Outback Shaq is back!

Outback Shaq is back!

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).

Jarrad HurleyAuthor: Jarrad Hurley (63 Posts)

Jarrad Hurley's professional basketball aspirations led him to the dizzying heights of the Adelaide social league circuit. After an epiphany that his hoop dreams would go unrealised, he put the ball down and picked up a pen. Jarrad lives vicariously through the successes of Australian basketball, is a mad 36ers fanatic, and might just cry if the Boomers ever medal.