Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Part 1: Season 2007/08

Over the next week or so I will begin to give my opinion on where I believe teams will finish this season. I will not throw the Crocs into the mix as I believe we will be right around the mark come playoff time.

The first group of teams that I'm putting the kiss of death on are Brisbane and Melbourne. Last year these two teams battled for the championship and they will be right around the mark again this year. Before any of the other teams begin to gain respect around the league, you will need to beat these teams. And not just on a one off occasion.

The defending champs come back to defend their title with a little tinkering been done in the off season. The losses of both Mark Bradtke and Stephen Black will be missed. Bradtke was huge against the Tigers, especially matching up against Chris Anstey. As for Black, statistically it was a average year for him personally, but teams would have still had one of their best defenders on him. Also remember, he made some big shots in the early games of the finals series. They will both be missed.

To fill these shoes look for rookie Criag Bradshaw to fill Bradtke's spot. The question I pose to the young man though, can he provide the presences in the paint that Bradtke made a living from doing? Bradshaw will have some big nights because he can step outside and knock down the three. He has to prove that he can pull down a key rebound when needed.

I think Black's departure will be filled by committee. Adam Gibson will be looking for more minutes as will Brad Williamson. Rumours had the "Jeweller", Mike Hill, giving up starting spots on other teams to remain with the Bullets. He will be looking to have an impact off the bench again.

There is no doubting the team from Bris Vegas will be in the hunt again, but their record win streak last year isn't in jeopardy of being beaten this year.

The Tigers are comfortable in their own skin, so you have to go out and beat them. This is why they also will win enough games to be around the mark come playoffs.

Losing Rashad Tucker and gaining Dave Barlow will not worry this outfit. He will fit in better to the Tigers than what Tucker did. (I will talk about Tucker more when I come to Cairns. He is a better fit for the Taipans.) Barlow provides many of the same qualities as Tucker, but is a better spot up shooter. His outside shooting will be key, especially in their half court offense where they run a lot of on ball screens and just need players to stretch the defense.

Their other lose is Axel Dench. Adding import Martin Muusepp I don't think Tiger fans will be disappointed with this exchange of personnel. M&M (not Matt McQuade) will impress and could remind people of the Scott Fisher/Tim Dillon days, provided both him and Anstey combine well.

I'm telling you, nothing will change with the Tigers. Dmac will run the show, Anstey will pick and pop, all while Dave Thomas hustles his ass off. The rest is just icing on the cake for coach Al Westover.

These are the two teams the rest of us are chasing. We all want to be them, but until you start beating them consistently they will be the benchmark.

***Basketball junkies, don't forget that the FIBA EUROPE qualifications are going on right now. The best website to find out everything, including boxscores, go to It is worth a look as most teams have their NBA players involved.

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