New York acquired Will Manny and Joe LoCascio from Boston for Dave Lawson and Chris LaPierre.
On and off the field, Will Manny has been at the heart of everything the Boston Cannons have done for five years. As a rookie he worked his way into the league making backdoor cuts and finishing feeds from Paul Rabil. He has earned empty net two-point goals from riding hard, leading the Cannons’ top-ranked ride (7.7%).
Over the past few seasons, Manny has been one of the league’s most dangerous pick-and-roll operators. In 2016, Manny scored 10 goals and 9 assists in pick-and-roll situations. This year his usage has dropped off inexplicably. He hasn’t scored a point in the pick-and-roll since Week 1 – and last week, his role was reduced to picking for Kyle Jackson.
Several people both inside the Cannons organization and around the league are excited about Jackson. He’s fearless with the ball in his stick, plus he has the speed and the stick protection to get to the middle of the field consistently. Kevin Buchanan, Scott Bieda, Justin Turri and others can pick for Jackson; where Manny will be sorely missed is the matchup trickle-down.
Manny has drawn the top pole every week for years for the Cannons. That has benefited Kylor Belistri – who is shooting an insane 45.0% off the dodge, up from 15.4% during his rookie campaign.
Will Bellistri’s efficiency hold up against top cover defenders like Tucker Durkin and Joe Fletcher? Will Davey Emala (48.0% catch-n-shoot, including 6-for-11 on passes from Manny) work as well in a midfield-heavy offense?
It’s tough to imagine those players – and this offense as a unit – improving through this deal. The Cannons are scoring 13.85 points per 45 possessions – only sixth in MLL, but above league average, and closer to the 1st-ranked Denver Outlaws than the 7th-ranked Florida Launch. Even at 3-6, a postseason push was possible for an offense operating at that rate and a defense that’s sure to get stingier with Brodie Merrill and Mitch Belisle’s veteran presence back in the mix.
For Manny, the change of scenery may double as an opportunity to get back to his strengths. He should find instant chemistry with Joe Walters and Matt Gibson in the pick-and-roll. All three can pick or play the role of the ball-carrier.
Two of those three will need to run out of the box, which will be awkward at first. Having four attackmen on the field won’t help the Lizards’ transition defense, which has allowed an atrocious 21.7 points per 45 fast break possessions. But it’ll guarantee that either Manny or Walters or Gibson draws a short-stick. Those left-handed big-littles are a nice backup plan just in case the Lizards go scoreless for, let’s say, 16 minutes and 19 seconds in the second half.
Lawson had success creating his own shot last season (17-for-51 33.3% off the dodge), but has struggled this year (1-for-14, 7.1%). He’ll hopefully bring a downhill dodging presence to a Cannons midfield that is chock-full of … downhill dodgers.
Boston acquired Cal Dearth from Charlotte for a 2018 fourth round collegiate draft pick.
Dearth was drafted in the fourth round (31st overall) last month. The rookie from Boston University makes sense for the Cannons. He led the Terriers in goals (38) and assists (19) as a senior. He should see most of his time in the midfield filling in for LoCascio, who has cooled off after shooting 8-for-25 off the dodge in his first four games.
Charlotte acquired Kevin Cooper from Chesapeake for a 2018 third round collegiate draft pick.
Heading into the trade deadline, Charlotte wanted a fourth attackman; they pursued Kevin Cunningham, Matt Danowski and Tom Palasek before landing swingman Kevin Cooper. Whether he’s running attack or midfield, he can help create mismatches that the Hounds’ pick-and-roll players can feast on.
Florida acquired Tim Barber from Denver for a 2018 third round collegiate draft pick.
Barber has a certain nastiness to his dodging style. He’s physical, and would rather drive into you to set up a rollback on his strong side than sprint past you while decreasing his angle on his wrong side. He’s shooting 6-for-24 (25.0%) off the dodge this summer – and could push Steve Pontrello (1-for-11 off the dodge) and Sergio Salcido (1-for-7) out of the game-day lineup.