The last time the Adelaide 36ers were first on the ladder at the end of a round was way back in round one, 2012. This season’s team would hope that their campaign doesn’t end like that as the 2012 Sixers finished last on the ladder.
Nearly every NBL expert (and self-proclaimed expert) would have had Adelaide out of the playoffs come finals time and just like this power rankings page, a lot would have had them last. It’s just that crazy of a season.
It’s not only Jerome Randle doing the damage, as Daniel Johnson has risen to ninth in the league in scoring and runaway Most Improve Player award leader Nathan Sobey is sitting at eleventh. Can they keep it up?
Some terrible news in the league this week as Julian Khazzouh will miss the entire season with his quadriceps tendon injury and Cameron Bairstow will do the same with his ACL injury. Two superstar players that will be sorely missed from the league, and hopefully, they can make a full recovery for next season.
Question of the Week
Is it time to bring out the Violet Crumbles?
Points per game: 91.4 (1); points against per game: 92.4 (8); net: -1.0 (6)
When was the last time the leader of the NBL had a negative point differential? On average, Adelaide is getting outscored by one point every game which shouldn’t make sense. It just means that when the Sixers win they win by a small margin (like the 82-80 win in Adelaide against Sydney) and when they lose they get blown out (like their 105-87 loss to Brisbane in round seven).
It’s seven wins on the trot for the league-leading 36ers, and they play last and second last in the next two games against Melbourne and Perth. A double-digit winning streak isn’t out of the question.
Points per game: 84.2 (4); points against per game: 82.0 (3); net: +2.9 (1)
Are this season’s Kings like last season’s United team? The 2015/16 Melbourne season started 9-0 and ended 9-10 in the regular season before getting bounced by New Zealand in straight sets in the playoffs. The Kings started this season 6-1 but have gone 4-8 after that. Sydney has lost their last three and with the news that Julian Khazzouh is not going to suit up at all this season is really putting the pressure on this once unstoppable team.
Points per game: 88.6 (2); points against per game: 87.5 (7); net: +1.1 (2)
The Hawks split the Queensland double and showcased that they need more than just Rotnei Clarke if they want to go deep into the playoffs. Luckily in their overtime win against Brisbane, they got just that, with seven players in double figures, led by Nick Kay’s 14 points. Speaking of Kay, he is going to be a great player in a couple of years. At only 24 years old, if he keeps up this play he will be a star in the league.
Points per game: 83.9 (6); points against per game: 84.1 (5); net: -0.2 (4)
Talk all you want about how good that 100-90 win against a rampaging United side was, this round was dominated by the news of Cam Bairstow going down with an ACL injury that will cost him the rest of his season. It’s hard to see the Bullets coming back from this injury because even though Bairstow hasn’t been 100% so far, there was always hope that he would make this team a contender just by being on the court. Now, not so much.
Points per game: 81.5 (7); points against per game: 81.9 (2); net: -0.4 (5)
It seems that the production of Travis Trice will dictate how well the Taipans will travel in the second half of the season. Sure, Nathan Jawai appears to be showing the skills that a lot of people wanted to see at the start of the season. And Cam Gliddon’s stat line was spectacular: 18 points, nine assists, five rebounds and two steals in Cairns’ win against Illawarra. But when Trice is on his game, this team is so much better.
Points per game: 84.9 (3); points against per game: 86.2 (6); net: -1.3 (7)
The New Zealand/Perth game was certainly interesting. Neither team over 40% from the field, Perth at a shade over 30%. The Breakers turned the ball over twenty times (five more than the usual), and it was just a slog to watch. That doesn’t matter for the NZB because they got the win, but with Corey Webster down with ‘injury’, the team must find other places for their offense.
Points per game: 80.3 (8); points against per game: 81.6 (1); net: -1.6 (8)
Hopefully, this is Perth’s rock bottom because anything worse will be catastrophic. 30% from the field and an unacceptable 7/19 from the free throw line equals bad kitties. Even if the Wildcats magically make the playoffs somehow, they will need to improve their dire away record which sits at a woeful 1-5.
Points per game: 84.1 (5); points against per game: 83.9 (4); net: +0.2 (3)
Back to the bottom of the power rankings again for Melbourne. They tried hard and got a great game from Todd Blanchfield (20 points on 7/9 shooting). However, a 40-22 rebounding deficit against Brisbane is atrocious and needs to be addressed ASAP. They’ll get their chance at redemption on Boxing Day, and a win here will put them in good stead for the new year. A loss…not so much.