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Analysis: Ins, Outs and Depth Charts (August 1)

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By Liam Santamaria

With the recent announcement of the NBL23 schedule, excitement is building about the upcoming season.

We’re now less than two months from opening night and teams across the league are looking to finalise their rosters as they begin pre-season.

With that in mind, let’s take a glance at where each roster currently sits and what each squad still needs to add.

NB – this article has been updated to reflect recent news and signings.

* Restricted player (import) | (NS) 'Next Stars’ player | (DP) Development player | (SRP) Special restricted player | (IP) Player signed under Indigenous Player Rule

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Head Coach: CJ Bruton

Returning:
Mitch McCarron, Daniel Johnson, Sunday Dech, Hyrum Harris, Kai Sotto (SRP), Nick Marshall (DP)
New: Robert Franks (Brisbane Bullets), Antonius Cleveland (Illawarra Hawks), Anthony Drmic (Brisbane Bullets), Kyrin Galloway (New Zealand Breakers)
Departing: Isaac Humphries (Melbourne United)
Free Agents: Dusty Hannahs*, Todd Withers*, Cam Bairstow, Tad Dufelmeier Jnr, Mojave King (NS), Emmanuel Malou, Zac Gattorna, Lachlan Olbrich

Depth Chart:
PG: McCarron |           
SG: Dech | Drmic
SF: Cleveland* | Marshall
PF: Franks* | Galloway | Harris
C: Johnson | Sotto

Need: An import guard and another local big.

Notes: The 36ers published a fascinating article on their website last week in which they highlighted a series of players whom they stated are “…in the mix to fill the Sixers’ last import and local spot.” Those players included local bigs Cam Bairstow, Duop Reath, Aron Baynes and Mangok Mathiang, as well as former NBL imports Travis Trice, Josh Adams and Scotty Hopson. I tell you what: if they can complete their roster with two guys from that list, they will have done very, very well.

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Head Coach: James Duncan

Returning:
Nathan Sobey, Jason Cadee, Tyrell Harrison, Tanner Krebs
New: Kody Stattmann (University of Virginia), Harry Froling (Illawarra Hawks), DJ Mitchell (Basketball Academie Limburg, Netherlands), Gorjak Gak (CEZ Nymburk, Czech Republic), Lual Diing (DP), Aron Baynes (Toronto Raptors), Tyler Johnson (San Antonio Spurs) 
Departing: Robert Franks* (Adelaide 36ers), Anthony Drmic (Adelaide 36ers), Deng Deng (Illawarra Hawks), Chuanxing Liu (Bay Area Dragons, Hong Kong), Tom Digbeu (NS)
Free Agents: Lamar Patterson*, Isaiah Moss*, Jack Salt, Tamuri Wigness, Taane Samuel, Max Mackinnon, Harry Rouhliadeff

Depth Chart:
PG: Johnson* | Cadee
SG: Sobey | Krebs | Stattmann
SF: Mitchell | Diing
PF:             | Froling
C: Baynes | Harrison | Gak

Need: An import forward.

Notes: The Bullets have had a massive week as they secured the signatures of star centre Aron Baynes and import guard Tyler Johnson. The 'Big Banger' will be a force in the middle while he continues to ramp up his recovery, while Johnson and Sobey - both guys who can handle and score - should form a dynamic backcourt duo. 

As for Tom Digbeu, the Bullets have been awfully quiet about last season’s Next Star. That said, considering they haven’t listed him as part of their 2022-23 roster in any of their recent releases, it appears he’s moving on.

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Head Coach: Adam Forde

Returning:
Tahjere McCall*, Majok Deng, Mirko Djeric, Bul Kuol, Keanu Pinder, Ben Ayre
New: DJ Hogg* (Cholet Basket, France), Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami), Lay Mayen (University of Nebraska), Jonah Antonio (BK NH Ostrava, Czech Republic)
Departing: Scott Machado* (Hapoel Eilat, Israel), Kouat Noi (Sydney Kings), Stephen Zimmerman*, Nate Jawai, Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Ngatai, Marshall Nelson, Robbie Heath
Free Agents: Brayden Inger (DP)

Depth Chart:
PG:
McCall* | Ayre
SG: Kuol | Djeric | Antonio
SF: Hogg* | Mayen
PF: Waardenburg | Deng
C: Pinder |

Need: An import guard.

