Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some New Top Dogs?

If you didn’t already know, the NBL is in the middle of its ‘off season’, but that is not to say that there is nothing going on. And it looks like if things continue to go the way they are right now, we may see a shift in power next season.

The Melbourne Tigers, Sydney Kings and Brisbane Bullets have controlled the landscape for the past five years. The financial turmoil of both the Bullets and Kings has been well documented over the past couple of months and will most certainly result in a collapse on the strong hold they have held over the league in recent times. I think we will be seeing a few new teams emerging as title contenders as a result.

The Tigers will still start next season as title favourites. From what I hear they continue to be stock their cupboard to the brim.

This week, they announced the signing of import Rod Grizzard, who will join them after playing for the Singapore Slingers last season, his first in the NBL.

Bullets captain and former league MVP Sam MacKinnon seems poised to join the Tigers for the next three years as the Brisbane franchise struggles to find a new owner.
And you can be sure he won’t be the only Bullet to jump ship as players begin to get itchy feet over an uncertain future.

CJ Bruton has come out in the media this week and made comment that he is ready to move on if some plans don’t begin to eventuate.

Without either Bruton or MacKinnon, it would be hard to put them into that top tier of teams once the season rolls around. If both go, forget it. You are just not going and replacing that type of talent.

The Sydney Kings seemed destined for destruction, even throughout their quest for this year’s NBL title. Somehow they have found a way to keep a healthy portion of their roster together.

Unlike the Bullets, the Kings were chocked full of quality Australian talent that they will be able to build around with the addition of a few imports.

The bad news is that they haven’t managed to keep coach Brian Goorjian, Olympian Jason Smith and NBL All Star Mark Worthington. This will leave way too many holes in the boat and we will see the mighty Kings sink back to the pack barring amazing recruiting.

Although it’s not a good sign that franchises are going through times, I think it may just make the NBL more interesting. It will be good to see new teams make their way into the upper echelon and I’m hoping the change in power will help reignite interest in the sport.

One of the teams that appears to be capitalizing the misfortunes of the aforementioned teams is the South Dragons. will give the sport a boost in Melbourne. The Tigers/Dragons rivalry will give the sport a jumpstart in Melbourne, especially now that Goorjian is at the helm for the Dragons.

The Perth Wildcats also look like they are aggressively pursuing the talent left floating out. If they scoop up a few stars, this will only intensify the “West vs the Rest” mentality to another level. You have to hand it to the Sandgropers, they love to support their team.

A greatly improved and competitive New Zealand Breakers side will do nothing but enhance the match ups against the Aussie franchises. There is arguably no greater rivalry in the country than Aussie v Kiwi.

In any sport there are teams we love to hate. Due to their success and grip on the top positions on the ladder year after year, the Kings and Bullets have been on the top of that list.

I sense that a change is coming. And with it I hope comes a breath of new life into our sport.

My article appears weekly in the Townsville Bulletin.


Anonymous said...

nice to see the crocs doin jack shit angin,how can melb be makin money???the crocs have more season tickets members then tigers fans at a game but we dont spend any money??we get played in townsville.

John Rillie said...


Lets just see how this all plays out.