Larry Kestelman is focused on expanding the NBL with new teams expected from both Australia and overseas. Recent talks have seen cities like Gold Coast, Hobart and even China potential areas for expansion.
No matter where the next NBL team is located the league will increase beyond 88 roster spots for the first time since 2009.
Where would a new GM look to bring 11 new players into the league?
With the current salary cap rules it’s fair to say a new team would sign eight talented, Australians and three imports.
We’ve put together a shortlist of the most likely Australian players currently playing overseas (without NBA contracts) who would be no doubt at the top of any new NBL team’s short list.
With eight rosters spot it’s fair to assume four would go to backcourt players (guards) and four front court players (centres and power forwards) so we want you to get your feedback on what players you think would make up a new NBL franchise if you were its general manager.
Vote for four backcourt and four frontcourt players you think would be signed by an expansion NBL team next season. It will be interesting to see how correct the Australian Hoops community is.
THE BACK COURT
Current Team: Plymouth University Raiders
League: British-BBL (England)
With most NBL teams having an import point guard a lot of talented Australian guards found themselves having to play overseas this season. Adding a ninth NBL team would see a number of talented players who could easily be in the NBL today return and run the floor. Carter’s, a two-time NBL champion with 282 NBL games on his resume would be a no-brainer when it comes to recruiting a new team’s backcourt. Despite being 32 Carter is still one of the best “Three and D” Australian guards today.
Current Team: Lokomotiv Kuban
League: VTB United League and EuroCup
Despite his statistics being modest, make no mistake Ryan Broekhoff is the best non-NBA player from Australia. Broekhoff had the most points, rebounds and assist by a non-NBA player on the Boomers squad in Rio and is capable of making an NBA roster. With his ability to play both guard and forward he is a name any new NBL team could only dream to have as it’s marquee Australian player. Broekhoff’s scoring and leadership would instantly give a new team the attributes required to go head to head with the Chris Goulding’s and Brad Newley’s of the league… and be able to come out on top.
Current Team: Turow Zgorzelec
League: VTB United League
Dillon had a great season in the Polish TBL last season, finishing fifth in the league in points per game. Dillon who recently signed to play with Japan’s Hiroshima Dragonflies could provide a scoring punch for an NBL right now but larger contracts overseas have seen him play internationally since 2012. Dillon is a tenacious defender and has proven he can score points in any league.
Current Team: Duke University
League: NCAA Division I
Jack White will become the first Australian player to play for the prestigious Duke University Blue Devils this season. We haven’t put a lot of college players on this list who still have eligibility as it’s unclear when they would leave to become professional. Jack isn’t expected to see large amounts of time this season so having already experienced NBL action last season with Cairns, perhaps a lack of playing time could see him leave school earlier to return to NBL success.
Current Team: Leuven Bears
League: Basketball League Belgium (BLB)
The NBL’s reigning Most Improved Player, Clint Stiendl, chose to turn down a number of NBL offers this season to test the European competition. Stiendl was impressive in the NBL in 2015-16, averaging 13.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game for the Townsville Crocodiles. Stiendl is a playing a number of teams would love to make room for this season so once a new NBL enters the league it won’t be long before we see Stiendl’s NBL return.
Current Team: Winthrop
League: NCAA Division I
We may have jumped the gun on this one as Xavier Cooks is only in his junior year in College, so it’s likely he wouldn’t be available for a new NBL team next season, however, his recent performances in college and having an NBL coach as his father might be enough to see him want to become a professional a little earlier than expected. An incredibly athletic swingman who can pile up steals and blocks in a hurry, surely it couldn’t be long before former NBL import and current Illawarra assistant coach Eric Cooks looks to his son to help the Hawks succeed in the NBL. If he doesn’t a new NBL team would surely be picking up the phone to Xavier in a hurry.
HT: 196cm WT: 84kg
Current Team: Fresno State
League: NCAA Division I
|yet to play|
William McDowell-White will debut for as a freshman for Fresno State in the coming weeks, so why would we list him as a potential player for a new NBL team next season? Firstly because even though he is only 18 years old he is one of the most talented Australian guards not in the NBL already and secondly because he came extremely close to deciding to play for the Townsville Crocodiles last season, so if his college experience doesn’t go as well as he would hope, perhaps we can see him return sooner rather than later. An excellent distributor with the size, speed and length to play against NBL quality guards. McDowell-White could be the first Australian point guard who could start for a winning team since Damian Martin and Adam Gibson took the court.
Current Team: KK Vrsac Swisslion
League: Basketball League of Serbia
We thought we’d see Mirko Djeric suiting up with the Sydney this season after he signed a deal to play under Andrew Gaze at the Kings before using an out clause which allowed him to fulfil a dream of playing as a local played in Serbia. Djeric propelled the Townsville Crocodiles to many come from behind victories with his deadly shooting and clearly has the talent to play in this league. No doubt we will see the talented abilities of Djeric back on our shores in the future.
HT: 193cm WT: 86kg
Current Team: Chaminade
League: NCAA Division II
Sam Daly is the talented brother of former Adelaide 36ers star Tom Daly. He is a great distributor of the ball with a high basketball IQ and although wouldn’t likely start for an NBL team he would be a great backup behind a quality import. A member of the Australia Junior National Team in 2011 he is currently in his senior year at Chaminade and will look to begin his career as a professional in 2016.