Notes: Emiliano Carchia from Sportando reported two weeks ago that import point guard Shannon Scott was “nearing a deal” with the Taipans but, at this stage, there’s been no official confirmation from the club.

As for their depth chart, I’m listing Tahjere McCall as the starting point guard here but if/when Scott arrives, that will likely change. There’s also every chance Forde mixes up his lineup to have DJ Hogg, Sam Waardenburg and Keanu Pinder all out there to begin games. It’s tricky, though, because Forde will also want to reward Bul Kuol after his outstanding rookie campaign. Either way, while this squad definitely lacks experience, it’s loaded with shooting and positional versatility.

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Head Coach: Jacob Jackomas

Returning:
Tyler Harvey*, Sam Froling, Akoldah Gak, Alex Mudronja, Dan Grida, Lachlan Dent (DP)
New: Mangok Mathiang (Olimpija, Slovenia), Wani Swaka Lo Buluk (Sydney Kings), Deng Deng (Brisbane Bullets)
Departing: Brian Goorjian (Bay Area Dragons, Hong Kong), Harry Froling (Brisbane Bullets), Antonius Cleveland* (Adelaide 36ers), Justinian Jessup (Zaragoza, Spain)
Free Agents: Duop Reath, Xavier Rathan-Mayes*, Tim Coenraad, Emmet Naar, AJ Ogilvy, Isaac White

Depth Chart:
PG:             | Mudronja | Dent 
SG: Harvey* |
SF: Swaka Lo Buluk | Grida
PF: Mathiang | Deng
C: Froling | Gak

Need: An import guard.

Notes: With both Duop Reath and recent target Thon Maker heading to China, the Hawks quickly pivoted towards former NBA big man Mangok Mathiang to help bolster their frontline. Mathiang made his return to competitive basketball this off-season with Casey in the NBL1 South, after suffering a serious leg injury two years ago.

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Head Coach: Dean Vickerman

Returning:
Chris Goulding, Shea Ili, Mason Peatling, Ariel Hukporti (NS), Brad Newley, David Okwera, Zac Triplett (DP)
New: Isaac Humphries (Adelaide 36ers), Makuach Maluach (Kouvot, Finland/Darwin Salties, NBL1), Joshua Duach (DP) (University of Iona)
Departing: Matthew Dellavedova (Sacramento Kings, NBA), Jack White (Denver Nuggets, NBA), Jo Lual Acuil, Caleb Agada* (Prometey, Ukraine)
Free agents: Yudai Baba (SRP), David Barlow, Dion Prewster, Callum Dalton, Will Hickey

Depth Chart:
PG: Ili | Duach
SG: Goulding | Triplett
SF:          | Newley | Maluach
PF:          | Peatling | Okwera
C: Hukporti | Humphries

Need: An import wing and replacements for White and Delly. 

Notes: There have been plenty of moving pieces within Melbourne’s roster lately as last year’s semi-finalists deal with key players moving on. The departures of Jo Lual-Acuil, Matthew Dellavedova and Jack White have left huge holes in United’s lineup. Signing Isaac Humphries was certainly a savvy move but replacing White and Delly - two defensive cornerstones - won't be easily done. 

Speaking on his club’s website this week, head coach Dean Vickerman preached patience as the key to successfully finalising their roster.

“In the past we’ve found that some of the NBL’s most impactful imports are guys who have the ability to challenge for the final spot on an NBA roster,” Vickerman said.

“We’re just taking our time to make sure whoever we sign will bring that elite skill level to out group.”

