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Scouting Report: Cheshire Phoenix

Leicester Riders take on the British Basketball League’s only undefeated team in 2024, the Cheshire Phoenix, in their next Championship fixture.

The Phoenix have proved too much to overcome for every opponent this calendar year, including the League leading London Lions who they bested in the Trophy final.

Here have been the keys to their success…

Running the Fastbreak

Cheshire plays fast, with willing runners going coast to coast in transition at the highest rate of any team in the British basketball League. 

The Phoenix lead the League in fast break points with 18.97 per game, and get their opportunities on the break often by topping the points from turnovers charts with 16.77 per game 

Their ability to get buckets in transition stems from their ball pressure on the defensive end, where they rank first in steals with 8.53. 

Trophy Final MVP Laquincy Rideau has been key to getting the Phoenix on the run. The American point guard is first among all players in steals this season with 3.1 per game in his first season in the British Basketball League.

He also leads the League in assists with 6.8 per game, pushing the pace in transition and dishing off to his teammates on the run for easy buckets. 

Good shot selection and hustle in transition will be key to keeping Cheshire in the halfcourt in this one, and prevent easy baskets on the break. 

Offensive rebounding 

As well as getting easy looks on the break, the Phoenix crash the glass for second chance points to generate their offence. 

Cheshire ranks second, behind the Bristol Flyers, in offensive rebounding with 13.57 per game, leading to a League-high 11.80 second chance points per game. 

Front court pairing Ethan Chargois and Arryn Rai lead the effort on the glass, grabbing 2.5 and 2.4 offensive rebounds per game respectively. They both rank in the top 10 among all players in that department, their two pronged attack making it difficult to box out from missed Phoenix shots. 

The Riders have multiple players willing to do the work on the glass, from the League’s leading scorer Teddy Allen who pulls down a team-high 6.7 boards per game, to the Riders’ depth at the big position of Mo Walker, Sam Idowu and Duke Shelton who all take pride in their rebounding efforts. 

With the Phoenix shooting at a 45.55 % rate on the season- third best of all teams- the Riders cannot afford to give them second looks at the hoop. 

Points in the paint

Cheshire’s speed in transition, offensive rebounding and halfcourt approach means they rank second in the League in points in the paint. The Phoenix score 39.73 points in the paint per game, led by stars who relentlessly attack the hoop. 

Arryn Rai has been key to the offensive playstyle. The new acquisition from the NBL in the offseason is the team’s leading scorer and a top five scorer in the League with 18.3 points per game. 

Rai attempts 8.2 shots from within the arc per game, connecting on 62.2% of his looks in close.

This ranks third in the League of those who have taken over 100 shots. Rai’s aggressive drives to the rim opens up shots for teammates and draws fouls on opponents, highlighting the emphasis on the Riders being able to contest without fouling. 

The Riders have bodies to throw at Rai in the paint, but staying in front of the talented wing may be key to preventing a big scoring night. Cutting off Rai’s drives to the rim will be tasked with the Riders premier perimeter defenders, who are in for an intense night to limit Rai’s effectiveness.

We need you there!

The team need your help to get over the line in this one!

Get tickets here to get behind your Riders!