Of the Australian stars to return to the NBL this year, none are bigger – literally and figuratively – than Nate Jawai.
The Perth Wildcats are expected to announce the signing of Jawai , 29, after performing their usual points cap gymnastics to have players re-rated to fit a man whose stature has drawn comparison to NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal.
At 208 cm, and 140 kg, Nate Jawai poses unique match-up problems for opposing teams.
There is no player in the NBL that is comparable to ‘Big Nate’. In a league where quick, inside-out centres flourish, he represents a dying breed of physically imposing, mountainous men who keep their business closest to the basket.
AJ Ogilvy – The next biggest man in the league – is almost 30 kg lighter.
Jawai is set to be an intriguing, 15-minute-per-game X-factor for the Perth Wildcats. With his tremendous girth and soft hands he will likely dominate offensively in the key. Defensively, however, Jawai – who has struggled with his fitness of late – will have trouble chasing centres such as Julian Khazzouh and Daniel Johnson to the three point line.
The opposition will exploit this.
In the Wildcats favour, an in-form Jawai could warrant double-teams. This will spread the floor for guys such as Casey Prather to penetrate and Jermaine Beal to create from outside.
And then he might set some nasty, tooth-rattling screens like this:
Opposition guards will need to invest in health cover before chasing Perth’s ball-handlers.
I would say that the Perth Wildcats have made the ‘biggest’ signing of the off-season, but that would be thoroughly exhausting the pun.
It goes without saying, though, the Wildcats really know how to turn their lemons (Greenwood) into lemonade (Jawai).