NBL SEASON 2017/18 PREVIEW
The NBL returns to action on Thursday the 5th of October and with the plethora of roster changes, pre-season tournaments and other international games taking place, it makes for an interesting first couple of weeks. There has been a significant amount of changes in the offseason with all the teams after the 16/17 season, some changes that were necessary and some that were a huge shock.
With the addition of new TV deals as well as entering the USA for some friendly matches against some NBA squads, it only adds to the thought that this will be another progressive and exciting season for basketball in Australia.
The early and expected favourites for the year are no doubt Melbourne United ($4 with 365). The sacking of former coach Dean Demopoulos was needed and replacing him with former Sydney Kings’ assistant Dean Vickerman seems to be a step in the right direction. The coaching position was something that needed to be addressed immediately and credit to the staff in Melbourne for making the decision without haste.
Moving onto the playing roster and you can see why they are deemed favourites. Not only have they managed to keep Chris Goulding, Casper Ware, Josh Boone and Dave Andersen; but they’ve managed to secure the services of Perth Wildcats fan favourite Casey Prather. That not only adds immense quality to Melbourne but to the league itself and after the departures of Akil Mitchell (Brooklyn Nets) and Torrey Craig (Denver Nuggets) to the NBA as well as reigning MVP Jerome Randle(Bahcesehir) to Turkey, it was pleasing to see that NBL still has the pull to persuade these big-name players to stay. If this starting 5 of Melbourne can put individual greatness together and become a fully gelled team, then I can’t see any of the other squads coming close to fielding the quality that United can.
Moving onto some of the other squads and although we can see many changes in the different squads, a lot of the core and veteran players are returning.
Kevin Lisch will continue to be the driving force for the Kings, defensive standout Damian Martin once again will have to be Perth’s heart, big man and personal favourite of mine AJ Ogilvy has the job of getting the Hawks into the finals again, Nathan Sobey needs to stop flopping and start carrying Adelaide as Jerome Randle’s departure has left a gaping hole, Cam Gliddon has the task of trying to get something out of the season for Cairns, Kirk Penney will be the man to lead the NZ Breakers from across the Tasman and finally Daniel Kickert will hopefully form a partnership with the newly signed Travis Trice and give the Brisbane fans something to cheer
The season no doubt looks to be one of the most entertaining and exciting seasons of NBL yet and finding a winner will be all that more sweeter. There are a couple of futures which I think are worth a shout.
NZ Breakers Most Losses1.5 at 4.00?