Sunday, September 16, 2007

Part 3: Season 2007/08

Not counting the Crocs I still have to breakdown seven more teams. This addition I will look at three more teams.

First team to look at are the Adelaide 36ers. A team and town full of sporting pride they wasted no time in trying to assemble a team that could compete every night. One move backfired, that of Brad Newley going to Greece, so does "The General" Phil Smythe still have enough ammo to get them back in the playoff picture?

I believe this depends on how many games Brett Maher plays in. Over the pass few years Maher has missed a number of games due to injury. He is the conductor of the team, if not the town, so he needs to be on the court.

Sure they have added All-NBLer Adam Ballinger, former college teammate Mike Chappel, Brad Davidson and Neil Mottram. Ballinger and Davidson will help, but there is a question mark over Chappel's back. He has been in the country for about a month now and has not performed yet. My mailman says his back needs some serious oil to help it work.

They have some great complementry players in David Cooper, Mottram and Lanard Copeland will have nights where the Sixer fans will look twice to see if he is in a Tigers uniform.

The Sixers will be improved and they will remain tough at home. Brett Maher needs to play 25 plus games for this team to be a lock for the playoffs.

South Dragons are another team where we will have to wait and see. The first month is going to be a real feel out process for many teams. They picked up scoring machine Cortez Groves and his partnership in the backcourt with Shane Heal could be one Dragon fans fall in love with.

Points will not be a problem with this team. Add Joe Ingles and Nick Horvath to the already mentioned backcourt and those four alone are capable of 100 points a night. You may start to see Jacob Holmes develop into a Mr Everything type of player which will really aid this team. A Stephen Hoare type.

Just like Maher for the Sixers, Matt Burston is the Dragons question mark. Kind of forgotten in the NBL circles because he never plays a full season. If he does find a way to stay healthy (maybe just plays games) the Dragons will win more games with him in the lineup.

Heal has recruited his type of team to coach from scratch, so I'm sure they will get out of the blocks quicker than last year. Burston's health and how dynamic the backcourt is will determine how far this team goes.

Big things are expected of the New Zealand Breakers this year. Like Heal, coach Andre Lemanis has a team that he has solely recruited. He got the point guard he was looking for in Wayne Turner, a savvy vet in Tony Ronaldson and some local content, Phil Jones and Kirk Penney. Throw in their other new Seppo, Rick Richart and you can see why expectation has been thrust upon them.

Penney will miss the start of the season due to injury, but they still have enough firepower to get them started until his scoring returns. I want to see how Lemanis handles Jones, Penney and Oscar Forman together.

Ronaldson has never missed the playoffs in his 18 year career. He will be hoping they listen so this franchise can live what he has been doing his whole career. Playoff basketball.

The X factor in this equation is Wayne Turner. If he can produce like he did in Townsville, this will make life easier for all his teammates, especially those perimeter shooters.

I believe the Breakers will be tougher at home this season which will make this road trip hell. On the flip side, they need to find a way to travel a little better and win on the road if they want to be a lock for their first playoff appearance.

***Relevant NBL stories:,8659,22422764-23769,00.html

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