This week, Brad Newley was announced as the Sydney Kings’ latest signing for season 2016/17.
The Boomers star has returned home to the NBL, where it all began for him many moons ago, in another sign of the league’s continued growth.
While it is happy days for the NBL and the Sydney Kings, the signing will be giving opposition teams nightmares about where the Kings could go this season.
Sydney has filled six roster spots and is already looking like a force in the upcoming season, with regulars Tom Garlepp, Jason Cadee joined by a returning and (hopefully for the Kings) injury-free Julian Khazzouh, reigning league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Lisch, and now Newley.
That is already a formidable starting five in the NBL, but with up to three import signings to come, should they elect to use all or any of them, it has the potential to get much worse for opposition clubs.
Sure, they won’t be the only side with a stacked roster next season after new salary cap rules were implemented by the league, but so far on paper the Kings are looking as strong as any team competing in 2016/17.
Newley’s signing is sure to make life easy on incoming coach and Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze, who was handed the arduous task of turning around the fortunes of one of the league’s most recognisable and successful franchises after a very tough 2015/16 campaign.
There were plenty of injuries, namely Khazzouh and former NBA star Josh Childress, but the makeshift side, which enlisted the help of two injury replacement imports along the way, fell way short of the mark at times during the season.
That could all be a distant memory should the new-look Kings gel from day one, with Newley looming as a perfect fit for the club so far.
With Khazzouh manning the centre position and Garlepp at the four, Newley will be able to slot into the small forward spot and play as a swingman, with Lisch and Cadee forming a very strong backcourt as well.
There are still signings to come that could change that balance significantly – signings that Sydney hopes will only bolster its roster rather than hinder it.
Of course, the Kings looked strong on paper last season too before injuries took their toll and it all fell apart so quickly for the Sydney-based franchise, and championships certainly aren’t won in the pre-season.
However, Newley, barring injury and if he is able to find his best form in Australia, has the potential to be one of the most damaging players in a league that is signing more and more damaging players each year.
He has two teammates who can also lay claim to that tag when fully fit and firing, with Khazzouh and Lisch proven superstars who can rip a game apart in a quarter.
What the Kings do with their remaining roster spots is yet to be seen, but adding a fourth or even fifth star-calibre player from overseas could see, on paper alone, one of the most dominant rosters assembled in NBL history.
Come this time next year, if all goes to plan for Gaze and his men, we could potentially be talking about the most dominant and talented team in league history.
A lot needs to go right between now and then for that to happen, of course, and it could all fall apart just as easily – only time will tell on that one.
Whichever way you look at it, however, Newley’s signing is a substantial boost for the Kings in their quest to return to the top, and for the league as a whole, which has been able to lure home one of the stars of Australian basketball.