Head Coach: Conner Henry Assistant Coach: Jamie Pearlman Returning: Daniel Johnson, Jack McVeigh, Brendan Teys, Daniel Dillon, Alex Mudronja New: Donald Sloan*, Tony Crocker*, Isaac Humphries, Josh Giddey (NS), Sunday Dech, Keanu Pinder Need: A DP or two.
The Latest Word: The 36ers will soon have their entire squad together as Donald Sloan gets out of quarantine today and Tony Crocker will follow suit later this week. In terms of their depth chart, I’ve listed Giddey at the three as he’ll spend a lot of time guarding small forwards while Sloan and Dech will primarily defend ones and twos. That being said, Giddey and Sloan will operate as the team’s primary play-makers and watching the Next Star create out of on-balls should be super fun all year. Further up the roster, I’m expecting both Crocker and McVeigh to play minutes at the three and also as small-ball fours at various times. Lastly, a number of talented youngsters – particularly Nick Marshall, Michael Harris and Owen Hulland – are all still in the mix as possible DPs. Hulland, a 7-footer out of the University of Hawaii, impressed last month when he put 15 points on the Bullets.
Head Coach: Andrej Lemanis Assistant Coaches: CJ Bruton, Greg Vanderjagt Returning: Nathan Sobey, Jason Cadee, Matt Hodgson, Tyrell Harrison, Callum Dalton (DP) New: Orlando Johnson*, Vic Law*, Anthony Drmic, Harry Froling, Tanner Krebs, Tamuri Wigness Need: Career-best seasons from Sobey, Drmic and Froling and big-time production from their imports.
The Latest Word: Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis is in ongoing talks to potentially become the new head coach of the Latvian National Team. Baltic news outlet Delfi Plus was the first to report the talks, which began earlier this year and were sparked by Latvia’s interest in developing their national development programs. The General Secretary of the Latvian Basketball Union, Kaspars Cyprus, confirmed the report last week, telling sportacentrs.com that he has indeed spoken with Lemanis, who is of Latvian descent, and that talks are set to continue early in the New Year. The Latvian team is currently led by Roberts Štelmahers, a home-grown coach who is locked in to steer the squad through next month’s FIBA window. At its strongest, the country boasts a number of high-level players including Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards forward D?vis Bert?ns and Brooklyn Nets wing Rodions Kurucs. The question is: if Lemanis steps into that job at some stage this year, what would that mean for his role with the Bullets? I’m told the former Boomers coach is fully committed to coaching Brisbane throughout the NBL21 season. What could potentially develop beyond that point? Well, that remains to be seen.
Head Coach: Mike Kelly Assistant Coaches: Jamie O’Loughlin, Brad Hill Returning: Scott Machado*, Cam Oliver*, Majok Deng, Kouat Noi, Mirko Djeric, Nathan Jawai, Jarrod Kenny, Fabijan Krslovic, George Blagojevic New: Mojave King (NS), Jordan Ngatai, Jordan Hunt (DP) Need: To make the ‘Snag Pit’ a fortress.
PG: Machado* | Kenny SG: Djeric | King (NS) SF: Noi | Ngatai | Blagojevic PF: Deng | Krslovic | Hunt (DP) C: Oliver* | Jawai
The Latest Word: The Taipans are tracking beautifully for the start of the season, with Scott Machado and Cam Oliver both spending the past month on the practice court. As part of their preparations, the Snakes will play their traditional New Year’s Eve game against championship favourites Melbourne United. This will be a cracking hit-out between two high-quality sides so, if you’re in town later this week, make sure you’re in the building.
Head Coach: Brian Goorjian Assistant Coach: Jacob Jackomas Returning: Sam Froling, Emmett Naar, Daniel Grida, AJ Ogilvy New: Deng Adel, Cam Bairstow, Tyler Harvey*, Deng Deng, Isaac White, Max Darling, Justinian Jessup (NS), Akoldah Gak (DP) Need: Cam Bairstow to get – and stay – healthy.
The Latest Word: The Hawks relocated to Albury on Boxing Day and, according to head coach Brian Goorjian, are already enjoying themselves in the town that LJ built. “For a lot of people this would be horrible and difficult but my team is young, new, hungry and excited,” Goorjian told The Age‘s Roy Ward. “We get to put everyone under the one roof, we can do film work at night, we can eat together and Albury has provided us with an excellent place to lift [weights] and the basketball courts are excellent.”
Head Coach: Dean Vickerman Assistant Coaches: Justin Schueller, Rhys Carter, Darryl McDonald Returning: Chris Goulding, Mitch McCarron, David Barlow, Shea Ili, Jo Lual-Acuil, Sam Short (DP) New: Jock Landale, Scotty Hopson*, Jack White, Yudai Baba, Mason Peatling (DP) Need: Nothing. They’re good to go.