HT: 193cm WT: 83kg
Current Team: Lietkabelis Panevėžys
League: Eurocup and Lithuanian League
Former Sydney Kings captain Ben Madgen chose to give Europe a try instead of re-signing with the Kings in 2015. After a very successful season in Belguim, his deadly shooting caught the attention of Lithuania club Lietkabelis Panevėžys and now Ben is playing in the second best competition in Europe, the Eurocup. Ben is one of Australia’s finest shooters in any league and he would benefit any NBL team now or in the future when he is ready to return to Australia.
THE FRONT COURT
Current Team: Homenetmen Beirut
League: Lebanese Basketball League
Although Ater Majok’s earlier career saw him in short spurts with quality teams like Connecticut (NCAA), LA Lakers (NBA), Gold Coast and Perth (NBL) he has since carved out an impressive international basketball resume that would be welcomed back to the NBL. Currently playing in arguably the best Asian basketball league and only 29 years old, Majok is still on the radar of NBA teams with Chicago trading Jose Calderon to get his rights in July this year. His ability to defend the basketball would make any NBL a defensive nightmare.
Current Team: FMP Beograd
League: Adriatic League / Basketball League of Serbia
A talented small forward who comes from impressive basketball stock (he is the son of NBL legend Bruce Bolden), Jonah is sure to be a fixture on future Boomers teams. After spending a season at prestigious college UCLA Bolden decided a season in Europe would be the best way to boost his NBA chances. Although Bolden may be a tough get for a future NBL team due to him potentially wearing an NBA jersey, if somehow he’s unsuccessful at being drafted Bolden would make any new NBL team a legitimate contender in the NBL.
Current Team: Louisville Cardinals
League: NCAA Division I
This will be Mathiang’s final year at the University of Louisville. Currently being guided by coaching legend Rick Pitino, Mathiang will be focused on nothing less than the 2017 NBA draft. If that doesn’t eventuate however expect every NBL coach to try and gain his signature with potentially his hometown Melbourne United having the inside chance.
Current Team: Zalgiris
League: Lithuanian LKL (Lithuania)
This one is a no-brainer. Brock Motum is one of the few Australian’s playing in the second highest basketball competition in the world, Euroleague. He had a terrific campaign in Rio as part of our Olympic team and is legitimately one of the country’s best players not in the NBA. Motum played one season for Adelaide in 2015 and led Adelaide with 17.5ppg and 7rpg. Motum would be a franchise player for any NBL club and with recent NBL salary cap changes it’s only a matter of time before we see Brock back in the NBL.
Current Team: none
Cam Tragardh did have a contract to play this season but he was released by the Taipans just prior to the season’s start. Tragardh did receive interest from Illawarra, Adelaide and Perth but ultimately wasn’t offered a contract. He averaged 8 points (48% shooting) in his last NBL season and his NBL experience would benefit any new NBL team on the horizon. We may even see a homecoming if Hobart are successful in returning the league with the boy from Burnie, TAS could potentially return to the state where it all started.
Current Team: Regatas Corrientes
League: Lithuanian LKL (Lithuania)
We briefly saw Josh Duinker in the NBL with Sydney in 2014-15 where he averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds a game but since then he spent his career in Europe honing his game. Gaining experience in the Eurocup playing with Egis Körmend last season and now playing in the Argentinian league it’s clear he is a much more skilled player than he was during his NBL run. His ability to score at a very high percent inside would be something any new team could build around.
Current Team: Horsens IC
League: Basketligaen (Danish Basketball League)
Dan Trist might not be the first name on the lips of Aussie hoop fans, however, it’s about time we stopped sleeping on the man from Wahroonga, NSW. After a strong college career at Lafayette Trist was a projected NBA second round pick who ultimately went undrafted in 2015. He has been playing in Europe with the hope of catching the eyes of NBA scouts once again but perhaps the lure of playing in the green and gold in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, when we are unable to suit up our NBA players, is enough to lure him back to home. Trist’s ability to score double figures in the tough LEB Oro league in Spain should see him do well in the NBL if he ever decided to return home.
Current Team: Tartu Ulikool Rock
League: FIBA Europe Cup and Basketball Champions League (Estonia)
The defensive-minded forward with a pogo-stick leap, knack for defence and a great basketball mind almost found himself in the NBA after impressing at Eastern Washington University and then pre-draft workouts for the Sacramento Kings. NBL teams were in contact with Jois after he went undrafted but presumably they were unable to match the offers of european teams. With the league seeing higher financial success this season and many players finding the lifestyle of European basketball difficult, perhaps we see Jois in a Gold Coast or Hobart jersey in the coming seasons.
Current Team: Boise State
League: NCAA Division I
Nick Duncan has played under the legendary John Rillie for the past four seasons at Boise State so you know the guy can shoot and has a little “mongrel” in him. Now in his senior year Duncan would be a huge addition to any NBL team however, he is another player we may not see here for a while with his recent play gaining the attention of a number of NBA scouts. A 15 point game against #23 ranked team Oregon has scouts wondering if he’s worth a second-round selection. The NBA’s loss would be any NBL team’s gain and Duncan would be the type of young talent any new team needs to build around.
Current Team: Perth
Although currently signed with Perth Walker isn’t a part of the team’s 11 man squad so we’ve put him on this list. An injury replacement for Matt Knight, Walker has seen limited minutes this season but his previous form as a member of the 36es and United is enough to know he belongs in the NBL. A top-tier athlete who can defend multiple positions. Another born and bred Tasmanian who would be a good leader for the second unit for the new Tassie team.