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How is your team looking for season 2016/17?

It’s less than 10 weeks until the 2016-17 NBL season tips off, and NBL clubs keep producing star signings to make sure this year will be one to remember. Here’s a quick look at who each team has signed, and what they still need to be in the hunt when the NBL title is decided next March.   Adelaide 36ers? New: Terrance Ferguson, Majok Deng, Anthony Drmic, Eric Jacobsen, Adam Doyle Returning: Jerome Randle, Brendan Teys, Daniel Johnson, Mitch Creek, Nathan Sobey, Matt Hodgson, Still to come: No one, roster is complete Expect the 36ers’ moto to be ‘we’re young and we’re going to run and gun and have some fun’. Between them, key recruits Ferguson, Deng, Drmic and Jacobsen have lived 30 less years than the four men they replace – Adam Gibson, Anthony Petrie, Lucas Walker and Ebi Ere. What that incoming quartet lack in experience they make up for in athletic ability, and with coach Joey Wright retaining Johnson, Creek, Sobey and Hodgson, he has a team well-suited to his fast-paced, high-pressure style. Whether Deng and Jacobsen can have an immediate impact at pro level will be important, as will the steady head and unselfishness of Teys, but this team is built around the incredible one-on-one skills of Randle, who must repeat last year’s form if Adelaide are to return to the playoffs.   Brisbane Bullets New: Adam Gibson, Anthony Petrie, Tom Jervis, Daniel Kickert, Mitch Young, Shaun Bruce, Torrey Craig, Reuben Te Rangi, Cam Bairstow, Matt Kenyon Returning: The Bullets! Still to come: An import shooting guard There is plenty to like about this Bullets roster and there needs to be. With a number of teams maintaining their core group it will be an enormous achievement for Brisbane to make the playoffs in their first season back. With Bairstow, Kickert, Jervis, Petrie and Young in the frontcourt there is almost every dimension covered – toughness, scoring, length, mobility and grunt – but they will need Petrie defying father time and producing his defensive best to be a strong team at that end of the floor. If Gibson returns to his best form after a down year in Adelaide, and Craig can produce the brilliance he showed in glimpses at the Taipans, coach Andrej Lemanis will have two solid perimeter pieces in place, supported by the inexperienced Bruce, Te Rangi and Kenyon. The final piece in the puzzle is an import guard, and he needs to be able to score in bunches and create for others to ensure the Bullets frontline get sufficient supply.   Cairns Taipans? New: Nate Jawai, Mitch McCarron, Jarrad Weeks Returning: Stephen Weigh, Alex Loughton, Cam Gliddon, Mark Worthington Still to come: Point guard, small forward and some bench support All the talk in Cairns is about the return of Jawai almost a decade after his stunning Rookie of the Year season, and rightly so, his status in the Far North basketball community is second-to-none. His ability to attract defence and find the open one is also unmatched in this part of the world, meaning Weigh and Gliddon should get some wide open looks. Power forwards Worthington and Loughton will too, but they must improve on last season’s 44-of-164 long-range connection. With energetic backcourt recruits McCarron and Weeks complementing a steady core of veterans and the giant presence of Jawai, this team is ready to make another playoff run if the last three key pieces fit the puzzle. That means a point guard who can defend and distribute, a small forward who can ignite a stagnated offence and a big man who can rebound and defend while big Nate takes a break.   Illawarra Hawks New: Rotnei Clarke, Nick Kay, Mitch Norton Returning: AJ Ogilvy, Rhys Martin, Tim Coenraad, Oscar Forman, Cody Ellis, Kevin White Still to come: A scoring swingman and frontcourt support The Hawks appeared to have their hearts ripped out when superstars Kevin Lisch and Kirk Penney walked out the door, followed by fan favourite Jarrad Weeks, forcing coach Rob Beveridge to rebuild last year’s third-placed roster. But Bevo was up to the challenge, securing Ogilvy’s signature on a multi-year deal, snapping up former Crocs Norton and Kay and then placing the icing on the cake with the return of 2014 MVP Clarke. With Martin, Coenraad, Ellis, Forman and White also re-signed, Beveridge won’t have to teach his system all over again, and he now has the option to add some genuine athleticism with the final two spots. To be a genuine title threat the Hawks still need a genuine scoring threat who can play both wing spots, while an athletic forward who can rebound and defend wouldn’t hurt either.   