PG: McCarron | Ili | Short (DP) SG: Goulding | Baba (SRP) SF: Hopson* | McDaniel PF: Barlow | White | Peatling (DP) C: Landale | Lual-Acuil
The Latest Word: Melbourne have added NBL legend Darryl McDonald to their coaching staff and had star import Scotty Hopson join their group at practice for the first time today. United also announced last week that they’ll play their first three home games in Bendigo as the Australian Open takes over John Cain Arena throughout next month. Tickets for The Throwdown on January 10 go on sale today.
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS
Head Coach: Dan Shamir Assistant Coaches: Mody Maor, Chanel Pompallier, Jacob Mooallem Returning: Corey Webster, Finn Delany, Tom Abercrombie, Rob Loe, Jarrad Weeks New: Tai Webster, Lamar Patterson*, Colton Iverson*, Dan Trist, Rasmus Bach, Kyrin Galloway (DP), Taine Murray (DP), Isaac Davidson (DP) Need: A trans-Tasman travel bubble.
The Latest Word: The Breakers, who are currently based in Melbourne, played United in a closed-door scrimmage just before Christmas and will soon have similar hit-outs with both the Phoenix and the Wildcats. In other news, I’m hearing that high-scoring guard Corey Webster is currently nursing a sore left hand. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and he’ll be right to go for the start of the season.
Head Coach: Trevor Gleeson Assistant Coaches: Scott Roth, Jacob Chance, Luke Brennan Returning: Bryce Cotton*, Mitch Norton, Clint Steindl, Jesse Wagstaff, Majok Majok, Wani Swaka Lo Buluk, Jarred Bairstow, Luke Travers (DP), Taylor Britt (DP) New: John Mooney*, Todd Blanchfield, Kevin White, Andrew Ferguson (DP), Corey Shervill (DP) Need: A local centre.
The Latest Word: Cotton’s citizenship papers haven’t come through yet so the champs have been scrambling to find a local big to fill out their roster. In the meantime, I’m listing Mooney at the five and am also including exciting youngster Luke Travers in the starting line-up. Travers started both of Perth’s recent hit-outs against the Hawks and his versatility allows Gleeson to keep both Steindl and Wagstaff as impact veterans off the bench. If it happens it’ll be a pretty great story. I mean, when was the last time a DP started for an NBL team in their season-opener? As for their final roster spot… don’t be shocked if three-time champ Tom Jervis comes out of retirement to fill that void. The big fella is heading back to WA with his family and recently signed with Rockingham for the upcoming NBL1 season.
SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX
Head Coach: Simon Mitchell Assistant Coaches: Judd Flavell, Luke Kendall Returning: Mitch Creek, Dane Pineau, Kyle Adnam, Adam Gibson, Kendall Stephens New: Keifer Sykes*, Ben Moore*, Cam Gliddon, Reuben Te Rangi, Yanni Wetzall, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (DP), Tristan Forsyth (DP) Need: The Great Dane’s sore back to come good.
PG: Sykes* | Adnam | Le'afa (DP) SG: Gliddon | Gibson SF: Te Rangi | Stephens PF: Creek | Weztell C: Moore* | Pineau | Forsyth (DP)
The Latest Word: Both Keifer Sykes and Ben Moore came out of hotel quarantine recently and the pair joined SEM on the practice court last week. In less positive news, Dane Pineau continues to deal with a back issue that has kept him off the hardwood for a number of weeks. I’m now hearing he may be out for a while and that, as a result, the Phoenix are looking at adding a short-term injury replacement. Veteran free agent David Andersen is an obvious option, given he has recently trained with the team, while the Phoenix will also consider elevating 22-year-old DP Tristan Forsyth.
Head Coach: Adam Forde Assistant Coaches: James Duncan, Sam Gruggan, Kevin Lisch Returning: Casper Ware*, Xavier Cooks, Didi Louzada (NS), Brad Newley, Daniel Kickert, Craig Moller, Shaun Bruce, Jordan Hunter New: Jarell Martin*, Dejan Vasiljevic, Angus Glover Need: A local power forward and a couple of DPs.
The Latest Word: The Kings drove down to Albury on Boxing Day as they try to work around Sydney’s COVID outbreak. Meanwhile, they’re also trying to deal with the impact of Xavier Cooks going down. Cooks (foot) is expected to miss three-four months and while Craig Moller will move into the starting line-up, the Kings are looking at a number of injury-replacement options to serve as his back-up. Former Adelaide forward Obi Kyei has been considered, as has Venky Jois, but I suspect they’ll eventually land on former Breakers big man Tom Vodanovich. The 26-year-old was MVP of the NZNBL earlier this year but was not re-signed by the Breakers after his debut season as a fully-contracted player. Finally, I suspect we’ll see more of last year’s super-sub, Shaun Bruce, in the starting line-up for the Kings this season. Bruce started alongside Casper Ware in Sydney’s recent pre-season action and the pairing looked quite effective. Both those guys are good defenders and playing them together brings some real pace and play-making to the Kings’ starting unit.
