The Sydney Kings are looking at finishing their NBL season on a high note. They just defeated Brisbane Bullets tonight 90-73 and will go up against New Zealand Breakers at home on Sunday.
Now, Sydney is playing for pride and respect and it’s that mentality that has seen them escape the bottom rung of the NBL ladder.
In a season that could only be described as a horror train wreck for the proud ball club, Sydney has surprisingly found its mojo at the tail end with five victories in the last six games.
Back to back wins this week could put the Kings in front of Illawarra and Brisbane if the other teams lose their remaining games. Sydney finished 7th overall last season.
King’s coaching staff and GM Jeff Van Groningen have copped the brunt of the criticism unleashed by dejected fans. “Trust the process” was the message Jeff Van Groningen had for fans mid-season on the Aussie Hoopla podcast.
Another injury-riddled, drama-filled year and a high turnover of local players and imports continue to plague the club. NBA stars have come and gone. Yet the Kings are still in a rut, two seasons on. It seems although “the process” has delivered results in recent weeks, it has come too late for this NBL season.
The House of Gaze finally found some life after successive wins against Perth, Cairns and Brisbane over the last month. Sydney fans are starting to take notice, with 9,200 fans in attendance last weekend. Business could be really good if the Kings can manage to put together a winning program.
What caused the sharp turnaround?
Addition by subtraction. Releasing Jeremy Tyler seemed to have a positive effect in the Kings locker room. One prominent player mentioned that they got rid of the bullsh*t and started playing consistently as a group moving forward. The boys are finding some great chemistry together.
The captain is on the mend. Kevin Lisch came back healthier after a devastating calf injury sidelined him for a majority of the season. His return was a major boost to the Kings, providing the team with more ammunition and solid leadership.
Randle has settled in. Reigning NBL MVP Jerome Randle should’ve been signed from the onset instead of Travis Leslie.
It was a stroke of genius to secure his services mid-season. The pocket rocket delivered, but imagine where the Kings would be had they chosen to acquire him earlier. Kings need to re-sign him. Period.
The Kings ownership aspire to bring another title back to Sydney. It will take a lot more time, considerably more money and plenty of patience.
Gaze and Co need the right complementary pieces that are willing buy into the system. Address the defence, stay locked in and let the players play.
Maybe then we can start talking about the playoffs once again.