Melbourne United? New: Cedric Jackson, David Andersen, Ramone Moore, Tai Wesley Returning: Chris Goulding, Todd Blanchfield, Majok Majok, David Barlow, Nate Tomlinson, Owen Odigie Still to come: An import power forward It’s pretty clear Melbourne didn’t take last season’s playoff sweep at the hands of the Breakers lightly. First they grabbed Jackson, one of the NBL’s greatest ever point guards who tormented them in the semi-finals, before luring home Andersen, Australia’s greatest ever European hoops export. Around those two cornerstones they locked in Goulding, the face of the franchise, welcomed back Barlow from injury, and picked up low-post specialist Wesley to complement a tough, defensive-minded bench unit. To support Goulding and Jackson they added Moore, a streaky but at-times deadly shooter with a nice all-court game. Last season he was the second-leading scorer for Lithuanian club Pieno Zvaidzges behind former NBL import Derrick Low. If the soon-to-be-announced import big can defend, rebound and run the floor, this line-up has the pieces to win any style of basketball game and challenge for the city’s first NBL title since 2009.   New Zealand Breakers? New: Kirk Penney, Rob Loe, Ben Woodside Returning: Corey Webster, Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona, Alex Pledger, Shea Ili, Finn Delany, Jordan Ngatai Still to come: An import power forward It doesn’t matter what the rest of the NBL does, the Breakers keep backing up with quality rosters who produce, and this year they may even feature an all-Kiwi starting five for the first time. After 2011, Penney departed and was replaced by Cedric Jackson. This year the tables have turned, and that will mean a different style of play, where ball and player movement creates shots rather than Jackson’s ability to create from the ball-screen. The challenge for coach Paul Henare is to get both Webster and Penney enough looks, making the signing of pass-first import point guard Woodside a wise one. His unselfishness will match that of Abercrombie and Vukona, who value championships much more than stats. Up front the recruitment of Loe gives the Breakers a stretch big to back-up the size of Pledger, meaning they need an import with interior grunt to compensate for Loe’s perimeter tendencies and pick up the slack when Vukona heads to the bench.   Perth Wildcats? New: Jaron Johnson, Jameel McKay, Angus Brandt, Dexter Kernich-Drew Returning: Damian Martin, Matt Knight, Casey Prather, Jesse Wagstaff, Jarrod Kenny, Greg Hire, Shawn Redhage Still to come: No one, the Wildcats’ championship defence is ready to roll Much like the Breakers, Perth’s class has continued to rise above an improving league. And like their New Zealand foes, the Wildcats will likely be playing a different brand of basketball this season. By teaming Johnson alongside Prather, Perth have one of the most athletic wing duos in NBL history. Mix that with the full-court defensive mastery of Martin and you can bet opposition sides are preparing for extended pressure and high-octane offence from the westerners. The departure of Nate Jawai gave the Wildcats the option of a more mobile centre, one they took in the form of 206cm Iowa State graduate McKay who can block shots, rebound and run, meaning this team is geared to pump up the volume at Perth Arena. The one question mark is broken-play scoring – a hole left by Jermaine Beal’s exit – but expect the half-court offence to again revolve around the interior, whether that be Knight in the low block or the two import wings trying to exploit less athletic opponents around the hoop.   Sydney Kings? New: Kevin Lisch, Brad Newley, Aleks Maric Returning: Julian Khazzouh, Jason Cadee, Tom Garlepp, Jeromie Hill Still to come: Plenty, with an import guard and athletic American at the top of the list Given Khazzouh missed most of last season, the coaching line-up has been rebooted and the club has new ownership, this is almost a brand new team – the Kings starting again after a number of failed seasons. What a new beginning it has been already, with MVP Lisch and long-time Boomer Newley giving coach Andrew Gaze two experienced veterans who defend like their lives depend on it and compete as if death awaits the loser. The signature of the brutish Maric is a smart complement to Khazzouh’s finesse game, Garlepp offers unorthodox scoring at the four-spot, and if the import forward can be a dominant force at the defensive end the interior looks sound. Newley, Lisch and Cadee is an excellent start on the perimeter, now they just need a fourth wheel who can both shoot and get to the rim and the Kings’ roster will look royal once again.    
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