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Head Coach: Mody Maor

Returning: Tom Abercrombie, Rob Loe, Sam Timmins, Will McDowell-White,
New: Jarell Brantley* (Leones de Ponce, France), Dererk Pardon* (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Rayan Rupert (NS) (CFBB, France), Izayah Le’afa (South East Melbourne Phoenix), Dan Fotu (Saint Mary’s College, USA), Tom Vodanovich (Sydney Kings), Cam Gliddon (South East Melbourne Phoenix)
Departing: Dan Shamir, Finn Delany (Baskets Bonn, Germany), Ousmane Dieng (Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA), Yanni Wetzell (Alba Berlin, Germany), Hugo Besson* (Milwaukee Bucks), Kyrin Galloway (Adelaide 36ers)
Free Agents: Peyton Siva*, Chasson Randle*, Rasmus Bach, Isaac Davidson, Geremy McKay, Sam Short

Depth Chart:
PG: McDowell-White | Le’Afa
SG:
                     | Gliddon
SF:
Abercrombie | Rupert
PF: Brantley* | Vodanovich | Fotu
C: Pardon* | Loe | Timmins

Need: An import wing.

Notes: The Breakers unveiled a quality import signing this week when they announced former Utah Jazz forward Jarell Brantley had put pen to paper. Brantley, who started for the LA Clippers at this month’s NBA Summer League, has the tools to be a highly productive NBL player, with his versatile offensive skillset and his ability to impact the game defensively.

The next step for the Breakers is to lock in their import wing, a signing that will finalise their full-contracted roster.

In terms of their depth chart, the reality is that McDowell-White will play heavy minutes at the one, while others, like Brantley and Rupert, can also slide up and down the lineup.

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Head Coach: John Rillie

Returning: Bryce Cotton*, Mitch Norton, Todd Blanchfield, Luke Travers, Jesse Wagstaff, Corey Shervill, Majok Majok, Kyle Zunic, Oliver Hayes-Brown (DP)
New: Brady Manek* (University of North Carolina), TaShawn Thomas* (Le Mans, France), Corey Webster (Al Ittihad, Egypt)
Departing: Vic Law* (Chiba Jets, Japan)
Free Agents: Michael Frazier*, Matt Hodgson, Kevin White, Jack Purchase

Depth Chart:
PG: Norton | Zunic
SG: Cotton* | Webster
SF: Blanchfield | Travers | Shervill  
PF: Manek* | Wagstaff
C: Thomas* | Majok | Hayes-Brown

Need: Perth’s fully-contracted roster is complete. 

At 6-foot-8, Thomas has the ball-handling and passing skills to play plenty of minutes at the four, but also the strength and defensive versatility to hold it down at the five. As a result, the ’Cats can go a couple of different directions with their final import signing.

The most recent reports swirling around the internet suggest that the ‘Cats have secured the services of former North Carolina Tar Heel Brady Manek to fill that spot. Speaking on SEN WA Breakfast on Friday morning, Perth’s GM of Basketball Danny Mills addressed those reports.

“We’re in discussions with a number of players,” Mills said.

“Brady’s a talented player and definitely someone we saw at Summer League and definitely have interest in, but as of right now there’s nothing done.”

Watch this space. 

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Head Coach: Simon Mitchell

Returning: Mitch Creek, Ryan Broekhoff, Kyle Adnam, Dane Pineau, Reuben Te Rangi, Owen Foxwell (DP)
New: Gary Browne* (Petkim Spor, Turkey), Trey Kell* (Olimpia Milano, Italy), Junior Madut (University of Hawaii)
Departing: Xavier Munford* (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Cam Gliddon (New Zealand Breakers), Izayah Le’Afa (New Zealand Breakers), Adam Gibson (retirement)
Free Agents: Zhou Qi (SRP), Brandon Ashley*, Tohi Smith-Milner, Koen Sapwell, Lachlan Barker, Tristan Forsyth

Depth Chart:
PG: Browne* | Adnam | Foxwell
SG: Kell* | Madut
SF: Broekhoff | Te Rangi
PF: Creek |
C:               | Pineau

Need: A starting centre and a backup four.

