2014/15 NBL Season Preview: Sydney Kings
With the 2014/15 NBL season fast approaching, things are starting to heat up down under. With just under a week until season tip-off, we preview the Sydney Kings.
After a solid season last year, the Kings finished just outside the playoff picture with a 12-16 win-loss record.
The additions of Sam Young and Cody Ellis couldn’t quite get the squad over the hump, with the Shane Heal coached side missing out on fourth spot to the Wollongong Hawks.
This season should be a whole new ball game as management changed the direction of the team when they hired new coach Damian Cotter. The NSW state and now Australian women’s coach, along with Sydney fans, can expect plenty of excitement in the Kingdome this season with all their new additions.
Key additions: Josh Childress (New Orleans Pelicans, NBA), Kendrick Perry (Youngstown State, US College), Angus Brandt (Oregon State, US College) and Jason Cadee (Adelaide 36ers), Daniel Joyce (Canberra Gunners, SEABL)
Returning Players: Tom Garlepp, Ben Madgen, Cody Ellis, Kevin White
Key subtractions: AJ Ogilvy (Europe), Sam Young (Europe), Jesse Sanders (Europe), James Harvey (Retirement)
Sydney was active early on this off-season, signing a number of homegrown Aussie talents from NSW. Jason Cadee, Josh Duinker and Angus Brandt will look to lead the new wave of youngsters for the Kings in 2014/15.
Without a doubt though the team’s latest signing, Josh Childress, is sure to be enough to get fans heading into the city for a night out of quality basketball. Childress brings NBA and Euro-league level talent to the boys in purple and gold. The 6’8 small forward is coming back from a year off from basketball to cap off a strong off-season for the Sydney franchise.
The second import position will be filled by point guard Kendrick Perry out of Youngstown State. The 6’0 blur will look to push the tempo and bring some excitement with his elite level athleticism and creative play.
Kevin White will return alongside Madgen, Garlepp and Ellis to give the Kings an interesting mix of youth and experience. The loss of AJ Ogilvy hurts this team, particularly in the centre position, but the new pieces should be able to pick up the slack.
Childress will slide into the starting small forward position and should light it up right from the start of the campaign. With high-level NBA experience, Kings fans can expect the small forward to make an instant impact, with the American’s ability to run his side from the forward position as a ‘point forward’ sure to be a huge asset.
Look for Childress to facilitate from the wing and make plays that no one else on the court can make. He should contribute across the entire stat sheet and has triple-double potential if he finds his feet quickly, but more importantly for the Kings will be his ability to pull down rebounds and play interior defence to help combat the loss of Ogilvy.
Kendrick Perry should be given the keys to the team and will allow the likes of Ben Madgen to knock down wide-open looks from the outside with regularity.
The big boys down low, Angus Brandt and Tom Garlepp, are tipped to start. Garlepp should provide floor spacing at the four for the Kings while Brandt will bang down low as a post presence not seen since Nate Jawai rocked an NBL jersey.
Kevin White should continue to come off the bench and provide a spark at either guard position, while new coach Damian Cotter is sure to have plenty of options to work with from the bench with the likes of Jason Cadee, Cody Ellis, Josh Duinker and Daniel Joyce each filling a role.
With all the new additions and Childress’ veteran experience, the Kings should be able finish near the top of the table, providing fans with a few extra home games this season. However, with an even and wide-open competition, that hinges on their start and how Childress fits in to the NBL system.
NBL Championship Odds: $13
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR