Hungry Jack's NBL
NBL Power Rankings: February 9
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. PERTH WILDCATS
Previous rank: 2
The Wildcats bounced back beautifully this week with an impressive win over a fellow contender. The slow starts remain an issue but they’ll sort that out. In the meantime, the ‘Cats have gone 4-2 on the road over the past six weeks which, in this league, is very much getting the job done.
This week’s match-up with Melbourne will be fascinating, especially in terms of their ability to limit in-form big man, Jo Lual-Acuil.
This week: @ Melbourne
2. MELBOURNE UNITED
Previous rank: 1
Back-to-back losses drop United out of the number one spot, with their rivals from the west taking over up top.
Melbourne desperately need Caleb Agada to step up, as he’s been awfully quiet recently, while their defence has lacked its usual starch. That said, Dean Vickerman’s men banked some credits over the course of that eight-game winning streak so they only drop one rung… for now.
This week: vs Perth
3. SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX
Previous rank: 3
It was a topsy-turvy round for South East Melbourne as they battled the absence of their head coach as well as four key reserves.
The loss to Perth was pretty disappointing as they were seemingly in control and then were completely overrun. That said, the response against the Hawks was impressive as they found a way to get over the line in hostile territory.
That’s now four wins for the Phoenix from their past five games, with a couple of big home games on the schedule this week.
This week: vs Sydney, vs Tasmania
4. SYDNEY KINGS
Previous rank: 5
Sydney’s loss to Tassie was definitely a hiccup but the JackJumpers have frustrated numerous teams this season, especially down there in Hobart.
The positive for the Kings was the emphatic way they responded, thumping New Zealand back at Qudos Bank Arena. I still feel like this team is building nicely and, with three wins from their past four games, they’ve got a bit of momentum as they enter a really important road-home double.
This week: @ South East Melbourne, vs Brisbane
5. TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS
Previous rank: 8
After four straight wins, this feels like the sweet spot for the JackJumpers, who have stormed up the power rankings over the past couple of weeks.
I know, I know… they just beat Sydney – as well as Melbourne in Melbourne! – but I just can’t bring myself to slot them any higher than here for the time being.
What cannot be argued is that Scott Roth has this team playing excellent basketball right now and their hard-working, unselfish approach is paying dividends. Can they keep it rolling?
This week: @ South East Melbourne
6. ILLAWARRA HAWKS
Previous rank: 4
The Hawks lost in heartbreaking fashion on Monday night but the reality is they’ve won just twice across their past seven games.
These guys now have a losing record at home, which is never a good sign, and haven’t been able to make major advancements at the defensive end. If they drop this next one at home, I’m dropping them even lower.
This week: vs Cairns
7. CAIRNS TAIPANS
Previous rank: 9
The Snakes showed plenty of heart in Round 10 as they got a win on the road despite half their squad watching the game on TV.
This week the Snakes are hoping to welcome both Scott Machado and Mirko Djeric back into the line-up, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts their roles and rotations. Does Tahjere McCall maintain his aggressiveness with Machado handling the rock? Maybe he does and it just improves his efficiency. How will Djeric’s return effect Bul Kuol?
One thing we know for certain: Adam Forde will have this group playing hard.
This week: @ Illawarra, vs New Zealand
8. BRISBANE BULLETS
Previous rank: 6
The Bullets slip to eighth after registering their fourth straight loss and, to be honest, they’re lucky they didn’t fall even further.
I mean, even without Nathan Sobey that game against Cairns was one they really should’ve won. That said, the Bullets have been on the court over the past week – which is more than be said for Adelaide – which should hold them in good stead for Friday night’s clash.
With a trip to Sydney also on the slate, this is a massive weekend for James Duncan’s squad.
This week: vs Adelaide, @ Sydney
9. ADELAIDE 36ERS
Previous rank: 7
The 36ers snapped a three-game losing streak back in Round 9 but, unfortunately, COVID issues struck again, and a bunch of their guys were sent back into iso.
That was such an ill-timed disruption as their streak-snapping win was against the defending champs and served as a great platform from which to build some momentum. Who knows, maybe they can still get that done. In fact, here’s the deal: if Adelaide can beat the Bullets in BrisVegas I will have officially got this one wrong.
This week: @ Brisbane
10. NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS
Previous rank: 10
Here are the results from New Zealand’s past seven games: loss, win, loss, win, loss, win, loss.
They’re dangerous, there’s no doubt about that, but they also cannot be trusted.
This week: vs Cairns
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