What a crazy first few weeks we’ve had so far this season. Sydney is flying, Perth is doing their thing, Melbourne struggling and Adelaide is doing their best Cinderella impersonation. If this is the start of the season, then it’s a good time to be an Australian basketball fan.
As this segment has not been updated so far this season for various reasons, this round’s power rankings will recap the first three rounds.
Question of the Week
Is Jason Cadee the best Australian player in the league so far?
Record – 4-1
Points Per Game: 87.0 (2); Points Allowed Per Game: 78.0 (2); Net: +9.0 (1)
Can any team in the past ten years boast a more talented squad? They’re on top of the ladder, and STILL have Julian Khazzouh and Steve Blake to join the active roster. The scariest part is that it’s not the big names doing all the work. Jason Cadee is in career best form and now is the run-away Most Improved Player winner. Greg Whittington has come out of nowhere to be a hugely important name in-between the likes of Lisch, Newley, Powell, and Maric. Here are some numbers for you: Whittington is 8th in points, 4th in rebounds, 2nd in steals and the best three-point shooter in the league. They’ve got the talent, the coaching and the chemistry but can they keep it going?
To read more about the Kings, click here for Marco Selorio’s take on Sydney’s championship chances.
Record – 4-1
Points per game: 75.2 (7); Points Allowed Per Game: 72.2 (1); Net: +3.0 (2)
The Wildcats are the Australian San Antonio Spurs. Both teams seem to win with ease, never seem to get frazzled, have an excellent home crowd and a team who have 100% committed to the team strategy. Also, their defenses are astronomically good. Perth gives up six fewer points than the second best defensive team in the league and is the textbook example of ‘defense wins championships.’ A 72-69 slog against Melbourne was a letter to the rest of the league that if any other team wants to win, it’s going to be a battle of attrition.
Andre Ingram hasn’t been as good as advertised but the return of Matthew Knight will give the Cats a much-needed offensive threat.
Record – 3-3
Points Per Game: 81.7 (4); Points Allowed Per Game: 79.2 (4); Net: +2.5 (4)
Is Melbourne the most disappointing team in the league? Most people would agree. A 3-3 record isn’t doom and gloom, but for a star-studded (and expensive) squad that includes Goulding, Andersen, and Jackson it’s just not good enough. Chris Goulding and David Andersen, two well-known dead-eye shooters, are shooting 33% and 38% from the field respectively and to make matters worse, Goulding has gone down with an ankle injury. Devin Williams’ new nickname should be The Cone with all the pine he has been riding. Cedric Jackson’s numbers look good, but that’s about it. Tai Wesley has been a pleasant surprise with eleven points in 16 minutes a game, but this team is light years away from last season’s start.
With the way Perth and Sydney are pulling ahead of the rest of the league, Melbourne needs to find a spark or they will be left behind.
Record – 3-2
Points Per Game: 80.0 (5); Points Allowed Per Game: 78.8 (3); Net: +1.2 (5)
What a start to the season Brisbane had, beating Perth and Sydney in their first two games. They’re third on the ladder with Torrey Craig starring, leading the league in rebounds and inhaled 17 rebounds in a 77-73 win over the streaking Kings. The Bullets are scary because they haven’t seen a 100% healthy Cam Bairstow yet. He’s played three of the team’s five games but is only averaging 22 minutes a game, with the coaching staff wisely bringing him along slowly after his injury at the Olympic Games.
They need more from their starting backcourt in Jermaine Beal and Adam Gibson. Apart from Beal’s 21 points in the Bullets’ loss to Adelaide, they’ve been almost invisible.
Record – 3-2
Points Per Game: 88.2 (1); Points Allowed Per Game: 91.8 (8); Net: -3.6 (6)
Has there been a more valuable player to their team than Jerome Randle? It would seem that if Randle were not suiting up in the weird camouflage 36er uniform, Adelaide would not win a game. He has been the best player in the league in the first three rounds, slotting in first in points scored and second in assists while shooting 58% from the field and has only missed one free throw.
A big shout out to Nathan Sobey who has stepped up his game and if Jason Cadee wasn’t playing as well as he is, Sobey would be the favourite for Most Improved Player.
Record – 1-4
Points Per Game: 87.0 (3); Points Allowed Per Game: 88.2 (7); Net: +2.7 (3)
The Hawks should be sending Adelaide a thank you hamper because without their 122-88 smashing, Illawarra would be all kinds of strife. Marvelle Harris has been fantastic, doing everything he can to make this team respectable but he hasn’t had much help. He’s currently third in points and first in steals in the league. Rotnei Clarke has been just average while AJ Ogilvy hasn’t been close to last season’s production. And the less said about Cody Ellis, Nicholas Kay, Oscar Forman, Rhys Martin and Tim Coenraad, the better.
The Hawks need a lift, and they need it now because one win from five games is not going to get the team anywhere.
Record – 1-3
Points Per Game: 77.3 (6); Points Allowed Per Game: 81.5 (5); Net: -4.2 (7)
What is happening in New Zealand? It could be that their schedule has been brutal, playing Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane in their first four games but the way they have played is worrying. They’re below average in points scored and points allowed, and it just seems that the Breakers are neither good nor bad. A filler team to round out the league between the contenders and the bottom dwellers.
Corey Webster and Kirk Penney haven’t lit the world on fire, and they will need to find something otherwise it’s not going to be a pretty season. They’re so bland that Akil Mitchell is the only New Zealand player to score 20 points in a game, with twenty points exactly in their loss to Brisbane.
Record – 0-3
Points Per Game: 73.0 (8); Points Allowed Per Game: 86.3 (6); Net: -13.3 (8)
Oh, dear. Where to start with the pitiful Taipans? In the whole league, 31 players are averaging double-figure points. Can you guess how many wear Orange? One. Only Cam Gliddon with 15.7 points a game. In their defense, Nathan Jawai and Stephen Weigh have been injured and not yet 100%, but the rest of the team should have stepped up. Mark Worthington is shooting a putrid 22%; Travis Trice is not much better at 28%, and Fuquan Edwin is practically Steph Curry compared to those two at 31%.
The Taipans have lost all their games by double digits. It’s not close, and something drastic needs to happen in North Queensland to even break even on this season at the rate Cairns and traveling.