Power Rankings – Week Six

Power Rankings – Week Six

So, the Breakers take down the two-time defending champions in a matter of three days and all people can talk about is how the last placed team picked up a point guard.  The season may only be a third of the way completed, but it’s time to give New Zealand the respect they deserve, and they’re doing it in the best possible way.

 

However, I would like to vent to the big men of the NBL and their WOEFUL shooting from the foul line.  Is it that hard to shoot two attempts, unguarded, from less than six metres away from the hoop?

 

Apparently not.

 

Rob Loe: 5/12 (41.7%). Josh Boone: 14/34 (41.2%).  Amritpal Singh: 4/10 (40%).  Delvon Johnson: 5/17 (27.3%).  What!  Finn Delany: 3/11 (27.3%).  MIKA VUKONA: 3/17 AT SEVENTEEN POINT SIX PERCENT.  This is inexcusable.  Get your act together guys.  If fans thought the umpiring was poor before, wait until there’s a “Hack-a-Breaker” where Loe, Delany and Vukona shoot 50 free throws and make five.  The game will last days.

 

Question of the Week

Is anyone expecting Jerome Randle to turn the Sydney train wreck around?

 

1. New Zealand Breakers (+1)

Record: 8-1

Next Round: Brisbane (home)

ORtg: 118.0 (2); DRtg: 111.6 (4); Net: +6.4 (2)

 

This league thrives on guard play.  For all the Daniel Johnson’s and Josh Boone’s in the paint, a Bryce Cotton and Casper Ware is taking the spotlight.  So, when the Breakers trot out a guard rotation of Edgar Sosa and DJ Newbill with Shea Ili and Kirk Penney coming off the bench, they already have the advantage.  In the two games against the historically good Wildcats defence, these four players combined for 113 points.  This team is a legitimate contender for the crown.

 

 

2. Perth Wildcats (-1)

Record: 5-3

Next Round: Brisbane (away), Melbourne (away)

ORtg: 120.5 (1); DRtg: 112.0 (5); Net: +8.5 (1)

 

It must be hard for a team to rely on two players so intensely.  Bryce Cotton and JP Tokoto combined to score 54% of Perth’s points in the two games against New Zealand, something that the Wildcats will be sure to rectify.

 

Also, after pumping up Angus Brandt’s tyres in the last Power Rankings, he finished the week with all of 13 points and seven rebounds on 5/14 shooting.  Total.

 

 

 

3. Melbourne United (–)

Record: 5-4

Next Round: Perth (home)

ORtg: 113.1 (5); DRtg: 107.9 (1); Net: +5.2 (3)

 

What a rollercoaster of a week for Burn City (don’t blame me, that’s actual advertising material from Melbourne).   First, they shoot 47% and somehow only score 69 points in a 23-point drubbing of Cairns.  Then they back it up with 108 points against the Kings, the most in club history.

 

The big three fired in that game, but Tai Wesley is making a name for himself.  He scores a point for every two minutes of court time and is one block and one steal away from averaging a block and steal on the season.  No NBL player is averaging that statistic.

 

 

 

4. Illawarra Hawks (+2)

Record: 4-5

Next Round: Sydney (home), Cairns (away)

ORtg: 113.9 (4); DRtg: 114.5 (6); Net: -0.6 (5)

 

The Hawks were dead and buried before Demetrius Conger, and Rotnei Clarke summoned the undead and somehow got past the Sixers.  Illawarra outscored their opponent 33-15 in the final term, and they did it but playing solid defence, getting Conger and Clarke open shots and made the Sixers panic.  It also helps that the dynamic duo put up 50 points between them.

 

They need games like this to jumpstart their season, as the team has finally decided to play like the grand finalists they were last season.  Taking a three-game winning streak back home to play Sydney will give them a massive boost of confidence.  If they can win against Cairns up there, then this team is back in business.

 

 

 

5. Adelaide 36ers (–)

Record: 4-5

Next Round: Sydney (home)

ORtg: 111.5 (6); DRtg: 109.2 (2); Net: +2.3 (4)

 

Apart from a delicious performance from Ramone Moore (24 points, five rebounds) and Mitch Creek’s usual hyper-efficient game (14 points, nine rebounds on 5/7 shooting) this team was lucky to be as close as they were.  Daniel Johnson, Nathan Sobey, Matt Hodgson and Shannon Shorter, aka the other four of the starting five, went 7/37 from the field on their own court.

 

This team doesn’t seem to have a clear path on how they want to play.  They want to run and score a lot of points, but their opponents are outrunning them.  Their defence is very good, but they are prone to taking plays off.  And how does Josh Childress fit in with all of this?  Questions that must be answered if they want to be a contender again.

 

 

 

6. Brisbane Bullets (+1)

Record: 3-4

Next Round: Perth (home), New Zealand (away)

ORtg: 116.3 (3); DRtg: 123.9 (8); Net: -7.6 (7)

 

It must be hard to be Travis Trice.  Not only is he having an outstanding season, being one of only three players to average at least four rebounds and four assists (the other two are Shannon Shorter and Damian Martin), he’s near the top of many MVP leaderboards.  17 points and eight assists (the second most in any game this season) in a best on ground performance in the win against Cairns puts him… around fourth or fifth in the point guard ranks.  As I said, it must be hard being a point guard in a point guard league.

 

 

 

7. Cairns Taipans (-2)

Record: 4-6

Next Round: Illawarra (home)

ORtg: 108.5 (8); DRtg: 110.2 (3); Net: -1.7 (6)

 

Just when things were starting to look up for the Taipans, they had to lose their volcano.  After trying one of his now trademark energetic defensive plays, Michael Carrera landed horribly and was carried off the court with a suspected broken something.  It turns out the incident yielded a knee injury, but the extent of the seriousness hasn’t really been announced.

 

How good would this team be with a healthy Nathan Jawai and Carrera for the whole season?  Add in the potential of Torrey Craig and Cameron Bairstow that didn’t work out.  They would at least be better than last in Offensive Rating.

 

 

 

8. Sydney Kings (–)

Record: 2-7

Next Round: Illawarra (away), Adelaide (away)

ORtg: 110.8 (7); DRtg: 123.4 (7); Net: -12.6 (8)

 

Well, well, well, look what the Kings did.  Yes, they lost, but at least the team is learning.  Sydney signed Jerome Randle and Jeremy Tyler to fill their must publicised lack of point guard and big man during the week and against Melbourne, Tyler showed glimpses of potential in his jet-lagged state of mind.

 

Will it make much of a difference?  As an eternal optimist, I think it does.  Randle is an MVP winner for a good reason, and even though this Kings team isn’t as perfectly made for him like Adelaide last season, it’s still very talented.  And the coaching staff putting a centre in the centre position was inspired!  The two away games next round will test them.  It’s still early, but being 2-9 after eleven games is not an enviable position to fight back.

 

 

Author: Kyle Abbott (76 Posts)

Kyle has barracked for the North Melbourne Giants, Victoria Titans, Victoria Giants and the South Dragons. He's hoping the Melbourne United don't fold like the rest of them