The 2018 SEABL finals tip off this weekend, and the men’s division is right up for grabs, with Nunawading stealing first place in the last round of the season from arguably the deepest roster in the league; Kilsyth.
We preview each one of the final eight teams in action to find out if anyone can tame the Kilsyth Cobras.
In short: Favourites for the title.
Form: 6W-3L record and +6.4 net rating vs. playoff teams
- Core group of players who all have dominant plus-minus numbers, including some production off the bench.
- Tremendous spread on offense with a group of different players who can score. Felix Von Hofe and Isaac Turner can bomb from three as prolifically as anyone, and they also have good options who can score at the rim and free throw line.
- Owen Odigie won Defensive Player of the Year. Teammate Dane Pineau was one of the guys who was unlucky not to take this one out considering Odigie was seventh on the team in total minutes.
- Defense as a whole forced tough shots and kept opponents off the free throw line. Their core guys are all in, or approaching, their prime athletically which helps.
- Pineau, Von Hofe, Sam Daly and Odigie all missed the last game of the season.
In short: Enough quality and experience to be in with a good title chance.
Form: 6W-3L record and +4.9 net rating vs playoff teams.
- Deep roster who have had a stack of positive contributors throughout the season.
- Experienced team who play with poise and know-how. Slowest pace and lowest turnover percentage on offense, they avoid fouling, they’re smart, and play tough to cover the gaps on defense.
- Rebound the ball well on both ends of the floor although Dain Swetalla has been absent in the back portion of the season.
- It’s a potent offense that has both top echelon guards and the scoring of Simon Conn inside the arc. Conn has actually made about one 3PM a game this season too though.
In short: The star power is going to give them a chance in every game.
Form: 6W-4L record and +7.4 net rating vs playoff teams
- Star reliant roster: Craig Moller, Tre Nichols and Mathiang Muo. Muo was absent for a stretch during the regular season.
- Starters play heavy minutes. Moller is the guy that they have struggled with off the floor the most.
- The star trio averaged 67 points a game with a barrage of threes and free throws between them. The offense was quick and was played with a near league low turnover percentage.
- Athleticism of the starters also shows out on defense. The team forces more turnovers than anyone else and avoids fouling shooters.
- Moller has had some huge rebounding games but overall the team’s rebounding is a legitimate weakness.
In short: Good enough at their best to make the championship game.
Form: 6W-4L record and +2.0 net rating vs playoff teams.
- Have a top six that they pour the bulk of the minutes into. Davon Usher is the one of that mix who has been absent lately.
- Led the league in pace, posted a strong free throw rate, and had their top six guys all average double-digit points.
- Mobile and athletic team who can switch and defend in different ways that allow them to not foul and hold up on defense well.
- Josh Fox was the player they struggled the most to cover when he went to the bench.
In short: Can win a round or two.
Form: 3W-6L record and -2.6 net rating vs playoff teams
- Starters have all got results when on the floor whilst the bench has some depth and contributors. Nick Owusu has even made a late season appearance.
- Downsized this season and have played with pace but have still crashed the offensive glass with John Davis up front. Davis is one of the guys who was unlucky to miss the All-SEABL spot that Dan Trist nabbed.
- Nathan Herbert is still a massive key to their offense with his shooting. Nobody else averaged over one 3PM per game. Herbert and Jamie Medved will retire at season’s end.
- The mobility of the front line as well as the presence of the athletic Gatlin and the experience throughout the roster culminate in some strong defensive units that force turnovers.
CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
In short: Unlikely to recapture their early season form.
Form: 5W-3L record and +4.1 net rating vs playoff teams (doesn’t include forfeit to NWT)
- 24 players have logged minutes for them.
- Key personnel such as Sam Froling and Alex Mudronja (US college) have not featured in the second half of the season which likely ends their ability to make a deep run.
- Daniel Grida and Kyle Bowen are the most consistent duo in the squad heading into the playoffs. They do have a lot of options that can score the ball though.
- Legitimate size and rebounding nous that can rival any squad inside.
In short: Maxing out on one playoff win has been their likely outcome all season.
Form: 2W-7L record and -10.7 net rating vs playoff teams
- Jeremy Kendle and Ray Turner have logged big minutes with not a lot of production outside of them. Indiana Faithful needs a good patch of form.
- Chris Hogan and Daniel Hansen have provided some shooting at stages in a slow paced and below average efficiency offense.
- The defense has been better forcing as many missed shots as almost any other team but the results have been poor against quality teams.
NORTH WEST TASMANIA TALL TIMBERS
In short: Limped into the playoffs
Form: 2W-6L record and -13.6 net rating vs playoff teams (doesn’t include forfeit from COE).
- Have a negative net rating as a team. Their main guys also are all in the negative plus-minus when on the floor which is not typical of a playoff team.
- They lack some true star power but the depth in general on the roster is adequate for them to have a shot at winning an elimination final.
- Offensively they have two quality shooters in Tre Armstrong and Lachlan Barker. Mason Bragg is wildly inconsistent on this end at times and Jeremiah Ingram hasn’t been as efficient as you would like.
- There’s some size at center, Bragg harasses at point guard, the options elsewhere on defense are OK, and they force steals, but when it’s all cobbled together they are just an average defense as well.