Hungry Jack's NBL
NBL Dream Team Pre-Season Scouting Report
The NBL Blitz is our only real chance to do some scouting before we lock away our Round 1 team. It’s really important to not just watch games for the new imports – look for role changes in the rookies. Who is getting more court time than last year? These diamonds in the rough are the ones who will make you money and carry you to glory in your leagues.
The first thing that you need to do is get your head around the players who have switched teams.
Adelaide 36ers – Adelaide raided Melbourne United and gained the services of Lucas Walker ($54, 800 FWD) and Matt Hodgson ($40,900 CTR) to improve their frontcourt depth. They also picked up Nathan Sobey ($43,500 GRD) from the Taipans. The imports are both new signings - Ebi Ere ($116, 700 GRD/FWD) returns to the league after a six-year hiatus and Kenyon McNeail ($116,700 GRD) rounds out the 36ers' signings.
Cairns Taipans - Cairns have kept a relatively stable line up after winning last year’s minor premiership. Journeyman Mark Worthington ($169,400 FWD) has been added from Melbourne, while new import Markel Starks ($116,700 GRD) replaces Scottie Wilbekin.
Illawarra Hawks – There is no doubt they were the boom team of the off-season. The signing of Rob Beveridge as head coach was only beginning. AJ Ogilvy ($184,200 CTR), Kirk Penney ($116,700 GRD/FWD) and Kevin Lisch ($116,700) are all returning to the NBL with the Hawks. The very underrated Cody Ellis ($87,300 FWD) was signed as the final piece of the puzzle.
Melbourne United – Melbourne’s line up underwent a major restructure with Worthington and Walker leaving. United replaced them with ex-Croc Todd Blanchfield ($139,500 GRD FWD) and Australian Boomer Chris Goulding ($135,000 GRD). They’ve also added Boise State graduate Igor Hadziomerovic ($43,500 GRD) to provide some depth at the guard position. Stephen Holt ($116,700 GRD) has been brought in to run the point. Melbourne will be signing a second import in the coming days after Ekene Ibekwe was released.
New Zealand Breakers – A picture of stability at the Breakers with the champions only making two changes to the lineup that was so successful last year. Charles Jackson ($116,700 FWD/CEN) replaces Ekene Ibekwe as the import centre and mature recruit Shane McDonald ($43,500 GRD) steps in as the back up guard.
Perth Wildcats – Perth have brought in some great local talent with Boomer Nate Jawai ($124,200 FWD/CEN) and Tall Black Jarrod Kenny ($43,500 GRD). They’ve also replaced DeAndre Daniels with promising swingman Casey Prather ($116,700 GRD/FWD).
Sydney Kings – The Kings have had a very productive off-season. Julian Khazzouh ($142,100 CTR) was a huge (literally) signing for the Kings who struggled on the boards last season. Steve Markovic ($91,500 GRD) was brought in from the Crocs to run the point and rookies Jeromie Hill ($43,500 FWD) and Dion Prewster ($43,500 GRD/FWD) will add some much needed depth. Marcus Thornton ($116,700 GRD) looks to be an exciting addition – and Rhys Carter ($59,600) found his way onto another NBL team after being with the Wildcats and Breakers over the last two years.
Townsville Crocodiles – The Crocs have taken the youth approach to their recruiting this year. Aussie rookie Nick Kay ($43,500 FWD/CEN) was the first signing before they raided their North Queensland rivals to add Mitch Young ($49,100 FWD/CEN) and Corey Maynard ($43,500 GRD). Some much-needed experience was added with the signing of Luke Schenscher ($92,800 CEN). Jordair Jett ($116,700 GRD) rounded out the signings adding some flair to the backcourt.
Players to keep an eye on at the Blitz:
Nathan Sobey, Brendan Teys and Lucas Walker are ones to keep a close eye on for Adelaide. They are all priced less than $60,000 – monitor their court time over the tournament.
Markel Starks is the one to watch for Cairns. Will he take over from where Wilbekin left off?
For Illawarra its Cody Ellis’ ($87,300 FWD) game time – and how Penney and Lisch settle back into the NBL. Also is AJ Ogilvy’s price tag ($184,200) really worth forking out for?
For Melbourne – What impact will Majok Majok have off the bench? Stephen Holt – is he as good as the scouting reports suggest? Will Hadziomerovic get court time and how will Blanchfield and Goulding complement each other?
New Zealand will be without Webster, does that give Te Rangi ($49,100 GRD/FWD) the chance to step up? Also look for Tai Wesley ($98,600 FWD) to take the next step and become a break out candidate.
All eyes will be on Casey Prather in the Perth games – the knock on him is his perimeter shooting – will this let his Dream Team game down?
Sydney is the most exciting team in the league – you will need to check out Marcus Thornton, he’s raw but backs his ability. Hopefully Markovic ($91,500 GRD) will play; he looks underpriced for what he can offer. Josh Childress ($202,500 FWD) – will he live up to his lofty price tag?
For Townsville the big question is how will Nick Kay and Mitch Young fit in. Is Jordair Jett worth a starting selection in the guards?