Wolfs
84 Kite's Flyers Team Mokeski
85 Special Ks Kite's Flyers
86 Team Mokeski Duckworth Ducks
87 Lone Wolfs Rambos
88 Kite's Flyers Duckworth Ducks
89 Lone Wolfs Special Ks
90 Rambos Team Mokeski

The top 3 teams in the league make the playoffs, with #2 facing #3 in the best-of-5 semifinals (#1 gets a bye), and the winner facing #1 in the best-of-5 BLAB Finals.

So, what are your predictions? Based on the rosters, who will win the 2010 BLAB title? Who will be the MVP?

14 Responses to “Basketball League of Amazing Benchwarmers (BLAB) Setup”

  1. Jason J Says:

    I'm picking Team Mokeski to beat the spread in game 1. With two point guards who actually played a lot of minutes, Jimmy Jackson who can get hot and score from everywhere, Buddha Edwards who can get points in the post, AND of course the great Paul Mokeski... who can stand against them? That is 72 wins and a title in this league!

  2. Drescher Says:

    I predict the Mokeskis and Lone Wolfs battle it out for the championship. You cannot stop Eric Snow's win shares; you can ONLY HOPE TO CONTAIN THEM!

    Some other points of notice:

    -Chris Gatling for MVP? Or will Mike James's win shares hog the ball too much, messing up team chemistry while denying CG his touches?

    -You've created a monster on the Rambos. Can Scal, D-Shnizz, Dudley, and Rambo coalesce? Are there enough sweaty headbands to go around for this roster?

    -Mark Madsen and Cherokee Parks deserve their own post-game show. Here's to Greg Kite pulling some 'strings' (ZING! Pun completely intended!) and getting airtime on the team's local public access cable network.

    -Can we talk about Dominic McGuire's playerID? (there's a good chance it might have been my half-irish/half-italian cousin's first AOL Screen Name back in the day...)

    -How do you have a league of bench all-stars without Scott Pollard OR Oliver Miller?!? I'm disappointed. Is there a BLABDL that might need their services???

    Love the idea. You guys rock, as always.

  3. Neil Paine Says:

    I LOLed at that comment, especially the part about McGuire's playerID. You know, we had to change Kevin Youkilis' ID a while back because it was... unfortunate. (You'll see if you try it, first 5 chars of last name, 1st 2 of first name.)

  4. Jason J Says:

    Did you release an apology for your anti-Semitic playerID abbreviation like Mel Gibson?

  5. Neil Paine Says:

    I think we ended up making things right by doing a tribute to all-time Jewish home runs:

    That needs to be updated, too -- Braun had 32 last year, Kinsler 31, and Youk 27. If only Shawn Green was still playing, it would truly be a golden era.

  6. C. Fodor Says:

    What about Granville Waiters??????

  7. Jeff James Says:

    Jim Jackson, but I didn't see
    Sean Marks
    Antonio Harvey
    Anthony Miller
    Michael Ruffin

  8. Ian Says:

    I think this blog furthers the point made in the other thread: Eddie Lee Wilkins is simply not in Uwe Blab's league.

    Love it! I do feel some of these players are over (under?) qualified, however. James Edwards, Eric Snow, and captain Kevin Duckworth stick out like sore, statistically endowed thumbs.

  9. Neil Paine Says:

    I guess Waiters, Ruffin, etc. will have to wait until the next BLAB expansion draft...

    And this may actually be the first time Edwards, Snow, & Duckworth were accused of being too talented for a league!

  10. Jared Ras Says:

    Expansion draft? They've already got 90 games between 6 teams; I would think about contracting that schedule first.

    And poor Mokeski must have been in a hurry to fill out the franchise application. He didn't even have time to think of a clever name.

  11. JeReMy Says:

    I think the Lone Wolfs will win, just because the fact that Nevitt is 7'5" and Bol is 7'7" and together they will be a 15 foot brick wall. (Manute did block four shots in one possession against the Magic when he was with the 76ers.) (Nevitt wasn't nearly as good.)

  12. CNews Says:

    BLABDL is just about the funniest hypothetical sports league I've ever heard of.

  13. Daniel Says:

    ...and Yinka Dare STILL couldn't make it.

  14. Jeff J. Says:

    You NEED to bring this back.
    THEN I'll let you know who the worst ever NBA guard is.
    PLUS the worst ever NBA player (at least not named Chuck Nevitt :-O