Notes: The Phoenix locked in a key piece recently with the signing of Trey Kell, who will pair with Gary Browne to form the club’s first ever import backcourt.

From there, CEO Tommy Greer and head coach Simon Mitchell started turning their attention to the five spot with Chinese superstar Zhou Qi not expected to return.

Speaking with ESPN earlier this week, Greer shared some insights into their efforts to fill that position.

“We’ve got both (locals and imports) on the list,” Greer said.

“We are going down that path and we hope to have something done in the not-too-distant future. But you can miss on a situation and be back to the drawing board, so we hope to have something done soon.”

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Head Coach: Chase Buford

Returning: Xavier Cooks, Dejan Vasiljevic, Shaun Bruce, Jordan Hunter, Jaylin Galloway, Angus Glover, Biwali Bayles (IP)
New: Tim Soares* (Ironi Ness Ziona, Israel), Derrick Walton Jr* (Motor City Cruise, NBA G League), Justin Simon* (Riesen Ludwigsburg, Germany), Kouat Noi (Cairns Taipans), Jackson Makoi (DP)
Departing: Jaylen Adams* (Crvena zvezda, Serbia), Jarell Martin* (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel), Ian Clark*, Wani Swaka Lo Buluk (Illawarra Hawks), Tom Vodanovich (New Zealand Breakers), Makur Maker (NS)
Free Agents: Matur Maker, Jayden Hodgson, Iggy Mitchell

Depth Chart:
PG: Walton Jr* | Bayles | Makoi
SG: Vasiljevic | Bruce
SF: Simon* | Glover | Galloway
PF: Cooks | Noi
C:  Soares* | Hunter

Need: Nothing really... besides maybe a Next Star and another DP

Notes: The Kings have reloaded nicely, since announcing that their championship-winning import trio of Jaylen Adams, Ian Clark and Jarell Martin were not returning.

Derrick Walton Jr is a high-level PG who should have a major impact this season, while Justin Simon’s defensive abilities are well and truly proven in this league.

To close out their fully-contracted roster, the Kings announced the signing of American-Brazilian Tim Soares. The 6-foot-11 big man played in Israel last season and most recently suited up for the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA Summer League. Sydney were vocal about wanting to bring in a guy who could stretch the floor in that position and if there’s one thing Soares can do very well, it’s shoot the rock.

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Head Coach: Scott Roth

Returning: Josh Magette*, Will Magnay, Jack McVeigh, Clint Steindl, Fabijan Krslovic, Matt Kenyon, Sam McDaniel, Jarrad Weeks, Jarred Bairstow, Sean McDonald (DP)
New: Milton Doyle* (Gaziantep Basketbol, Turkey), Rashard Kelly* (JDA Dijon, France)
Departing: Sejr Deans (Jacksonville University, USA), Jock Perry, Josh Adams*, MiKyle McIntosh*
Free Agents: -

Depth Chart:
PG: Magette* | Weeks | McDonald
SG: Doyle* | McDaniel
SF: Kelly* | Steindl | Kenyon
PF: McVeigh | Krslovic
C: Magnay | Bairstow

Need: A short-term injury replacement for Steindl.

Notes: With the additions of Milton Doyle and Rashard Kelly, the JackJumpers have finalised their 11-man fully-contracted roster for NBL23.

There is still work to be done, however, with captain Clint Steindl set to miss the start of the season due to stress fractures in his shins. Speaking with The Mercury this week, head coach Scott Roth outlined their efforts to secure an injury-replacement.

“We are in the market of looking around and seeing what’s available in the NBL1 and wherever else we can find someone we think would be a quality guy to fit our culture that could come in and help,” he said.

“We have to find someone that’s in Clint’s realm. Shooting is always important, and experience, so we’ll be looking for someone in that realm and see what we can find.”

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