Worth posting the scoring for those who are playing and don't know it.
The starters score points towards your total team score, with the bench players contributing 50% of their score towards your team’s total. You also need to select a Captain and Vice Captain each week. Your Captain scores double points, and your Vice Captain’s score will be doubled if your Captain does not play. The scoring format is as follows:
Points: 1 Fantasy Point per point scored
Offensive Rebounds: 3 Fantasy Points per offensive rebound
Defensive Rebounds: 2 Fantasy Points per defensive rebound
Assists: 3 Fantasy Points per assist
Steals: 4 Fantasy Points per steal
Blocks: 4 Fantasy Points per block
3 Point Shots Made: 1 Fantasy Point per 3pt shot made
2 Field Goals Missed: -1 Fantasy Point per every 2 FG misses
Free Throw Missed: -1 Fantasy Point per FT miss
Turnover: -2 Fantasy Points per turnover
Double Double: 10 Fantasy Points per double double
Triple Double: 20 Fantasy Points per triple double
You want to win your head-to-head matchup each round, but you also need to increase your team’s value throughout the season to upgrade as the season rolls on.
So who is under-priced or likely to increase in value?
Here are five Cash Cows to consider: Jack McVeigh, SF, Adelaide 36ers (Starting Price: $535,000)
Now entering his third NBL season, the energizer bunny for the 36ers seems poised for a larger role. With Anthony Drmic heading north to Brisbane, McVeigh may be the best wing shooter on the team (37% 3FG last season) and new Head Coach Conner Henry will need him to be aggressive on both ends. McVeigh showed us that aggression in the Sixers’ two preseason games last month when he went for 14 points, 3 rebounds and a block in the first game (22 fantasy points), and then backed that up with 15 points, 8 rebounds, a steal and a block in the second (47 fantasy points). If he can consistently average around 25-28 fantasy points, he’ll certainly make you some cash.
Tanner Krebs, SG, Brisbane Bullets (Starting Price: $250,000)
It’s always intriguing to see College returnees entering the league and Krebs will be no exception. The latest in the long line of talented Aussies to call the Saint Mary’s Gaels home, the Tasmanian joins a Brisbane roster that has lacked consistent shooting at times. Krebs hit 39% from deep over his four years with the Gaels and in three preseason games to date, he’s clearly been given the green light from Andrej Lemanis to let it fly. Krebs has made 6-19 3FGs to date, but clearly has the range to be a threat all season. He also has active hands and contributes on the boards. His minutes may fluctuate this season behind Nathan Sobey, Anthony Drmic and import Orlando Johnson, but he will have his moments, which should lead to some productive fantasy outputs.
Justinian Jessup, SG/SF, The Hawks (Starting Price: $850,000)
It’s tough to project how productive this year’s Next Stars crop will be and with a starting price of $850,000, it may seem optimistic to predict a big price rise for any of them. However, what we’ve seen already from recent Golden State Warriors draftee Justinian Jessup, is someone who can produce at an import level for the Hawks this season. Jessup came out aggressive in the two preseason games versus Perth last week, averaging 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 made triples (6-16 overall) and 1.5 steals. He then backed it up against Sydney on Sunday with 21 points (3-7 3FGs) and 2 steals. He’s looked perfectly comfortable in a pro setting and will play a huge role for Brian Goorjian this season.
Luke Travers, SG, Perth Wildcats (Starting Price: $250,000)
If you haven’t yet noticed Travers, you will. Forgetting his long blond mane, Travers’ game is what is starting to get attention and for good reason. The talented Australian junior will continue his development with the Wildcats and look to find a more consistent role this season. He started in both preseason games against the Hawks last week and is earning the trust of his coaches. While his role will be reduced during the regular season, he will play more this year. Travers is a big wing who can shoot, create off the dribble and get to the rim. He’s not afraid of contact and also contributes on the boards. Wildcats Assistant Scott Roth compared Travers’ game to that of Joe Ingles last year, and he’s only going to keep getting better.
Yannick Wetzell, PF/C, SE Melbourne Phoenix (Starting Price: $250,000)
He’s in, he’s out, he’s back in. No matter the course it took to get him here, the South East Melbourne Phoenix are the beneficiaries and he didn’t take long to confirm that. On debut on Friday night, ‘the Pretzel’ as he’s affectionately called, introduced himself to the league in electrifying fashion. Matched up against Brisbane’s frontline duo of Matt Hodgson and Harry Froling, Wetzell had 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists at the half, on his way to 20 points (9-13 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for the game. He struggled with foul trouble on Sunday in their second game but still contributed 6 boards in just 13 minutes. Wetzel will play a reserve role for Simon Mitchell, but the talented Kiwi will play consistently and could prove a difference maker this season.