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NBL Power Rankings: February 2

By Liam Santamaria

 

Every week this NBL season, I’m releasing my power rankings. 

They drop each Tuesday on NBL Overtime and then run here the following morning. 

Here’s my money-back guarantee: they won’t ever correlate with the ladder. They also don’t reflect where I think each team will finish. Instead, like most ‘power rankings’, they represent how each team is currently tracking when you consider form, injuries, illness, recent opponents, etc. In other words, the team on top is the one other teams do not want to be playing right now.

With that in mind, here are this week’s power rankings:

 

1. MELBOURNE UNITED

Previous rank: 1

The defending champs had their eight-game winning streak snapped over the weekend, but they don’t lose their spot as the number one seed.

I mean, this is a tough league, you’re not going to win every game, and despite an historically bad shooting performance from Chris Goulding it took an extra period for Adelaide to knock them off. Dean Vickerman will have them back on track this week. 

This week: vs Tasmania


2. PERTH WILDCATS

Previous rank: 2

The Wildcats weren’t great in Sydney as they let another sluggish start put them behind the eight-ball. This time, however, they were unable to storm over the top as the Kings held firm in the final term.

Perth’s two primary issues – defence and rebounding – are about to get tested in a major way with a couple of games against South East Melbourne up next on the slate.

This week: @ South East Melbourne

 

3. SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX

Previous rank: 4

These guys have re-built nicely since their heavy loss to Brisbane a few weeks ago. The Phoenix have won three in a row since that COVID-affected performance, including the retribution they served up to the Bullets on Saturday night.

Those wins are nice but it’s what they do over the next two weeks that will really tell the story, as SEM’s next four games are all against the Wildcats and the Hawks. 

This week: vs Perth, @ Illawarra

 

4. ILLAWARRA HAWKS

Previous rank: 3

Back-to-back home losses to Perth showed that they’re not quite at the level but the Hawks bounced back nicely with a good showing up north.

One of the big keys for Illawarra is the production of high-profile recruit Duop Reath. Over his last six games the Olympic Bronze Medallist is averaging just 8 points and 5 boards per night on 34 percent shooting from the field. That’s compared to the 20 and 9 he put up over his first four, at a very healthy 54 percent clip. Hopefully the big fella can build on that improved performance in Cairns.

This week: @New Zealand*, vs South East Melbourne

 

5. SYDNEY KINGS

Previous rank: 6

The Royal March has officially begun with the Kings finding form over their past couple of games. 

The catalyst for Sydney’s improved play has undoubtedly been Jaylen Adams. The star import has averaged 26, 5 and 7 over his past three games as he continues to grow comfortable on the NBL floor. 

 

 

The other guy worth mentioning is fellow import Jarell Martin. He’s in fantastic shape this year and that has resulted in a really high level of play. Martin’s moving waaaay better this season – he’s quicker and bouncier than he was last year – and the Kings are reaping the benefits with his scoring and, especially, his work on the glass.

This week: @ Tasmania, vs New Zealand

 

6. BRISBANE BULLETS

Previous rank: 5

The Bullets are on a three-game losing skid after getting whacked by the Kings, going down to Melbourne and then losing to the Phoenix. Of course, that likely would’ve been four in a row had Xavier Cooks not been controversially ejected in the previous game.

One guy who really needs to bounce back is import forward Robert Franks. The versatile big man had a shocker last game and he’ll be looking to be aggressive on Saturday against the Snakes.

This week: vs Cairns

 

7. ADELAIDE 36ERS

Previous rank: 7

That was a super-impressive win over the top-ranked team but the 36ers let themselves down two nights prior with a sub-par performance in Tassie.

Unfortunately, the chance to build on that win over United has been taken away with a couple of players catching Covid and the rest of the squad ruled as close contacts by SA Health. The good news is that those who have recently recovered from the virus are exempt from isolation but that only leaves them with a handful of rostered guys. As a result, their Round 10 games have been taken off the table.

This week: None.

 

8. TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS

Previous rank: 10

The Ants jump up two spots thanks to their back-to-back wins over Adelaide and the Breakers. Will Magnay’s coming good, Josh Magette is playing well and the JJs even managed to get Jack McVeigh going against New Zealand which is a really positive sign. 

What makes Tassie a difficult opponent, however, is their ability to defend as a group. Perth got a hold of them back in Round 3 but they’re the only team to have scored over 83 against Tasmania so far this season. As a result, the JackJumpers rank second in the league for defensive efficiency – something that should be a real source of pride for Scott Roth and his crew.

This week: vs Sydney, @ Melbourne

 

9. CAIRNS TAIPANS

Previous rank: 8

You know what? This report from Dane Lillingstone of 7 News Cairns – which includes a bunch of really strong soundbites from head coach Adam Forde – pretty much sums it up…

 

 

This week: @ Brisbane

 

10. NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS

Previous rank: 9

The Breakers stunk it up on Sunday as they played their first game back from another COVID-enforced hiatus. They’ll be much better this week, especially if they get Peyton Siva back to run the show.

It’s worth noting, however, that it was great to see French prospect Ousmane Dieng get some things done over the weekend, at both ends of the floor. Hopefully he can keep improving from here.

 

 

This week: vs Illawarra

 

The views on this page are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBL, its Clubs or partners.

 

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