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NBL22 Roster Watch

By Liam Santamaria

It’s been a big few days of moving and shaking among NBL rosters.

Over the past week half of the league’s teams have announced import signings while the Adelaide 36ers shocked the world by releasing their coach.

Meanwhile, exciting young Next Stars continue to flood into the league. There are now six Next Stars on NBL rosters with the potential of more to be added to the ranks.

All of this sets the scene for an enthralling season ahead, officially set to tip off on November 18.

As an update, let’s take a glance at how each squad is currently constructed.

* denotes restricted player (import)

(NS) denotes ‘Next Stars’ player    

(DP) denotes development player

(SRP) denotes special restricted player  

(NRP) denotes nominated replacement player           

 

ADELAIDE 36ERS

Head Coach: 

Returning: Isaac Humphries, Daniel Johnson, Sunday Dech

New: Mitch McCarron, Dusty Hannahs*, Todd Withers*, Mojave King (NS), Kai Sotto (SRP), Tad Dufelmeier Jr, Emmanuel Malou

Need: A new coach and some more depth in the front-court.

Depth Chart:

PG: McCarron | Dufelmeier Jr

SG: Hannahs* | King (NS)

SF: Withers* | Dech

PF: Johnson | Malou

C: Humphries | Sotto (SRP)

Notes:

  • Suddenly the 36ers need a new head coach.
  • Long-time NBL assistant Jamie Pearlman, who was on Conner Henry’s staff last season, has to be considered.
  • As does John Rillie. The former NBL star (and 36ers championship player) has spent ten years as an assistant in the States, recently worked with the Boomers and was one of the final candidates for the Perth job (along with American Will Voigt and Tassie AC Jacob Chance).
  • To be clear: it won’t be Brett Brown.
  • Sotto is an exciting prospect… but this squad needs another solid big. Maybe two.
  • That said, there’s nice versatility on the wings. Dech and King can both play the two and the three while Withers should be able to defend the two, three and maybe also the four.
  • Dufelmeier Jr was a savvy pick-up. He’s definitely ready to be a full-time back-up.
  • It’s go time for Mojave King.

 

BRISBANE BULLETS

Head Coach: James Duncan

Returning: Nathan Sobey, Lamar Patterson*, Anthony Drmic, Jason Cadee, Tyrell Harrison, Tanner Krebs, Tamuri Wigness

New: Robert Franks*, Isaiah Moss*, Jack Salt, Deng Deng, Taane Samuel (DP)

Need: The fully-contracted roster is full and there’s a DP in place. Maybe a Next Star?

Depth Chart:

PG: Sobey | Cadee | Wigness           

SG: Drmic | Moss*

SF: Patterson* | Krebs

PF: Franks* | Deng | Samuel (DP)

C: Harrison | Salt

Notes:

  • Losing Vic Law was a blow but signing Robert Franks is a nice response from the Bullets. He’s different – more of a 4/5 than a 4/3 – but fits the mould of what this squad needed.
  • Franks is a pick-and-pop big who is an NBA calibre shooter. He’s a really good screener and while he’s not super bouncy, he has good hands and good fit and can score inside and out. He reminds me a little of Ben Moore… but with range.
  • Can Tyrell Harrison make the leap?
  • The Bullets were keen on Corey Webster but it would’ve taken some creative roster reshuffling to make it work. Instead, he’s off to Egypt.

 

CAIRNS TAIPANS

Head Coach: Adam Forde

Returning: Scott Machado*, Cam Oliver*, Kouat Noi, Majok Deng, Nate Jawai, Jordan Ngatai, Mirko Djeric, Jarrod Kenny

New: Tahjere McCall*, Keanu Pinder, Bul Kuol

Need: A DP or two (and maybe a new import big).

Depth Chart:

PG: Machado* | Kenny

SG: McCall* | Djeric

SF: Noi | Ngatai | Kuol

PF: Deng | Pinder

C: Oliver* | Jawai

Notes:  

  • Oliver is still under contract but the Snakes need to be ready to replace him.
  • Taipans fans are going to love Tahjere McCall.
  • Kouat Noi looked set to make a leap last season but it didn’t happen and then he got hurt. Maybe this is his year.
  • I’m listing Pinder as a four here but I see him playing more as an undersized five under Adam Forde. With that in mind, their import big – whether that’s Oliver or someone else – will need to be able to play both the four and the five.

                                               

ILLAWARRA HAWKS

Head Coach: Brian Goorjian

Returning: Tyler Harvey*, Justinian Jessup (NS), Sam Froling, AJ Ogilvy, Emmett Naar, Dan Grida, Akoldah Gak, Isaac White, Lachlan Dent (DP)

New: Duop Reath, Travis Trice*, Antonius Cleveland*, Harry Froling

Need: Certainty around Justinian Jessup.

Depth Chart:

PG: Trice* | Naar | Dent (DP)

SG: Harvey* | White

SF: Jessup (NS) | Cleveland* | Grida

PF: S. Froling | H. Froling

C: Reath | Ogilvy | Gak

Notes:

  • The Hawks have smashed the off-season.
  • Like Justin Simon, Antonius Cleveland is a highly-regarded defender. Unlike Simon, Cleveland can also shoot the rock.
  • I’m listing Jessup as the starter at small forward because, for right now, he’s still a contracted Next Star. We’ll see if he returns.
  • Trice’s game is more suited to the NBL than it is to Europe. He and Harvey will form an explosive backcourt.
  • Duop Reath brings the frontcourt help Sam Froling desperately needed. His arrival also shifts Ogilvy to a reserve role which suits him perfectly at this stage of his career.
  • This team is coached by Brian Goorjian so yeah, they’re making the finals.

 

MELBOURNE UNITED

Head Coach: Dean Vickerman

Returning: Chris Goulding, Jack White, Mason Peatling, Shea Ili, Jo Lual-Acuil, David Barlow

New: Matthew Dellavedova, Caleb Agada*, Brad Newley, Dion Prewster, Ariel Hukporti (NS), Callum Dalton, Zac Triplett (DP), David Okwera (DP)

Need: With eleven fully-contracted players, a Next Star and a couple of DPs, this squad is now complete.

Depth Chart:

PG: Dellavedova | Ili

SG: Goulding | Prewster | Triplett (DP)

SF: Agada* | Newley

PF: Peatling | Barlow | Okwera (DP) | White (injured)

C: Lual-Acuil | Hukporti (NS) | Dalton

Notes:

  • Hopefully he gets back to the NBA soon but, in the meantime, it’s very, very cool to have Delly in the league.
  • Like many, I was expecting United’s last two signings to be Scotty Hopson and an import to replace Landale. Instead, they’ve gone with Agada and Dalton. Interesting.
  • You know what else is interesting? Rolling with only one import in a three-import league.
  • JLA was ready for a bigger role. It looks like he’s going to get it.
  • United could potentially bring someone else in as an NRP for Jack White but I’m expecting David Okwera to get that promotion.
  • ESPN currently have Hukporti at 47 for next year’s NBA Draft. He’s moving up from there.

 

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS

Head Coach: Dan Shamir

Returning: Finn Delany, Tom Abercombie, Tai Webster, William McDowell-White, Corey Webster, Rob Loe, Kyrin Galloway, Rasmus Bach, Isaac Davidson (DP)

New: Peyton Siva*, Yanni Wetzell, Ousmane Dieng (NS), Sam Timmins (DP)

Need: To brace themselves for another tough season on the road.

Depth Chart:

PG: Siva* | McDowell-White

SG: Webster |

SF: Abercrombie | Bach | Davidson (DP)

PF: Delany | Dieng (NS) | Galloway

C: Wetzell | Loe | Timmins (DP)

Notes:  

  • The Breakers have reportedly signed French teenager Hugo Besson as an import but, at this point, there’s been no announcement from the club. When his signing becomes official, the French Tyler Herro will slot right into that back-up shooting guard spot.
  • This week ESPN ranked Besson, who is already in Auckland, as the 35th top prospect for next year’s draft.
  • Ousmane Dieng was ranked 14th.
  • Just quietly… Dieng is still growing. A recent report from ESPN’s Mike Schmitz had the 18-year-old measuring 6-foot-10 in shoes!
  • Abercrombie, Delany and Dieng can all swing between the three and the four.
  • Siva is legit.
  • This squad is stacked.

 

PERTH WILDCATS

Head Coach: Scott Morrison

Returning: Bryce Cotton*, Todd Blanchfield, Mitch Norton, Luke Travers, Jesse Wagstaff, Majok Majok, Kevin White, Corey Shervill (DP)

New: Vic Law*

Need: An import centre, and another couple of pieces on the wings.

Depth Chart:

PG: Norton | White

SG: Cotton* |

SF: Blanchfield | Shervill (DP)

PF: Law* | Travers | Wagstaff

C:                    | Majok

Notes:  

  • It’s crazy that Law hasn’t secured another NBA deal… but it’s great to have him back in the league.
  • Channel 10’s Lachy Reid has linked the ‘Cats to 6-foot-5 sharp-shooter Jonah Antonio. The West Aussie product played his final year of college ball at Wake Forest and has the quickest release you’ve ever seen in your life.
  • Thon Maker would’ve been fun back in WA. There were talks but, in the end, he’s off to Israel.
  • Danny Mills, Perth’s new GM of Basketball, may not be the best signing by any team this off-season. But he’s close.

 

SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX

Head Coach: Simon Mitchell 

Returning: Mitch Creek, Ryan Broekhoff, Cam Gliddon, Kyle Adnam, Reuben Te Rangi, Dane Pineau, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa

New: Zach Hankins*, Tohi Smith-Milner

Need: An import point guard (and, possibly, another import big).

Depth Chart:

PG:              | Adnam

SG: Gliddon | Mauriohooho-Le’afa

SF: Broekhoff | Te Rangi

PF: Creek | Smith-Milner

C: Hankins* | Pineau

Notes:

  • Hankins has a sore knee. That is a problem.
  • This squad, which was one win away from a Grand Final last season, will definitely benefit from continuity of their roster.
  • I’m told Dane Pineau is back out on the floor and will be good to go on opening night.
  • The Phoenix have done well with import point guards in each of their first two seasons. Can they do it again?

 

SYDNEY KINGS

Head Coach: Chase Buford

Returning: Xavier Cooks, Jarell Martin*, Dejan Vasiljevic, Jordan Hunter, Shaun Bruce, Angus Glover, Tom Vodanovich, Jaylin Galloway (DP)

New: Jaylen Adams*, RJ Hunter*, Matur Maker, Makur Maker (NS), Biwali Bayles, Wani Swaka Lo Buluk (NRP)

Need: To stay healthy.

Depth Chart:

PG: Adams* | Bayles

SG: RJ Hunter* | Bruce | Swaka Lo Buluk (NRP) | Vasiljevic (injured)

SF: Cooks | Glover | Galloway (DP)

PF: Martin* | Maker | Vodanovich

C: Jordan Hunter | Maker (NS)

Notes:

  • The Kings front office, led by Chris Pongrass, has had a very impressive off-season.
  • Jaylen Adams is going to get a whole lot of buckets.
  • There’s a lot of size but also a lot of versatility on this roster.
  • In fact, this team is impossible to structure into an old-fashioned depth chart. Can’t do it. I tried. Look for Buford to run a bunch of five-out, ‘position-less’ basketball with this squad.
  • ESPN ranked Makur Maker at 91 this week on their top 100 prospects for the 2022 NBA Draft. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t wind up being higher. He’s really talented.

 

TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS     

Head Coach: Scott Roth

New: Will Magnay, Josh Adams*, Josh Maggette*, MiKyle McIntosh*, Nikita Mikhailovskii (NS), Jack McVeigh, Clint Steindl, Sam McDaniel, Jarrad Weeks, Fabijan Krslovic, Jarred Bairstow, Matt Kenyon, Sejr Deans (DP), Sean Macdonald (DP), Jock Perry (DP)

Need: Nada. Their inaugural roster is officially complete.

Depth Chart:

PG: Magette* | Weeks | Deans (DP) | Macdonald (DP)

SG: Adams* | Mikhailovskii (NS) | Kenyon

SF: McDaniel | Steindl

PF: McIntosh* | McVeigh | Krslovic

C: Magnay | Bairstow | Perry (DP)

Notes:

  • I’ve made some comments about the length of some of their playing contracts but well done to Scott Roth and Simon Brookhouse on constructing this roster. Putting a roster together for an expansion team ain’t an easy thing to do.
  • The Russian kid can really play. ESPN currently have him ranked 86th for next year’s draft and, while he may not start on opening night (McDaniel probably gets that nod to begin with) I think he’ll be there eventually.
  • I’m excited about a number of this squad’s pieces but worried about their collective ability to defend. We’ll see.
  • Which Magnay will show up this season? The bouncy one from Brisbane or the bulky one from Perth?
  • NBL hoops is officially back in Tassie. Bring on opening night!
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