NBL Power Rankings: December 29

By Liam Santamaria


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

They (usually) drop each Tuesday on NBL Overtime and then run on 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:



Previous rank: 2

It’s not how they would’ve wanted to claim it, but the Phoenix rise to the number one spot due to Illawarra’s COVID crisis. 

Over the past week South East Melbourne travelled to Wollongong, chilled out, returned home, celebrated Christmas and Bob’s your uncle, they’re at the top of the power rankings. 

This week: None



Previous rank: 3

The Wildcats are in a similar boat as they also jump up a spot despite not stepping on the floor. 

Their schedule has changed a bit over the past few days, but one thing has stayed the same: the ‘Cats are going to be on the road for a very long time. It’s all good though, as they’re slowly getting healthy (Matt Hodgson’s due back this week) and they’ve set themselves up nicely by grabbing a bunch of early wins at home. 

This week: @ Cairns




Previous rank: 5

With Chris Goulding’s return balancing out their offence, Melbourne have found a groove defensively over the past couple of weeks that has been really impressive. Over their last three games, United have restricted opponents to an average of just 58 points per game on a combined 28 percent shooting from the field. They’re active, physical and downright tough to score on.

Add in the return of Jack White and the elite play of Caleb Agada and you’ve got a squad that’s absolutely rolling right now.

This week: @ Tasmania



Previous rank: 1

It’s been a rough week for the Hawks. 

With positive cases among the players, coaches and support staff, the entire Illawarra organisation has been thrown into something of a COVID crisis.

“I can’t go through numbers… but it’s decimated the whole team,” head coach Brian Goorjian told 1170 SEN Breakfast on Tuesday. “Not everybody but as close to everybody as possible (is COVID) positive.”

That’s resulted in numerous games being postponed while the club does everything it can to address the health and wellbeing of its people. From a basketball perspective, It’s an enormous setback. The Hawks had grabbed some early wins but spending all this time either recovering from COVID or stuck in isolation – or both! – is certainly going to make things difficult.

As the club’s captain, AJ Ogilvy, explained in the Illawarra Mercury, once they leave isolation the Hawks will undertake a gradual return to full training where “…it will take a little while to get our bodies going and ready for full matches.” 

This week: None



Previous rank: 4

Unfortunately, it’s a similar scenario for the Bullets. Positive cases, close contacts isolated, games postponed, etc, etc.

The good news for Brisbane is that some of their group – the coaches and a few of their players – step out of isolation tomorrow to re-start operations. That’s a start… as the process of re-building towards match fitness will slowly begin to occur.

This week: None




Previous rank: 6

The Kings hold steady at six this week after going down to Melbourne on their own home floor.

Chase Buford’s squad battled admirably on Boxing Day but, with Jaylen Adams and RJ Hunter still sitting on the sidelines, they just couldn’t create enough offence to hang with United.

Interestingly, after the first four rounds the Kings possess the least efficient offence in the NBL. They’re one of the league leaders in pace, as expected, but they’re just not generating enough high-quality looks, resulting in an effective field goal percentage that ranks last in the comp. That said, we’re working with a small sample size here and those numbers have been heavily impacted by a) the absence of Adams, their primary play-maker and b) a schedule that’s seen them play the defending champs in half of their games. 

With Adams back in the line-up things should start trending upwards for the Kings. 

This week: None



Previous rank: 8

The last time the Taipans played a game was eleven days ago. Remember that? Tahjere McCall was dropping dimes, Majok Deng was draining triples and Keanu Pinder was throwing down breakaway dunks as they whacked the 36ers. Unfortunately, the Snakes couldn’t carry that momentum into Round 4 as their Boxing Day clash with Brisbane was postponed.

They’ve also copped a schedule change for their game on New Year’s Eve. Instead of the winless Breakers coming into town, they’ll now host the top-of-the-table Wildcats.

This week: vs Perth



Previous rank: 9

Just when the Sixers were preparing to move on from the egg they laid in Cairns, a positive case within their group placed everyone in isolation.

The good news: they slide up the rankings anyway! Good looking out, Breakers.

This week: None



Previous rank: 10

Maybe I could’ve slid the JackJumpers up one more spot after their Boxing Day win but nah, this feels like the right slot for them at this point. After all, the 36ers did get the better of the Ants in Hobart a few weeks ago. 

That said, you’ve got to be impressed with the spirit Tassie have shown over their first month of games. Scott Roth’s squad has played with tremendous energy on D and, while their offence continues to develop, that level of effort has helped them grab a couple of wins.

This week: vs Melbourne




Previous rank: 7

Last week’s ranking was a sign of faith in the Breakers but a leaky first half in Tassie (up against an expansion team on a four-game losing streak!) cost the Kiwis yet another game. 

Don’t look at me… I was saying boo-urns. 

This week: None

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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