LaxDirt's Staff casts their Major League Lacrosse All-Star ballots for the Attack position.
The MLL All Star Game is always one of the biggest events of the year, it’s a huge draw for fans and probably the greatest showcase of lacrosse talent you will ever see in a year. This year it has a little different feel to it, as the MLL All Star’s will take on the players that have been selected for Team USA. With a little more than a quarter of the season done with its time to start putting together the team that will play Team USA at Harvard Stadium, here Tom, Joe and Tim take a look at what attackmen we would pick to matchup with Team USA with a simple buy or sell selection process.
|Player Name||Joe Keegan||Tom Bovee||Tim Thomas||Buys|
|Casey Powell (A)||Buy||Buy||Sell||2|
|John Grant Jr.||Sell||Sell||Sell||0|
Chris Bocklet: Denver Outlaws
Tom Bovee: BUY – Chris is a finisher pure and simple. He didn’t even get to try out for Team USA, which is crazy. He seems to get points no matter who is covering him. To win games you have to score goals and Bocklet does that all the time.
Joe Keegan: BUY – I always talk about how spacing is essential to a successful offense. Shooters create spacing because they demand early slides; early slides are long slides, and long slides are an offense’s best friend. Bocklet is like spacing medicine. It doesn’t matter if you have shooters around him. He can catch-and-shoot before the quickest slide arrives. Because of that, he makes defenses hesitant to slide. Nothing is worse than an overly hesitant or indecisive slide. Nothing.
Tim Thomas: BUY – Bocklet has been solid as ever for Denver this year. Seven goals and five assists for 12 points puts him right at the 3 points a game average that is the bench mark Mr. Bovee and I always talk about. A balance between feeding and finishing the former Virginia star has evolved and he has made a seamless transition in to the professional game in a short period of time. More than anything the "Clutch" factor stands out to me with Bocklet, he seems to be the type of player that is right where you need him for a key play and is there to contribute in the key moments. Denver other than the Rochester game hasn't really looked overly dominant, but they find a way to win games when the chips are down, Bocklet is a big part of that.
John Grant Jr.: Denver Outlaws
Tom Bovee: SELL – Another guy who doesn’t make it based on time missed, plus while he is amazing I don’t see all three Denver attackmen making it and the other two have a leg up on him. Grant is always a snub because of what he can do but Law and Bocklet are my Outlaw picks.
Joe Keegan: SELL – Grant Jr. was the toughest omission for me on attack. Like Tom, I couldn’t pick him because: a) he hasn’t played a full season and b) his two line mates are playing so well. If I’m trying to assemble a team to beat Team USA, then I’m picking him every time; if I’m honoring players for their success this year, then I’m passing reluctantly.
Tim Thomas: SELL – Perhaps it’s the time missed, or being on the new team but Junior just hasn’t looked as dominant to me this year as he has in years passed.
Eric Law: Denver Outlaws
Tom Bovee: BUY – He is an MVP candidate and maybe the best shooter in the league at this point. He isn’t just a finisher; he is a very underrated passer. He just plays so well without the ball.
Joe Keegan: BUY – Since entering the league, he has 61 points in 14 games (including playoffs). Rob Pannell has 58 points in the same amount of games. It’s hard to believe anything about Law’s game can still be referred to as “underrated.”
Tim Thomas: BUY – He has stepped as "The Guy" on attack in Denver and hasn't missed a beat living up to the billing. Creating, feeding, finishing and drawing a slide or double-team he does it all. After a fantastic rookie campaign Law now sits in the top three of the points standings with the likes of Paul Rabil and Casey Powell. If anyone had any doubts that Law had the tools to be an elite level player in this league he is proving those naysayers wrong on the field.
Will Manny: Boston Cannons
Tom Bovee: BUY – You were looking for Powell here weren’t you? I moved him to midfield because you have to have the Kid on this team. Another tryout snub for Team USA, Manny is pure energy on the field and his lacrosse IQ is underrated. If he was bigger he would be talked about a lot more but nobody – and I mean nobody – has more fun on the lacrosse field than this guy.
Joe Keegan: BUY – If anybody is still pushing the “too small” narrative, it’s time to stop. Opposing coaches aren’t buying it; he’s drawn the top defender in all four games this year.
Tim Thomas: BUY – Manny is another second year player who in my opinion is going to benefit from the Team USA vs MLL format. Manny’s season has resembled his team’s in a lot of ways; he has looked really good in the two games that Boston has won this season. (The game against Charlotte he should have had 5 goals if it wasn't for roommate Adam Ghitelman making some dynamic saves.) However, in the other two Boston's losses (Denver and Rochester) Manny has been erased by the opposing defense. The talent is there without a question and no one is harder on themselves in terms of being a self critic than Manny himself, but there has to be some more consistency.
Kieran McArdle: Florida Launch
Tom Bovee: BUY – The rookie has already been great and he keeps getting better, He isn’t as big a name as he should be because he played for St. John’s but he changed that program and he is going to be an MLL All Star for years to come.
Joe Keegan: SELL – Playing with Casey Powell has certainly helped him. If I bought McArdle, I’d be a hypocrite. He’s (arguably) contributed less to his team than John Grant Jr. and has played fewer games.
Tim Thomas: SELL – Just not enough from the rookie sensation yet even if he did have one absolute monster of a game. He's not there yet, but he will get there.
Casey Powell: Florida Launch (Attack)
Tom Bovee: SELL – I only sold him as an attackman because he is needed as a midfielder. He is the MVP thus far but so many attackmen are playing well I had to bump him up and might get a shorty on him once in a while because of it.
Joe Keegan: BUY – I don’t think anybody is going to argue whether or not Casey will make this team. Tom will try to cheat and put him at midfield, but he has only played attack this year. I can’t bend the rules.
Tim Thomas: BUY – The man, the myth, the legend CP22. Powell is back in rare form and the Florida Launch and their fan base have been the beneficiaries. Casey hasn't looked this good or this dedicated to Major League Lacrosse since 2009 and the result is Powell sitting atop the points rankings with 11 goals and 12 assists heading in to week five. I thought about putting Casey as a midfielder on my roster because I think Team MLL will be thinner a at that position but Powell has run almost exclusively at Attack this season and that has been a big reason for his production so here he sits.
Logan Schuss – Ohio Machine
Tom Bovee: SELL – His body of work just is not enough so far this season, he has all the talent in the world to make it but right now his missing time has hurt him a lot. I think he has all-star talent but hasn’t played enough yet to get my vote….yet.
Joe Keegan: SELL – Again, his season started late because of NLL commitments. I’d like to see Ohio try some new things to get him involved. Maybe they could run him out of the box – since they’ve been attacking exclusively from the midfield that might be the only way to give him looks.
Tim Thomas: SELL – Just not enough of an impact since coming over from indoor for me. We saw last season his impact in the second half, but early on just not enough to be an All-Star.